Festive buzz, Part V: Soho Burger Bar - PHOTOS
blog by Thea Tio • January 27, 2014 @ 10:51am
“We’re a party bar, but not in the sense that we used to be. I don’t ever want 1,000 people in here again, I don’t ever want 15 bouncers,” remarked Soho Burger Bar owner Jay Manno.
After 15 years of being Soho, Manno decided to alter his business to Soho Burger Bar in June 2011.
“It’s transitioning almost the exact way we hoped it would,” the owner explained. “During the day, we open at 11 for lunch, except for Sundays, when we do brunch from noon to 4, and we’re kind of a power lunch spot.
“Friday we get a nice happy hour crowd, [too,]” said Manno.
“With the direction the street is going with The Lodge opening, Papaya and Bacchus, definitely in the next year or two, Chippewa itself is going to have a much more grown-up feel,” Manno added confidently.
With three bars inside along with an upstairs and downstairs patio, Manno keeps up with the seasons to maintain an updated drink menu.
Some of Soho’s holiday specials have included Irish Coffee, a Spiked Eggnog Milkshake (see at the top) and a Spiked Gimme S’more Milkshake, with marshmallow and graham cracker.
The Cranberry Juniper Fusion ($10) has Bombay Sapphire, St. Germain and Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur all shaken and poured over ice with a splash of tonic on top.
The cocktail is garnished with frozen cranberries and a lime twist. You get a hint of gin, a pine-y flavor from the juniper and a sweet finish on the tip of your tongue.
Soho Burger Bar is known for the spiked milkshakes on its drink menu. The Kentucky Caramel ($10) is 22 ounces of pure deliciousness.
“I’m a caramel freak and I’m a bourbon guy,” Manno said proudly. “So this was my baby.”
Despite our recent single-digit temperatures, this drink still makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
The Kentucky Caramel is made with caramel ice cream produced locally by Country Peddlers in West Seneca, exclusively for Soho.
The ice cream is blended with 2.5 shots of Woodford Reserve and garnished with caramel swirl and whipped cream.
“You have to be able to taste the bourbon, you can’t pour just one shot into all that ice cream,” explained Manno.
“The blend of the Woodford itself has caramel and nutty notes, so that and the ice cream play well off of each other.”
Another drink on Manno’s winter menu is the Soho Manhattan ($10), which provides a kick of spiciness in this cold weather.
This cocktail has Gentleman Jack, bitters, sweet vermouth, cherry, a dash of cinnamon and burnt orange peel.
Right off the bat you can taste and smell the cinnamon, and the bitters merge well with the entire drink. The Soho Manhattan is one of the four staples always on the drink menu.
Other staples include the Bloody Mary and the Filthy Martini, where the olives used are frozen in olive juice.
“We make a different Manhattan in the summertime,” noted Manno. “The winter version has a warmer feel with ground cinnamon, and we burn an orange peel.”
Soho offers a variety of happy-hour specials that change every day of the week, such as Mojito Tuesdays or Wine & Dine Wednesdays, with half-price bottles and glasses of wine.
Manno is constantly keeping an eye on liquor trends.
(All photos are courtesy of Thea Tio).