When the opportunity arose in 2007 for Tucker and Erin Curtin to take over the existing space, then a cafeteria style restaurant called the Slip Away at the Small Boat Harbor, they jumped at the chance, excited to bring a fun, full service, casual American Seafood restaurant to the Outer Harbor. They named their new venture at 1111 Fuhrmann Boulevard Dug’s Dive after William Douglas, a legendary African American freed slave who was a 19th century ships cook, known as Uncle Dug. Uncle Dug was the proprietor of the original Dug’s Dive, located at the Commercial Slip of canal side- a bar, a brothel, and all around gritty establishment that one actually had to go down a series of steps below street level (or dive) to enter it.
Once they had the concept and name, the Curtin family rolled up their sleeves and got to work. They brightened up the wood interior with a fresh coat of light, bright paint. With the help of his staff, Tucker built a custom wood bar reminiscent of a ships hull to echo the look of the boats outside on the water. Some decorative touches were acquired locally, such as a commissioned rendering of the Uncle Dug at the original Dug’s Dive by local artist Peter Fowler. Patrons were even encouraged to add their own personal touch by decorating and signing dollar bills to hang on the ceiling beams. Other quirky seafaring décor details such as the ship's bow mermaid figurehead (Lizzie Lake for all who don’t know her name) or the old harpoon hanging on the wall, came from as far away as the North Fork of Long Island, NY.
Counter service was done away with and the menu got a major upgrade beyond hot dogs and hamburgers. Dishes such as Cioppino, Lobster Rolls (the Lobster Dawg), Mussels Marinara, The Crabby Patty Crab Cake, Stuffed Banana Peppers, Chilean Fried Calamari, and of course serving the local favorite Fresh Haddock Fish Fry- prepared in a variety of ways- were now on the much more extensive menu. There was also the addition of Dug’s Dairy Ice Cream Shack with a pedestrian walk up service window on the outside.
The Dive became known as a fun, laid back bar and restaurant. A favorite for a summertime lunch for people working in the surrounding area, a popular place for locals to come together for a drink and socialize at the bar, a fun place to stop along the Outer Harbor biking and walking paths and grab an ice cream cone, and a great place to enjoy the sunset and have dinner, all while taking in the fantastic view of Lake Erie and The Small Boat Harbor.
It’s been a great 9 years, we have made some wonderful friends and have loved every minute of trying to make our customers happy- whether it be by providing the best possible food we could, serving a cold drink on a hot summer’s day, or just getting to know the patrons and their families who walk our door- but now it is time to say goodbye to our home at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.
As we wind down during our last days- we hope everyone has a chance to come by and see us before we pack up that good ol’ pirate sign for a while. Our hours will be reduced after Labor Day: Monday-Thursday 4-9pm. Friday-Sunday Noon-10pm.
The Curtin Family hopes to find another jewel on Buffalo’s waterfront (or maybe even actually on the water…) that they can develop and polish into their own great vision of what is possible for our city’s shores. One that makes people happy they live in Buffalo and makes visitors want to come back again and again.
Thank you all for your patronage through the years. It has been our pleasure to serve you!