Buffalo's Elmwood Village is aptly named: it is a delightful combination of the best aspects of urban life — world-class cultural institutions, fine dining, vibrant yet laid-back nightlife, and crowds and bustle — with the friendliness and charm of a small village. The main drag of this enchanting neighborhood, Elmwood Avenue, boasts Buffalo's largest, most diverse, and most longstanding collection of funky boutiques, bars, and restaurants, anchored at its north end by Buffalo State College and the Museum District.
Buffalonians often mention the Elmwood Village and Allentown in the same breath, and while there are indeed a lot of similarities between the two, the astute visitor to Buffalo who experiences both neighborhoods will notice some differences. In the Elmwood Village, the ambience is decidedly upscale, with little of the gritty feel of Allentown; Elmwood Avenue's shops and restaurants cater not to artists and bohemians but to well-heeled yuppies — and, at the north end near Buffalo State College, to the college crowd. In short, while Allentown can seem like an area that is still on its way up, the vibe in the Elmwood Village is of a neighborhood already in full bloom.
Until 1868, Buffalo's northern boundary was located at North Street, and what is now the Elmwood Village was a rural area known as "Shingletown", traversed by a quiet country lane called Rogers Street. A tavern stood at the corner of Rogers and Utica Streets, serving as a way station for travelers between Buffalo and Black Rock; across the way stood a tiny chapel staffed by a preacher who traveled each Sunday from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Allentown. Other than that, however, Shingletown was little more than an expanse of apple orchards, pastureland, and forest. Elmwood Avenue itself existed only between Butler Street (now Lexington Avenue) and West Delavan Avenue.
Like the Delaware District immediately to its east, what is today the Elmwood Village sprang to life largely thanks to the extensive system of parks and parkways that Frederick Law Olmsted developed beginning in the 1870s in what was then the outskirts of Buffalo. The large Delaware Park, the centerpiece of that system, was placed there; to serve as grand entrances to the park, Olmsted designed a series of parkways: wide avenues that extended between the park and the city, lined on each side with great rows of shade trees to give visitors a prelude to the tranquil green oasis that awaited them (he also redesigned Rogers Street in the same manner, which would come to be renamed Richmond Avenue). Though these parkways ran through empty land at the time, Olmsted correctly assumed that as the city grew, they would attract the attention of the growing aristocratic class, who were already beginning to build ample estates on Delaware Avenue in order to escape the crowds and congestion of downtown. By 1890, Elmwood Avenue had been extended southward, a streetcar line had been established, side streets had been laid out with still more homes, and the neighborhood as it is today had begun to take shape.
Buffalo's shining hour came in 1901, when the Pan-American Exposition took place in and around Delaware Park. An estimated eight million people visited the Exposition between May and November of that year, in order to enjoy the pleasures of the midway, thrilling attractions such as "A Trip to the Moon", and the new phenomenon of electric light. The Exposition also served to attract development to the north end of the Elmwood Village, which was still somewhat isolated from the center of town. Immediately afterward, the Buffalo Historical Society set up its museum on the Exposition grounds, in the former New York State Building next to Hoyt Lake, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, which was intended to be open in time for the Exposition but was not completed until 1905, was nearby. For obvious reasons, this area is now known as the Museum District. Moreover, the more far-flung Olmsted parkways, such as Lincoln Parkway, began to see the same sort of ostentatious mansions as Delaware Avenue.
In 1931, the north end of the Elmwood Village became home to the new campus of the New York State Teachers' College, which moved from its cramped digs on the West Side to what was once the farm tended to by patients of the Buffalo State Hospital, a mental health facility that had been housed for years in a magnificent complex on Elmwood Avenue designed by H. H. Richardson and Frederick Law Olmsted. Together with the museums and the Olmsted parkways, the college was integral in the fact that the Elmwood Village not only held its own in the face of the decline of Buffalo after World War II, but actually thrived; as the school grew and expanded its scope, taking on the name Buffalo State College, Elmwood Avenue became a lively strip of bars, restaurants and shops serving the college students — and, more and more, the upwardly-mobile young adults that were attracted to the neighborhood by its liveliness and came to make their homes there.
Though both groups are still a ubiquitous presence in the area, today it's arguably the upscale urbanites, more than the college kids, who contribute the most to the neighborhood's identity. Recent years have seen an emphasis on the neighborhood as a multifaceted community rather than a collection of bars, shops and nightspots, down to a more-or-less official deprecation of the term "Elmwood strip" in favor of the "Elmwood Village". Front and center in this rebranding effort has been the Elmwood Village Association, which was founded in 1994 as a not-for-profit partnership of businesses and residents and which today has a hand in nearly every aspect of neighborhood life — from historic preservation, to promotion of local businesses, to political advocacy at City Hall, to operating the weekly Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers' Market in the warm months. The efforts of neighborhood boosters were rewarded in 2007, when the American Planning Association named the Elmwood Village one of "America's 10 Great Neighborhoods" for that year, and most recently in December 2012, with the inclusion of the Elmwood West Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places as a typical and relatively intact example of a late-19th Century streetcar suburb.
Get in and around
The Scajaquada Expressway (NY 198) is a short highway that parallels Scajaquada Creek at the northern border of the Elmwood Village, through Delaware Park and the Buffalo State College campus. The Scajaquada connects the Kensington Expressway on the East Side with Interstate 190 in Black Rock. Elmwood Avenue is the site of one of the Scajaquada's busiest interchanges; those headed for the Elmwood Village via the Scajaquada should exit via the southbound ramp (follow the signs for the Art Gallery and Buffalo State College). Also, there is an onramp to the eastbound lanes of the Scajaquada via Lincoln Parkway, just to the rear of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; however, the westbound lanes are not accessible in this way and there is no offramp from the expressway to Lincoln Parkway on either side.
The backbone of the Elmwood Village is Elmwood Avenue, which runs north-to-south through the entire length of the district. Understandably given its density of shops, bars and restaurants, traffic on Elmwood is often heavy. Those who want a quicker route will likely prefer Richmond Avenue, which runs west of and parallel to Elmwood Avenue from Forest Avenue southward. Though the two roads are of about equal width, Richmond runs through a comparatively quiet residential area and has only a few stop signs and lights, as opposed to Elmwood where the red lights are frequent and lengthy.
The parkways that make up such an integral part of Buffalo's Olmsted park system crisscross the Elmwood Village in the shape of an upside-down Y. Running south from Delaware Park is Lincoln Parkway; at its south end it splits into Bidwell Parkway and Chapin Parkway. Bidwell and Chapin Parkways end at, respectively, Colonial Circle and Gates Circle. In the center of the Y, where all three parkways and Bird Avenue converge, is Soldiers' Place, the largest of all the Olmsted circles in Buffalo.
