Archie Moore's Restaurant and Bar in Derby offers a simple set up and caters to people who just got off work or families that want an effortless dinner outing. Obviously it's a restaurant not interested in gimmicks, since most of the walls hold few decorations. Its claim to fame is the "best buffalo wings in the state," and although I have no recollection taking part of that vote, the wings do deliver.
The vibe: Archie Moore's is perched close to the end Elizabeth Street with an entrance that you could quickly miss because of its plain setup. Inside on this Tuesday, the restaurant was bustling with a casual crowd during the dinner rush. Archie Moore's laid back atmosphere is a great post-workday hangout or a place to catch up with a few friends at the bar. Patrons were in no rush either to leave or get their food in a hurry. The wait staff was attentive yet casual in their demeanor with customers.
The food: Their menu offers a variety of appetizers, sandwiches, wraps and burgers, though the main event is the buffalo chicken wings. A seven-piece order is $6.95; 49 pieces are $44.95. The buffalo sauce can be purchased for $4.50 for 12 ounces to be used at home. All wings come with celery sticks and the choice of blue cheese or ranch dressing. The medium-hot buffalo wings lived up to their promise, but the downside is that buffalo, at various heat levels, is only flavor available, and there is no option of boneless wings. They are courteous enough to leave hand wipes.
Other popular appetizers are the golden potato skins covered in cheddar cheese and bacon ($9.95). Veggie loves can substitute broccoli for the bacon. On their arrival, the potato skins looked questionable because they appeared to be over-cooked, but one bite erased all suspicion.
Main entrées came stacked with fries, and I had to dig through them to find my crab cake sandwich ($10.95). Perhaps the fries were meant to hide that the crab cake was charred. But the fries were very good. The other dish ordered, a Paul's steak and cheese sandwich ($9.95), was lined with hot and sweet peppers. The hot peppers dominated the sandwich and gave it an overwhelming kick of spice.
The bill: Two appetizers, two entrées, and a soft drink and a beer totaled $48, which isn't bad considering the food was very filling. The appetizers alone were satisfying enough to be a meal.
The verdict: Archie Moore's offers an extremely casual dining experience with family or friends. The service was a bit slow but friendly and worth the wait, especially for the appetizers. It certainly would be the place for a group meet-up to share appetizers. The main entrées weren't the greatest. Beware of the dinner rush between 5 and 7 p.m., but after that the restaurant settles down to a minimal crowd.