In order to better serve our readers, The Cavalier Daily has added a new element to Restaurant Reviews. It's called Meat and Potatoes and was created in an effort to do a more complete assessment of Charlottesville restaurants' food options. Restaurant Reviews therefore will have the meat-lover's perspective as well as the vegetarian. So enjoy, and bon appetit.
POTATOES: Going to a restaurant known for its buffalo wings was somewhat of an adventure for me, a vegetarian. I haven't made many forays into a dining world dominated by big screen TVs. I personally found the décor here a bit overwhelming, but it fit the restaurant.
MEAT: University meat-eaters are more likely to appreciate BW-3, which not only boasts tasty food but also a lively University sports atmosphere. Numerous University sports posters decorated the seating and bar areas, which were filled with students and locals.
POTATOES: We sat at a booth in front of pictures of buffalo and University sports memorabilia. The buffalo motif ran deep, and signature items on the menu were marked with a small buffalo silhouette next to the name. Two signature items -- the taco salad with buffalitos (very much like a soft taco) and the quesadillas -- could be made with veggies and cheese instead of meat. Along with the garden burger, they were the only vegetarian main dishes.
MEAT: According to Kevin Chambers, one of the managers of BW-3, the most popular items in the restaurant are "buffalo wings and beer." Since it was the restaurant's specialty, I felt obliged to order a basket of the Buffalo-style wings. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of the tender wings shaken in sweet BBQ sauce. In addition to the usual garnishes, options included new sauces like Southwestern Smoke and Thai. Tuesday is 25-cent wing day, an ideal time to purchase their baskets of up to 100 wings. The special only applies to orders of 10 wings per sauce or more.
POTATOES: As the buffalo wings were not exactly up my ally, I opted instead for the buffalitos. The waiter assured me I could handle two, but on top of my side of Buffalo chips with cheese, it was too much. The buffalo chips were actually just like French fries -- round potato wedges, fried but not too greasy, with a liberal amount of melted cheddar on top.
Between the buffalitos and the buffalo chips, I had about as "meaty" a meal as possible for a vegetarian.
MEAT: I ordered the turkey club, one of many "Founders' Favorites." The turkey club -- turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato on a Kaiser roll -- was decent although not as exciting as the buffalo wings. I also ordered a side of beer-battered onion rings, which were not greasy and squishy but crispy and slightly oily.
POTATOES: The buffalitos had cheese in place of chili or meat. They also had a thick layer of sour cream with lettuce, tomatoes and onions, all in a flour tortilla. The buffalitos were tasty and not overly cheesy, although there was too much sour cream for me. According to Chambers, the buffalitos are one of the most popular dishes, along with burgers, tenders and, of course, wings.
MEAT: After my "hearty" meal, I wanted to cleanse my pallet with a dessert. BW-3, however, currently does not offer any sweet items on its menu. Chambers assured me the restaurant is bringing back peanut butter chocolate-chip pie in early September, thanks to customer demand.
In fact, BW-3 is making several changes to its menu, adding new dishes, sauces and, of course, the peanut butter pie.
POTATOES: The Charlottesville BW-3 is a little over three years old, but the BW-3 chain spans from the East Coast to the Rockies. The founders -- Jim and Scott of "Founders' Favorites" fame -- started the chain in Kent, Ohio, "because they could not find buffalo wings" where they lived, Chambers said.
The name, BW-3, intrigued me. I could figure out one W and the B, for "buffalo wings," but I was short 2 Ws. Chambers informed me the name stands for Buffalo Wild Wings and Weck.
MEAT: BW-3 serves its tasty buffalo wings to a mix of locals and University students. Chambers said the restaurant's clientele consists of mostly underclassmen who enjoy the popular 25-cent wings on Tuesdays, the 50-cent legs on Wednesday and the beer.
POTATOES: BW-3 is easy to find at its location in the Barracks Rd. Shopping Center, near the University Florist and Old Navy. It is so near the blue line bus stop that even undergrads without cars can get there easily. The prices, too, make BW-3 good for students, since main dishes ran from $4-$6 and side dishes from $1.50-$2.
Vegetarians beware, however. The menu is heavily weighted toward meats and starches, with no actual vegetable dishes except for a salad and the veggie burger. All other vegetarian dishes used vegetables mainly as garnish or toppings.
The service was fine and the waiter especially helpful. The food came quickly, and the waiter came back often to ask if we needed anything more.
In the continuing search for good and inexpensive food, BW-3 is a valuable find, especially if you like wings, buffalo wild and weck.