Major east-west streets in the Elmwood Village include, from north to south: Forest Avenue, West Delavan Avenue, Lafayette Avenue, West Ferry Street, Lexington Avenue, West Utica Street, Bryant Street, Summer Street, and (at its southern edge, ironically) North Street.
It is perhaps harder to find parking in the Elmwood Village than any other neighborhood in Buffalo besides downtown. Visitors to the Elmwood Village should count on not being able to find an open parking spot anywhere within a block of Elmwood Avenue, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Parking meters line Elmwood Avenue, as well as many of the busier side streets. On the off chance that there are any open spaces, the rate is 50¢ per hour until 5PM, Monday through Saturday.
There are public parking lots on Forest Avenue, West Utica Street, and Bryant Street, each a short distance west of Elmwood; they charge the same rate as the parking metersr; parking is somewhat (but not much) easier to come by in these lots than on-street. The parking ramp of the former Women & Children's Hospital can be accessed from Elmwood Avenue as well as Hodge Avenue; the rate is $1.75 for the first hour or less and $1.00 for each additional hour, up to a daily maximum of $3.75.
Visitors to Buffalo State College should take great care not to park in any lot signed "Student Parking" or "Staff Parking", or anywhere along Rockwell Road, unless they have a valid Buffalo State parking tag. Campus police are extremely vigilant about ticketing cars that are parked illegally. Metered parking for visitors ($1.00 per hour, 2 hours maximum) is available in Lot C, off Cleveland Circle next to Moot Hall, and also in Lot B-1, behind the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
A few businesses on Elmwood Avenue have parking lots of their own; however, these places will not hesitate to tow any cars parked there that do not belong to their customers. Pano's has gone so far as to post security guards at the entrance to their lot at peak hours. Less well-monitored private lots can be found next to Elmwood Taco & Subs and Starbucks at the corner of West Delavan Avenue, next to Panera Bread between Auburn and Cleveland Avenues, and at Stuyvesant Plaza at the southern end of the district. Regardless, park in private lots at your own risk!
Zipcar has two locations in the Elmwood Village where members can pick up and drop off cars:
- Stationed in the parking lot of the 2 Brent Manor Apartments at 366 Elmwood Ave. is a Honda Civic that can be rented for $9/hour or $74/day M-Th, and $10/hour or $80/day F-Su.
- In Buffalo State College's Parking Lot R-4, just off Cleveland Circle, you'll find a Ford Focus sedan that can be rented for $7.50/hour or $69/day M-Th, and $8.50/hour or $77/day F-Su.
All quoted prices include fuel, insurance, and 180 free miles (about 290 free kilometers) per day.
By public transportation
Public transit in Buffalo and the surrounding area is provided by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA). The NFTA Metro system encompasses a single-line light-rail rapid transit (LRRT) system and an extensive network of buses. The fare for a single trip on a bus or train is $2.00 regardless of length. No transfers are provided between buses or trains; travelers who will need to make multiple trips per day on public transit should consider purchasing an all-day pass for $5.00.
The Elmwood Village is traversed by a number of NFTA Metro bus routes:
To and from downtown
NFTA Metro Bus #7 — Baynes-Richmond. Beginning at the Richardson-Olmsted Complex on Forest Avenue, Bus #7 proceeds southward on Baynes Street, then turning on West Ferry Street and continuing southward down Richmond Avenue to Symphony Circle, ending downtown. Bus #7 does not run Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.
NFTA Metro Bus #12 — Utica. Beginning on the West Side, Bus #12 enters the Elmwood Village at Ferry Circle, proceeding south along Richmond Avenue before turning eastward onto West Utica Street. The route ends at the University Metro Rail Station.
NFTA Metro Bus #26 — Delavan. Beginning on the West Side, Bus #26 proceeds along West Delavan Avenue through the Elmwood Village, ending at the Thruway Mall Transit Center in Cheektowaga.
NFTA Metro Bus #32 — Amherst. Bus #32 traverses Amherst Street through Black Rock and North Buffalo, but dips into the Elmwood Village briefly, serving Buffalo State College and the Museum District via Elmwood Avenue.
By Metro Rail
The Metro Rail runs along Main Street, far east of here. However, the Elmwood Village is easily accessible from the Amherst Street, Delavan-Canisius College, Utica, and Summer-Best Metro Rail Stations by way of NFTA Metro Buses #32, #26, #12, and #22, respectively. Those traveling to the Elmwood Village by both bus and subway are strongly advised to purchase a day pass for $5.00.
Buffalo has been making great strides in recent years in accommodating bicycling as a mode of transportation, with recognition from the League of American Bicyclists as a Bronze-Level "Bicycle-Friendly Community" to show for its efforts — and there are few neighborhoods in Buffalo that are more bike-friendly than the Elmwood Village.
There are two recreational bike trails in the Elmwood Village. The 1.1-mile (1.8 km) multi-use trail that circumnavigates Delaware Park's Hoyt Lake is an especially popular one among cyclists, affording them spectacular views of the lake and the historic Bridge of the Three Americas that carries Lincoln Parkway over it, as well as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Also, the Scajaquada Creekside Trail, also known as the Jesse Kregal Bike Path, begins near the corner of Lincoln Parkway and Nottingham Terrace (a pedestrian bridge over the Scajaquada Expressway provides access from the Hoyt Lake trail) and proceeds 2.4 miles (3.8 km) along the north bank of Scajaquada Creek, passing the Japanese Garden, the Buffalo History Museum and Buffalo State College on its way into the West Side, where it ends at the Shoreline Trail in Black Rock.
Among the largest bicycle infrastructure projects in Buffalo in recent memory is located along Elmwood Avenue between the Scajaquada Creekside Trail and Forest Avenue, then proceeding westward on Forest as far as Richmond Avenue. The sidewalks along this stretch of road were completely removed and replaced with a wide asphalt pathway for bicyclists and pedestrians, completely removed from the road, which provides access between the Scajaquada Creekside Trail and Richmond Avenue. In turn, Richmond Avenue has also been altered to accommodate bicyclists, with "sharrows" (pavement markings on roads too narrow to accommodate dedicated bike lanes, indicating that drivers should be aware of bicyclists on the road) in place between Forest Avenue and Colonial Circle, and dedicated bike lanes from Colonial Circle south to Symphony Circle. Additionally, on Elmwood itself bike lanes have been put in place between Anderson Place and Bryant Street, with sharrows north to Forest Avenue and south past North Street into Allentown; sharrows also extend along all of North Street. Bidwell Parkway also has a bike lane on each side of the street for its entire length between Colonial and Soldiers' Circles.
