By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — KENMORE — A classic Irish restaurant is celebrating its anniversary this weekend with a party Sunday after 25 years of dishing out some of the best fish fries and burgers in the village.
Malone’s on Delaware Avenue got its start as a sports bar, Plant 6, but owners Dave Niemann and Rich Anthony added the family dining area and changed the name in 1988 to what it is today.
“It’s still sport related,” Kristen Kimmerle, a waitress and manager who has worked at Malone’s for all 25 years, said. “But we grew the menu from a one page menu to a five page menu, and had a lot of other changes.”
Niemann and Anthony owned the restaurant until just last July, when a village resident, Jim Cottone, bought the place and fulfilled a lifelong goal of owning a restaurant.
“I came in here a few times, and I really liked the people,” he said. “I like the fact that it’s been around a long time. I always wanted to do this, and now I have the time.”
Cottone said he hopes to keep Malone’s as a laid back village institution, where regulars stop in to watch the game or have a bite to eat. Many compare the bar to “Cheers.”
“I just want to keep it the Kenmore place it has always been,” he said. “This is the place to go and relax, and have fun.”
Luckily for Cottone, he has a number of people who know the business from front to back, including Kimmerle and three other waitresses who have been there for over 20 years.
One of those waitresses met her husband in the bar, and another kissed her now-husband for the fist time at Malone’s.
“That’s the stuff that really excites me about the place,” Cottone said.
Kimmerle began working at Malone’s in her 20s, and over the years, worked up to be a manager, and also obtained a full-time job at an insurance company.
Kimmerle, along with the other veteran waitresses, are now pros at juggling two positions. She said her bosses and her coworkers have become like family.
“I’ve just loved it,” she said. “Everybody that walks in knows us, we know them.”
The bar is also very popular because of its own softball league, which began over 30 years ago, but Kimmerle said their fish fry dinners and burgers are what attract many to Malone’s.
They’ve also recently started a ladies’ night, trivia, and karaoke.
“We’ve seen so many businesses close on Delaware, and it’s nice that we are doing well and growing,” she said.
The party Sunday, at Malone’s, 3020 Delaware Ave., will begin at noon for the Sabres game.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150