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The Eagle Tavern flies at Bear & Buckley

— For many years, Arleen Hallock has fed and watered hungry fair goers at Hallock’s Hard Times, her stand just off the midway at the New York State Fair.

But Hard Times is only open for a fortnight every summer.

Now Arleen’s making customers happy all year ’round at the new Eagle Tavern in the Sugarwood Plaza, at the junction of Bear and Buckley roads; 451-4447.

Don’t bore Arleen with any blonde jokes. She’s a sharp cookie as well as a sweet dish. How sharp? Well, the golden-haired gal had the foresight to hire one of the area’s most creative chefs, Miercella Lunes, a native of Peru who previously cooked at Alabrassa in the village of Liverpool.

At the Eagle, Miercella reprises her signature hand-made chicken salad, grills magical flatbread pizzas and piles mounds of meats and cheeses onto sandwiches and paninis.

For instance, the cleverly named Philadelphia Eagle combines seasoned pulled pork, broccoli rabe and sharp provolone on a fresh ciabatta roll, complemented by chips and a pickle.

‘Stuffed sweeties’

At the Eagle’s grand opening last Friday, June 22, the special of the day was an open-face meatball hero for $6.99. Because the mercury topped 95 degrees that day, some diners ordered a chilled Italian pasta salad with grilled chicken and garlic bread.

Miercella makes mouth-watering appetizers and soups. Gooey quesadillas and spicy pulled pork nachos might well fill you up before your entrée appears. “Stuffed sweeties” are tangy Peppadews filled with provolone and prosciutto (Peppadews are sweet piquanté peppers grown in South Africa). Add a bowl of “ass-kickin’ sirloin chili” or three-cheese French onion and you’ll simply have to take that marghertita fresca pizza to go!

Open daily at 11:30 a.m., the Eagle boasts a full-service bar featuring a thirst-quenching array of brews from Shock Top Belgian to Middle Ages’ Wailing Wench. The tavern’s atmosphere is crisp, clean and comfortable, dominated by mirrors and accentuated with automobile artwork and several TV sets tuned into sports.

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