Quite frankly, even on streets without dedicated bike lanes or sharrows, the whole of the Elmwood Village is quite amenable to bicyclists — and perhaps just as important, drivers there are much more accustomed to sharing the road than in other areas of the city.
The Elmwood Village has five Reddy Bikeshare racks:
- on the east side of Elmwood Avenue just south of Bryant Street, in front of Thinking Elvish Chocolates
- on the east side of Elmwood Avenue at the corner of West Ferry Street, in front of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo
- on both sides of Elmwood Avenue in the center of Bidwell Parkway
- on the east side of Elmwood Avenue between Bird and Forest Avenues, across the street from Louie's Texas Red Hots
- on the campus of Buffalo State College, north side of Rockwell Road just west of Elmwood Avenue, next to the bus shelter at the side entrance to Rockwell Hall
Additionally, the stretch of Elmwood Avenue south of Rockwell Road is a free parking zone, where you can return your Reddy bike when you're done to any public bike rack without incurring the $2 fee for parking outside of a hub.
Elmwood Avenue is a street that is practically tailor-made for pedestrians. Travellers on foot can enjoy the pleasures of strolling alongside sidewalk cafés, detour into any number of charming shops and boutiques, and fully enjoy the sights and sounds of this delightful neighborhood — while also taking pleasure in not having to deal with slow-going traffic and ubiquitous red lights!
The quieter side streets of the Elmwood Village are no less pleasant to explore on foot than Elmwood Avenue itself. In particular, the Olmsted parkways are delightful places to stroll, with an abundance of mature trees and greenery alongside the roads and within their wide, beautifully landscaped central medians, and a bevy of elegant and historic mansions, each more palatial than the last.
The impressive and growing Museum District, situated at the northern end of the Elmwood Village adjacent to Delaware Park and Buffalo State College, boasts a number of facilities of interest to art lovers. As well, there are a few smaller galleries peppered along Elmwood Avenue.
- 1 Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ , fax: . Daily 10AM-5PM (F until 10PM). The centerpiece of the Museum District, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery boasts one of the premier collections of modern and contemporary art in the nation, with the impressionist, cubist, surrealist, abstract expressionist, and pop art styles — and artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol — all well-represented among its permanent collection. Works of other styles and periods are also on display, and the Albright-Knox plays host to travelling exhibitions on a frequent basis. The Albright-Knox is housed in a magnificent Neoclassical structure that is a work of art in itself — built in 1905 from a design by Green & Wicks, the greatest Buffalo architectural firm of all time, the building emulates the Erechtheion in Athens, with caryatids designed by eminent sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and, at the time of its construction, more columns than any building in the United States with the exception of the U.S. Capitol. $12, seniors/students $8, children 6-12 $5, free for children 5 and under, museum members, active military, and on first Friday of each month; $5 parking fee ($3 for museum members).
- 2 The Benjaman Gallery, 419 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ . Th-Sa 11AM-5PM, Su-W by appointment. The Benjaman Gallery has been operated since 1970 by Barry Johnson, a local artist, art expert, and a former instructor and advisor at Buffalo State College and the University at Buffalo. What began as part of the thesis Johnson completed to obtain his MFA from Buffalo State has grown into a family-owned and operated institution in Buffalo's booming arts community, situated in a gorgeous Victorian mansion on Elmwood Avenue whose exquisite architecture and decor make it a work of art in itself. The Benjaman Gallery's collection includes the works of Buffalo and Western New York artists such as Hal English, Milton Rogovin, Martha Visser't Hooft, and Barry Johnson himself, as well as nationally and internationally famous names such as Salvador Dalí, Peter Max, and Charles Burchfield, the renowned watercolorist who was a resident of the nearby suburb of Gardenville at the height of his career. The Benjaman Gallery also offers custom framing, restoration, appraisal, research, and design consultation services, and buys and sells antiques.
- 3 Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ . Opened in 1966 and greatly expanded in the early '90s through the charitable largesse of Dr. Charles Rand Penney, the Burchfield Penney Art Center finally moved into its new museum building in 2008 after over a decade of planning and construction. An important addition to the Elmwood Avenue Museum District operated by Buffalo State College, the mission of the Burchfield Penney Art Center is to showcase the unique culture of Buffalo and Western New York and the vibrancy of its creative community with displays of works by local artists. The backbone of the Burchfield Penney's offerings consists of the world's most extensive collection of paintings by Charles Burchfield, a renowned watercolorist who spent most of his career living in or near Buffalo. Temporary exhibitions, often with a local flavor, are also frequently presented. The involvement of the Burchfield Penney Art Center in the community is exemplified by its Art On Wheels program, as well as Herd About Buffalo, a popular phenomenon whereby local businesses have displayed personalized papier-mâché buffaloes or bison as an expression of community pride.
- 4 Czurles-Nelson Gallery, Upton Hall, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ . M-F 9AM-4:30PM. Located at Upton Hall, on the Buffalo State College campus, the Czurles-Nelson Gallery was dedicated in 2009 in honor of Stanley Czurles, founder of Buffalo State's Art Education Department, and his daughter Barbara Czurles Nelson. Displayed here are works in a variety of media created by Buffalo State students, as well as regionally- and nationally-known professional artists. The Czurles-Nelson Gallery also hosts a slate of annual events, including student art shows and sales. Free.
- 5 Fuse Salon & Gallery, 984 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M noon-6PM, Tu noon-8PM, W-Th 10AM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-4PM. Describing itself as a "fusion of aesthetic elements in an inviting and contemporary atmosphere", Fuse Salon & Gallery is quite an unusual concept: this full-service upscale hair and beauty salon does double duty as an art gallery that displays a rotating selection of works by local artists, all for sale at fair prices, as well as occasional temporary exhibitions. Guests can admire some of the best work of Buffalo's talented creative community while at the same time getting a manicure or having their hair styled and colored! As befits a full-service salon, locally produced soaps, lotions, massage oils, and sugar scrubs are for sale alongside the artwork. A truly one-of-a-kind experience.
- 6 1045 Elmwood Gallery for the Arts (Formerly ZGM Fine Arts), 1045 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Th-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-4PM or by appointment. The 1045 Elmwood Gallery is not only the working studio of photographers Don and Diann Zinteck, but also boasts a lovely gallery space that features a permanent collection as well as frequent temporary exhibitions of work by locally- and regionally-known artists in a variety of genres. Upcoming exhibitions as of this writing include an installation of textile sculptures, the annual springtime competition of the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society, and an exhibition of paintings by Pennsylvania native Loryn Spangler-Jones. The 1045 Elmwood Gallery also hosts the Blank Canvas Project, a series of drawing and painting classes for people of all ages and skill levels, and its gallery store sells original artwork, prints, and gifts. As a prominent supporter of the annual Garden Walk Buffalo event, related merchandise is also sold at the gallery's Garden Walk Buffalo Store.
