BATAVIA — In case you were wondering, the favorite meal for Batavians is apparently found at TF Brown’s Restaurant, 314 East Main St.
Scroll through the menu, and you’ll find an entry titled “Batavia’s Favorite.” One might also call it a tour of Western New York, as it combines two iconic items that have placed the region on the culinary map: chicken wings and beef on weck.
Batavia’s favorite is an 8-ounce beef on weck sandwich with six jumbo wings and a side of either macaroni salad or french fries. It has been the signature dish of the sports-themed establishment since it switched from Mancuso’s Restaurant, an Italian eatery, in 1995.
“Batavia has always loved wings and beef on weck, so we combined the two together,” said owner Rick Mancuso. “They’re both classic.”
It sounds like a simple idea, taking two classic favorites and offering them together. It certainly works at Italian restaurants, so one might expect to see this pairing elsewhere. But that’s not the case. Wings are almost always paired with pizza.
“I don’t remember how it all came together; it just happened when we sat down and came up with the menu,” Mancuso explained. “I think, back then, pairing certain items was kind of new. You give people almost samples of what you want to do. I think that’s how we came up with it.”
In the 20 years since TF Brown’s began serving the “Batavia’s Favorite,” that pairing has become quite popular. It’s one of the best sellers at the eatery, and it’s all about the balance.
The sandwich is slow-roasted, thinly shaved, top round roast beef piled on a Costanzo’s roll that has been doctored by the TF Brown’s staff. The cooks will brush the roll with a butter and seasoning mixture then top it with salt and kimmelweck seeds. They then toast then bun for added texture.
“When you put the au jus on it, usually a roll gets soggy,” Mancuso said. “That’s why we toast ours. We try to get at little crisp on the outside, so it can hold up under the weight of the roast beef.”
The wings are fresh jumbo wings that come in 16 flavors. They’re offered in the typical mild, medium and hot, as well as revenge, Cattleman’s Gold, and garlic parmesan. And because they’re jumbo wings, there’s more meat on them.
While french fries are an option, the macaroni salad is really the way to go. It’s a very creamy salad that helps cut the spice of the wings and the salt from the beef on weck. It makes for a well-balanced trio. Just make sure you ask for extra napkins, because it can get messy.
In a given week, TF Brown’s will sell about 250 pounds of roast beef, 8,000 wings and 100 pounds of macaroni salad.
To top off the dish, “Batavia’s Favorite” comes with plate of blue cheese, horseradish, mayonnaise, and carrot and celery sticks.
Batavia’s Favorite sells for $10.95.
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