- 7 Buffalo History Museum (Formerly the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum), 25 Nottingham Ct. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, W until 8PM, Su noon-5PM, Resource Center by appointment during business hours, Research Library W-Sa 1PM-5PM. Located just off Elmwood Avenue in the Museum District and adjacent to Delaware Park, the newly renamed Buffalo History Museum has by far the most extensive collection of artifacts relevant to the history of Buffalo and Western New York from pre-Columbian times to the present day. Originally built for the Pan-American Exposition in 1901, it is perhaps not surprising that the Exhibition is a particular focus of the exhibits at this wonderful museum. A Pierce-Arrow roadster built in Buffalo, the medal presented by George Washington to Chief Red Jacket, prototypes of the cardiac pacemaker invented by Clarence native Wilson Greatbatch, and artistic renderings of historical scenes and people flesh out the collection. Further historical records, manuscripts, photographs, and personal documents are housed at the Research Library. The Buffalo History Museum is also an invaluable resource for local residents interested in genealogy. $7, seniors and students 13-21 $5, children 7-12 $2, members and children under 7 free. Research Library $7, free to members.
- 8 Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium, Buckham Hall D-Wing, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 3), ☎ . F-Sa 7PM-8:15PM or by reservation. The original Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium was showing its nearly half-century of age when it was demolished in 2012 to make way for yet another round of new construction on the campus of Buffalo State College. The permanent replacement will be a state-of-the-art facility that will be a centerpiece of the new Science and Mathematics Complex whose opening is slated for 2019, but until then, programming continues on a temporary basis in a 24-foot (7-meter) inflatable planetarium in Buckham Hall. Though the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium gives you the opportunity to see pretty much any star, planet, constellation, galaxy, nebula, or other astronomical feature you could possibly imagine, it's not an observatory per se — it's actually a 70-seat indoor theater, with a 360°, dome-shaped overhead "screen" immersing visitors in a high-resolution digital image of the night sky that's displayed through a state-of-the-art projection system. General admission is available by reservation, but the majority of visitors to the planetarium come as part of special public programs and exhibits, where dazzling recorded programming educates the public in layman's terms on issues of astronomy. $6; seniors, children 5-17 and students $4; Buffalo State students free; children under 5 not admitted.
More and more, Buffalo's exquisite and well-preserved architecture has grabbed the attention of locals and tourists alike. However, aside from the resplendent Olmsted park and parkway system that's described in more detail below, the Elmwood Village does not really boast the same caliber of architectural treasures as can be found in neighboring areas like Allentown and the Delaware District. Elmwood Avenue itself is largely made up of newer commercial storefronts of no architectural distinction; the side streets are characterized by ample two- and three-story wood-frame residences in styles popular just after the turn of the last century, such as the Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Shingle styles, and occasionally in older styles such as Italianate and Romanesque Revival. Though these houses are a good deal less elegant than the ones you'll see in the Delaware District, they're extraordinarily well-preserved — and that architectural integrity, recounting the history of the Elmwood Village as one of Buffalo's first "streetcar suburbs", was the rationale for the creation of the Elmwood West Historic District in December 2012. Comprising essentially the entirety of the Elmwood Village west of Elmwood Avenue, the Elmwood West Historic District is 275 acres (115ha) in area, and was by far the largest historic district in Buffalo to be inscribed on the National Register of Historic Places until March 2016, when it eclipsed by the even larger Elmwood East Historic District, a 406-acre (169ha) expanse on the other side of Elmwood Avenue that shares essentially the same characteristics as its counterpart.
One place in the Elmwood Village where buildings of truly spectacular architectural distinction can be seen is Lincoln Parkway. The mansions located there are on average a few decades newer than the ones on Delaware Avenue's "Millionaire's Row", but no less grand and sumptuous: proud stone sentinels in the Beaux-Arts, Tudor Revival, and Colonial Revival styles standing guard over a tranquil, broad, and verdant thoroughfare just behind the Albright-Knox.
Also located near Lincoln Parkway is the 9 William R. Heath House, at 76 Soldiers Pl. at the south end of the parkway. The Heath House is the first of several houses in Buffalo designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for top executives of the Larkin Soap Company; sadly, unlike its counterpart, North Buffalo's Darwin D. Martin House, the Heath House is privately owned and not open for tours.
Without a doubt the Elmwood Village's greatest architectural treasure, however, is the magnificent Richardson-Olmsted Complex, a Nationally Registered Historic Place and National Historic Landmark located adjacent to Buffalo State College. Situated on 91 acres (36 ha) of land bounded by Elmwood Avenue, Forest Avenue, Rees Street, and Rockwell Road, the Richardson-Olmsted Complex consists of eleven edifices designed in 1870 by architect H. H. Richardson in red Medina sandstone, representing arguably the apex of his signature Richardsonian Romanesque style. The landscaping of the grounds was the work of Frederick Law Olmsted, fresh off the completion of the first phase of Buffalo's park system; a young Stanford White, later a partner in the illustrious New York City firm of McKim, Mead and White, also served as an associate architect on the project. For over a century, the complex was the home of the Buffalo State Hospital, an asylum for mentally ill people whose twin-towered Administration Building still looms 161 feet (49m) over the neighborhood; the Administration Building is flanked by ten residential buildings, five on each side. The operations of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center moved in 1994 to a modern building closer to Elmwood Avenue, leaving the historic buildings vacant; luckily, thanks to the preservation tax breaks available to National Register-listed properties as well as a grant of $100 million from the New York state government, these magnificent buildings are undergoing structural stabilization and thorough rehabilitation with an eye to redevelopment. The Hotel Henry, a luxury boutique hotel and "urban resort", opened in April 2017 in the former Administration Building; additional ideas floated for the reuse of other parts of the complex include a museum dedicated to the distinguished architecture of Buffalo and Western New York.
- 10 Delaware Park, North end of Lincoln Pkwy., behind Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Metro Bus 8, 11, 20, 25, or 32; Metro Rail: Humboldt-Hospital), ☎ . Dawn to dusk. With an area of 234 acres (93 ha), Delaware Park is the central node in Buffalo's park system, by far the largest park in Buffalo, and one of the largest and best-preserved examples of Frederick Law Olmsted's landscape architecture anywhere. All the classic Olmsted features are present here: a large, grassy Meadow that is now the site of the Delaware Park Golf Course, thick stands of trees, and 11 Hoyt Lake, the 46-acre (18.5ha) pond in the southwest corner of the park that Olmsted originally named "Gala Water". An essay by Charles Beveridge on the Olmsted park system in Buffalo describes how well Delaware Park continues to fulfill its intended role as a place for Buffalonians to experience nature and greenery without leaving the city limits; Delaware Park, as per his essay, is "the only public space designed by Olmsted in Buffalo that met his definition of the term 'park' — a setting of pastoral scenery extensive enough to provide complete escape from the artificiality and noise of the city." Delaware Park is popular year-round, but is most often enjoyed during the warm months, when walking, bicycling, jogging, tennis, golf, and basketball are popular activities, and the renowned Shakespeare in Delaware Park outdoor festival, which takes place here each summer and which is described more thoroughly in the Festivals and Events section below. Hoyt Lake is surrounded by a lovely walking/biking trail and features rowboats and paddleboats for rent at the Marcy Casino during the summer months.
- 12 Delaware Park Rose Garden (Metro Bus 20 or 32). Delaware Park's beautiful Rose Garden is located directly off Lincoln Parkway behind the Marcy Casino, and blooms in season with thirty-three beds of beautiful red, purple, yellow and white roses, many varieties of which have been honored in the past as All-America Rose Selections. The rose garden was not part of Olmsted's original design for the park, but was instead added to the park in 1912. Although its formality contrasts incongruously with the quiet, curvilinear naturalism of the park's original features, the Rose Garden is nonetheless lovely and renowned, and was recently subjected to a thorough restoration at the hands of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. The impeccably manicured garden also includes a working fountain and pyramidal trellises, and a grand pergola at its rear. The garden, and Delaware Park in general, is immensely popular with bridal parties during rose season; don't be surprised if you have to dodge gaggles of bridesmaids posing for endless pictures!
- 13 Japanese Garden (Metro Bus 20 or 32). Inaugurated in 1974 as a gesture of friendship between Buffalo and its sister city of Kanazawa, Japan, Delaware Park's Japanese Garden is located on six acres (2.4ha) on Hoyt Lake, behind the Buffalo History Museum. This beautifully manicured oasis of greenery slopes gently down from Nottingham Terrace to the shore of the lake, also encompassing three small islands in the lake connected to the mainland by a lovely ornamental footbridge. Over the past years, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy has been hard at work restoring and maintaining the more than 1,000 plantings of ornamental trees, shrubs and plants in the garden, including a large stand of Japanese cherry trees, and also have added or will soon add a stone garden and an authentic karesansui waterfall. Amid it all there are many benches and other sitting areas perfect for serene contemplation of one's peaceful natural surroundings.
- Public art. There are a number of installations of public art peppered around the grounds of Delaware Park and in the adjacent parkways. These include:
- 14 Birds Excited Into Flight (In the center median of Bidwell Parkway slightly southwest of Soldiers' Place; Metro Bus 20). Cast in 1981, this was the second commission of public sculpture in Buffalo for locally renowned artist Larry Griffis (his first, Spirit of Womanhood, is described below). Unlike the subsequent works listed here, it stands not in Delaware Park itself, but a short distance away. 20 feet (6 m) in height, Birds Excited Into Flight is sculpted in cold-rolled steel on a concrete pedestal and depicts seven human figures standing in a circle with upstretched arms, their hands metamorphosing into a pyramid of birds.
- 15 David (Adjacent to Scajaquada Expressway and Lincoln Parkway, accessible from Hoyt Lake bike trail; Metro Bus 20 or 32). This bronze replica of Michaelangelo's iconic sculpture David is the work of the firm of Sabatino de Angelis and Sons, based in Naples, Italy. In 1903, three years after seeing it on display at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, Buffalo businessman Andrew Langdon purchased the statue from the firm, with the stipulation that no casts of the sculpture would be sold to any other American clients. Langdon donated the statue to the Buffalo Historical Society, and it has been on display near Hoyt Lake ever since.
- 16 Spirit of Womanhood (Located along eastbound lane of Scajaquada Expressway near Delaware Avenue interchange, accessible from Hoyt Lake bike trail; Metro Bus 11 or 25). Another Larry Griffis sculpture, this 15-foot-tall (4.5m tall) bronze statue is a modernist, stylized rendering of a nude woman holding over her head a metal hoop six feet (1.8m) in diameter. The vertical orientation of the sculpture, and the upward gaze of the figure's head, are symbolic of optimism and hope, and the hoop represents the world, eternity, and the cycle of life. Griffis cast this sculpture in December 1962 in honor of Marian de Forest, the founder of Zonta International, a service organization dedicated to the advancement of women that traces its roots to Buffalo.
- 17 Young Lincoln (At the front of the Rose Garden, facing the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Metro Bus 20 and 32). Located (appropriately enough) adjacent to Lincoln Parkway, this bronze statue depicts Abraham Lincoln seated on an oak log with an axe at his feet and a book on his right knee, symbolizing his transition in life from humble farm labor to the highest achievement of American statesmanship. The work of sculptor Bryant Baker, Young Lincoln was cast in bronze in 1935; on its pink granite base is inscribed a quote from poet James Russell Lowell: "For him her old world moulds aside she threw, and choosing sweet clay from the breast of the unexhausted west, with stuff untainted shaped a hero new."
- Delaware Park is far from the only Frederick Law Olmsted park in the city — on the contrary, all of Buffalo is crisscrossed by Olmsted's park and parkway system, designed by him in stages beginning in 1868, and part of which is found in the Elmwood Village. Olmsted's "parkways" are wide, verdant avenues modeled after the grand boulevards of Paris, and lined with multiple rows of large shade trees. They serve as approaches to the parks, or extend from one park to another, and were intended to enable visitors to travel between parks without ever leaving a green and natural environment (for a long time, automobile traffic was prohibited on the parkways). Running south from the entrance to Delaware Park are three parkways, two of which, Lincoln Parkway and Bidwell Parkway, are located in the Elmwood Village. Also included in the Olmsted parkway system are 18 Soldiers' Place, the grand plaza where Lincoln, Bidwell and Chapin Parkways converge; 19 Colonial Circle, where Bidwell Parkway meets Richmond Avenue and whose beautifully landscaped center island boasts a lovely equestrian statue of local Civil War hero Daniel Davidson Bidwell; and 20 Symphony Circle, at the south end of the Olmsted-designed Richmond Avenue.
Festivals and events
Delaware Park serves as one of the busiest venues for Buffalo's huge and growing slate of annual festivals, with a wide range of activities taking place there year-round. Additionally, the Elmwood Village itself plays host to the upstart Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts each year at the end of August.
- Buffalo Porchfest, ☎ . Modeled after similar events in Ithaca, Cleveland and Somerville, Massachusetts, Buffalo's first annual Porchfest took place in 2013, and now occurs twice yearly in May and October. This festival sees local residents in and around the Elmwood Village convert their front porches into impromptu stages where a range of local musical acts put on free shows for festival attendees. Best of all, Buffalo Porchfest serves as a community-builder, providing an occasion for neighbors to meet up, socialize, and enjoy city life.
- Shakespeare in Delaware Park. Delaware Park's 1 Shakespeare Hill has since 1976 been the setting of Shakespeare in Delaware Park. With a goal of enriching, inspiring and entertaining diverse audiences through performance and educational programming with a focus on the works of William Shakespeare, this not-for-profit professional theatre company performs two selected Shakespeare plays annually from June until August at their striking Tudor-style outdoor stage adjacent to Hoyt Lake, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and the Delaware Park Rose Garden. Performances are free of charge at this longstanding summertime tradition, though donations are greatly appreciated.
- Elmwood Village Summer Concert Series. On Tuesday evenings from early July through to the middle of August, the Elmwood Village Association presents performances on Bidwell Parkway that feature a wide range of Buffalo's most talented local musicians and groups, representing all genres. Best of all, enjoying these casual, family-friendly events is completely free of charge!
- Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Held for the past thirteen years on the final weekend in August, this two-day event is to the Elmwood Village at the end of summer what the larger, longer-standing Allentown Art Festival is to Allentown at the beginning of summer. The Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts distinguishes itself from its counterpart with a broader focus, including not only over 170 artists and artisans but also performances of live music by local bands, a dance tent, displays on such topics as environmental conservation and cultural awareness, and Kidsfest, where young people can participate in hands-on activities and march in the Kidsfest parade.
- Music Is Art Festival. The brainchild of Robby Takac, longtime bass guitarist for Buffalo-based rock band The Goo Goo Dolls, the Music Is Art Festival was founded in 2004 and originally was held in Allentown in June to coincide with the Allentown Art Festival before moving to Delaware Park in 2008, where it now takes place in mid-September. The Music Is Art Festival "celebrates all that is weird and wonderful about [the] arts scene in Western New York" (in the words of a recent feature article in the Buffalo News) by presenting a constant stream of creative performances of live music of all genres by artists of local provenance, on several stages.
- The fall iteration of Buffalo Porchfest takes place in October — see above for details.
- Buffalo State Bengals, Buckham Hall, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 3, 20 or 32), ☎ . The Buffalo State Bengals are part of the NCAA's Division III State University of New York Athletic Conference. Outdoor sports, including Buffalo State's football and soccer teams, are held at 2 Coyer Field, while the 3 Buffalo State Sports Arena hosts the home games of the basketball and hockey squads. Tickets to Bengals football, basketball and hockey games cost $5 (free for Buffalo State students); admission to all other sporting events is free.
- 4 Buffalo State Ice Arena, Houston Gym, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 3, 20 or 32), ☎ . Season runs Sep-Mar; see website for open skate times. Weekday open skate $2, weekend open skate $3 adults/$2 children, free to current Buffalo State students with ID card; skate rental $2 adults/$1 children.
- Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 878-3005. A wide range of theatrical performances are put on by Buffalo State College. Each year, the performing arts center at Rockwell Hall plays host to Artsploration, a live performance series whose intent is to educate and entertain area students and other youngsters. In addition, Buffalo State's Theater Department presents a range of plays, musicals, dance performances, stand-up comedy acts, improvisational workshops, and other shows at various locations on campus. Tickets are reasonably priced and can be purchased through the Rockwell Hall box office.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Elmwood Village's live music scene is miniscule compared to other hip Buffalo neighborhoods like Allentown. However, there are a few places there to catch performances.
- 5 Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Cir. (Metro Bus 7 or 22), ☎ . Designed by the internationally-famous father-and-son team of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Kleinhans Music Hall is among the most architecturally distinguished buildings in Buffalo (it has served as a model for Festival Hall in London, among other venues), and boasts world-renowned acoustics. Aside from the several-times-weekly performances of the Buffalo Philharmonic itself, Kleinhans also features performances by other orchestras, small theatrical shows, and popular music acts — which have included Natalie Merchant, Johnny Mathis, and the Indigo Girls — performing either on their own or backed by the Philharmonic as part of the BPO Rocks! concert series.
- Milkie's On Elmwood, 522 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . The Elmwood Lounge may have a new name now, but it still presents live shows by local jazz, rock, and blues bands every Friday and Sunday night, as well as a raucous open-mic stand-up comedy showcase every Wednesday night that features the best and brightest of the local scene.
- 6 Rockwell Hall, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ . As part of its Great Performers Series, Buffalo State College's Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall stages frequent concerts by nationally-known musicians and bands ranging in genre from rock, to folk, to jazz, to R&B, and everything in between. As well, Rockwell Hall is the place to go to see performances by student musicians including the Buffalo State choir and jazz, wind, and percussion ensembles.
3 Buffalo State College is the raison d'être of the Elmwood Village, the vim and vigor of its 11,000-strong student body having infused new life into Elmwood Avenue in the second half of the 20th Century even as the rest of the city was in decline. Founded in 1871 and moved to its current location in 1931, the school was once known as the New York State Teachers College at Buffalo with a mission of training teachers to work in Buffalo's then-fast-growing public school system; Buffalo State still has arguably the most robust such curriculum in the SUNY system, offering 19 teacher certification programs. Moreover, Buffalo State also offers over 200 additional undergraduate and graduate programs in such fields as arts and humanities, natural and social sciences, business, criminal justice, and the professions. The commitment of Buffalo State College to the Elmwood Village's identity is exemplified in myriad ways: beginning at its inception in 1982, campus radio station WBNY has been a national pioneer in the alternative rock format, and the school's commitment to the arts is exemplified by its Burchfield Penney Art Center and the performance series that are regularly staged at Rockwell Hall and elsewhere on campus.
Clothing and accessories
- 1 Anna Grace, 799 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M 11AM-6PM, Tu-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. This small shop in the heart of the Elmwood Village is where owner Joanne Dina sells contemporary women's clothing, jewelry, handbags and accessories at good prices. The style at Anna Grace is casual yet sophisticated — fashionable without pretension — and the gamut of brands that is represented ranges from the work of upstart independent designers to such nationally known names as Alternative Apparel and Tag Jeans.
- 2 Atelier, 820 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Tu-Sa 11AM-2PM & 3PM-6PM. A love of fashion flows through the veins of Atelier's Italian-born owner, Sebastiana Piras, who arrived in Buffalo after many years spent honing her craft all over Europe, working in all areas of fashion and design. Despite describing the name of her charming shop as sounding "a bit pretentious to [her]", Piras hit on a perfect description for it with this French word that signifies a workshop or studio used by an artist or designer. Indeed, among the exquisite dresses, coats, belts, hats, handbags and other accessories that she imports exclusively from Italy can be found clothes of Piras' own design, handmade with imported fabrics of the utmost quality. Visitors to Buffalo who seek upscale, high-fashion, one-of-a-kind items that can be found nowhere else can scarcely do better than this lovely boutique in the heart of the Elmwood Village.
- 3 Blush, 1005 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Tu-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su noon-4PM. Blush's founder and co-owner, Lexie Furlong, a recent graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology who cut her teeth working at similar clothing boutiques in New York City, took inspiration from the already vibrant array of small clothing stores on Elmwood, but synthesized a distinct style all her own — "bringing the glam back to Elmwood" is how a recent write-up in Buffalo Spree worded it — regaling Buffalonians with chic yet affordable clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty products that are tasteful yet whimsical and really make a bold statement. A special point of distinction at Blush is the interior, where ornate mirrors, chandeliers, silver mannequins, a fireplace, and a huge flat-screen TV playing chick flicks all come together in a truly one-of-a-kind shopping space.
- 4 Buffalo Fleece & Outerwear, 758 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-Tu 11AM-6PM, W-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-4PM. For over 10 years, Buffalo Fleece & Outerwear has been seeing Western New Yorkers through the harsh winter months with a bevy of fashionable, durable, and high-quality outdoor apparel, activewear, shoes and accessories. Buffalo Fleece & Outerwear has been repeatedly honored in the annual "Best of Buffalo" competition in Artvoice as the Best Outdoor Apparel Store, and proudly sells such well-known brands as UGG boots, SmartWool socks, and Patagonia jackets and fleeces. Also, a wide range of gear is available for adventurous youngsters, as well as a modest selection of other clothing items.
- 5 Bureau, 830 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Tu-Sa noon-7PM, Su noon-4PM. Elmwood's newest purveyor of menswear is more boutique than emporium — the range of inventory available here is relatively circumscribed. But what the folks at Bureau do, they do well, and the stock in trade here is made-to-measure suits in a variety of fabrics, patterns and styles, plus fitted dress shirts and men's accessories such as ties and cufflinks. There are items here that can't be found anywhere else in Buffalo — up-to-the-minute styles sourced from clothiers in places like London and New York. In a recent write-up in Buffalo Rising, co-owner Joseph Stocker describes being inspired to open an upscale menswear store by the timeless style of French singer Serge Gainsbourg, and that old-fashioned approach shines through in Bureau's use of traditional tailoring techniques and attentive nurturing of their relationship with their customers to carefully craft a refined, customized look for each individual client. If that sounds expensive, you're in for a surprise — the items at Bureau are surprisingly affordable; two-piece suits start at $650.
- 6 The Cellar, 569 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-Sa noon-8PM, Su 12:30PM-5PM. With its focus on ultra-high end, ultra-limited edition designer "art sneakers" whose price tags easily peaked in the four-figure range, Sole High was an interesting concept that in the end proved a bit too much for a midsize, down-to-earth city like Buffalo. In April 2017, after barely a year in business, founder Polo Kerber retreated to a studio on upper Main Street to plot his next move, but his former right-hand man continues to carry the designer sneaker torch at the original Elmwood Avenue location — now with a new name and a more reasonable price point (Yeezy 350s are a hot seller in the $400-500 range, an order of magnitude less expensive than a typical Sole High purchase, and most other items are less than $100). As well, at The Cellar you'll find your pick of urban skatewear such as t-shirts, cargo pants, caps, and hoodies, and the store also serves as Buffalo's hometown outlet for Supreme Gear, an emerging label of artwise street gear out of New York City that's in keeping both with Sole High's old stock in trade and the still-vital Elmwood skate culture.
- 7 Get Dressed, 576 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-F 11:30AM-6:30PM, Th till 8PM, Sa 11:30PM-5:30PM. Established in 1973, the stock in trade at Get Dressed is the same fine menswear you know and love from such world-famous designers as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Zanetti, offered at discounts of up to 50% off the national retail price. Customers in search of suit jackets, shirts, ties and accessories flock to Get Dressed not only because of their emphasis on style at affordable prices, but also because they are the only menswear shop in the city to offer free alterations — Get Dressed even keeps its customers' measurements on file so alterations can be made sight unseen!
- 8 Half & Half Trading Company, 1088 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5:30PM, Su noon-5PM. In business since 1973, Half & Half is a dignified old commercial block at the north end of the Elmwood Village that's chock full of unique women's clothing, hats, outerwear, jewelry, and other accessories. At Half & Half, the range of items on offer is diverse enough to cover any need its customers may have, from the boardroom to formal events to everyday attire — yet it's united by a quirky style-consciousness that's a testament to the unique identity of the business. Best of all, the prices here are far more reasonable than similar Elmwood Village boutiques, and the laid-back yet chic ambience is complemented by the helpful service provided by its friendly staff.
- 9 Head Over Heels, 754 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-6PM, F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 11AM-5PM. Even though folks loved the original enough that they generally didn't seem to mind the trip out to East Aurora, owner Rachele Pfister has nonetheless heeded the call of her many fans in the city and northern suburbs, opening in July 2015 a second location of Head Over Heels conveniently located in the center of the Western New York boutique shopping universe: on Elmwood Avenue, in the former home of Artisans' Hands. As always, the full name of the shop ("Head Over Heels in Love with Shoes") is accurate but only tells part of the story — while the stylish ladies' footwear sold here is indeed impressive, you'll find an almost equal variety of clothes and accessories as well, including comfy wool sweaters, graphic tees with cute quotes emblazoned across the front. stylish leggings, and the like. The house style is a rustic yet urbane, casual yet sophisticated take on "boho chic" — if you're familiar with Robert Redford's Sundance line of clothing, you're in the right ballpark but picture something a bit trendier — with a definite Western flair to some of the shoes, jewelry, and other accessories. Keep in mind that the Elmwood Avenue Head Over Heels is much smaller than the East Aurora location, so selection leaves a bit to be desired, but on the other hand, as Elmwood Village clothing boutiques go you'd be hard-pressed to find better bargains. Extra bonus points as well for creative merchandising — one reviewer noted seeing "scarves sticking out of beautiful vintage dressers and rings displayed in between pages of big books" on a recent visit!
- 10 Her Story Boutique, 779 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-4PM. The ambition of Her Story Boutique's owner, Sue Morreale, is no secret to those who have followed the Elmwood scene lately — although its original incarnation, Lotions & Potions, was hidden away on a side street off the main drag, its selection of fragrances, women's clothing, lingerie, jewelry, and accessories, curated by its passionate, friendly and inimitable owner, made such an immediate splash that she was able to expand only four years later into the recently vacated former location of Plum Pudding. All of what was on offer at Lotions & Potions is still stocked at Her Story, with a few added twists: Morreale's daughter Ciara is on board with Cici's Closet, a store-within-a-store whose fashions reflect the youthful aesthetic favored by a new generation of fashionistas, while the ever-enterprising owner has crafted a whimsical, one-of-a-kind interior incorporating an antique armoire, claw-foot bathtub, and a striking tin ceiling accentuated with crystal chandeliers that are original to the building.
- 11 MS Eye Candy Boutique, 292 W. Utica St. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM. Since 2011, MS Eye Candy has offered contemporary and fashionable women's clothing in this charming little shop in the heart of the Elmwood Village. Co-owners Siobhan Taylor and Miranda Evans select merchandise — from an eclectic mix of independent local designers and up-and-coming names in the fashion world — with an eye for subtle yet eye-catching details that make MS Eye Candy's dresses, blouses and other pieces stand out from the mall brands.
- 12 Pasteurized Tees, 795 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M-W 11AM-5PM, Th-Sa 11AM-10PM. Pasteurized Tees' Facebook page implores you to "imagine a tattoo shop for a t-shirt", and that's essentially the idea here: owner Michael Bowen will take unique designs conceived by his customers, draw them, and print them on a personalized, custom-made t-shirt or sweatshirt — all on the same day! The printing process, which utilizes a custom ink gel, is professional-looking and durable; Bowen was quoted in Buffalo Rising as saying that the print was so permanent that it would outlast the shirt itself. Pasteurized Tees is the place to go for visitors who want to remember their trip to Buffalo with a one-of-a-kind souvenir.
- 13 Red Siren, 976 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Tu-F 10AM-6:30PM, Sa 9AM-6:30PM, Su noon-4PM. The primo storefront on the corner of Bidwell Parkway has finally gotten with the program: as Elmwood Avenue has transitioned from a place for budget-conscious college students from Buffalo State to drink and party to one where a contingent of neighborhood residents play out their daily lives, the fast-food burger joint and succession of pizzerias previously located there have given way to a different type of shop more in keeping with the new face of the neighborhood. That business is Red Siren, the new location of the upscale clothing boutique owner Sharon Randaccio first debuted in summer 2015 at the short-lived Shops at HarborCenter on lower Main Street downtown. Here you'll find a range of inventory that might best be described as a more carefully curated version of the fare sold at beachside clothing boutiques at the Jersey Shore or other summer resorts, with an accent on the unusual and eye-catching. The offbeat yet stylish summer dresses, one-of-a-kind jewelry, handbags, and accessories, and other options for trendy urban women are miles away from what you'll find at a run-of-the-mill Macy's or JCPenney — and if you find something on the racks that they don't seem to have in your size, ask one of the friendly staffers and they're more than happy to order it for you. As well, the new Red Siren boasts an even wider selection of the quirky Buffalo-themed gifts and decorative tchotchkes than the old location had.
- 14 Rumpelstiltskins, 818 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. A children's consignment shop, Rumpelstiltskins is a great place to buy and sell gently used clothes, shoes, toys and other goods for girls, boys and babies from newborn to age 12 — as well as new items, many of which are locally sourced. Incredible bargains are available on designer clothes and brand-name items from such names as Gap, Ralph Lauren, Old Navy, and Gymboree. Clean and stain-free items in reasonable condition can be consigned by appointment; the consignment period is 90 days; 40% of the proceeds from all items sold within that period (50% for non-clothing items) will be returned to the consignor.
- 15 Scoop Shop, 648 Auburn Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Tu-Sa noon-5PM, F till 6PM. Located just off Elmwood Avenue behind TreeHouse Toys, the Scoop Shop is a consignment store that features stylish and chic vintage clothing, shoes and jewelry for women, at prices that can't be beat (look for the $5 rack located outside on the sidewalk most days!) The vivacious and interesting owners always take good care of their customers, which has earned the Scoop Shop a growing and loyal fanbase in Buffalo.
- 16 Second Chic, 810 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su noon-5PM. Second Chic opened on Elmwood Avenue in 2010, and owner Annie Adams' peerless eye for stylish, contemporary secondhand and consignment clothes immediately made a splash with locals. In addition, Second Chic is the only store of its kind in the city that sells contemporary menswear. Though prices aren't the best in the city, customers can count on finding really unique and high-quality items here. Every week from Tuesday through Friday, consigners are on hand at Second Chic to accept gently used ready-to-wear clothing from high-quality brands with good resale value.
- 17 ShoeFly, 801 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M 11AM-5PM, Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM, Th till 7PM, Su noon-5PM. One of the most popular shoe stores in Buffalo, ShoeFly presents visitors with the total package: a combination of great merchandise, great customer service and great prices. In addition to the wide selection of mens' and womens' shoes, including unique styles not found anywhere else in the city (brands such as Frye, Poetic License, Toms, and Matisse are well-represented), a variety of handbags and other accessories can also be found here. ShoeFly is also well-known for its active involvement in community causes and charitable efforts, raising money for causes such as People United for Sustainable Housing and hosting the annual 500-meter Stiletto Run to benefit research into ovarian cancer.
- 18 Sole Man, 565 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-Tu 11AM-6PM, Th-F 9AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-1PM or by appointment. The Sole Man in question is Brian Gavigan, who gave up a promising career in advertising to take up the unlikely title of the youngest cobbler in Buffalo. If you have a pair of shoes that need to be buffed or have a heel replaced or what-have-you, this is the place to come, but the same is also true if you're looking to buy a new pair of stylish designer men's dress shoes "recreated and reborn" for a brand new owner. As noted in a recent write-up in Buffalo Rising, the "everything old is new again" vibe at Sole Man fits like a glove into the new-Buffalo regime of vinyl-only record shops, hipster bars styled as 1920s speakeasies, and artisanal everything — the antique shelves and racks and the cozy wood-paneled interior are the perfect setting for not only shoes but also a wide and decidedly L.L. Bean-like range of upscale men's clothing, outerwear, and accessories, all available at down-to-earth prices
- 19 Turnstyle Designs, 298 Ashland Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ . M-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-6PM. Located at the corner of Lexington and Ashland Avenues a block from Elmwood, Turnstyle Designs is the brand-new boutique where Stephanie Robb, also a founder of the local jewelry store Wild Things that's located around the corner, sells the unique clothes, hats, jewelry, handbags and accessories she designs herself, both solo and in collaboration with other local designers and artisans. Also on staff is aromatherapist Frann LaRocca, offering incense, custom blends of essential oils, and other such goods for sale.
- 20 Vania & David, 1007 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . In October 2014, a happy coincidence led to the opening of this charming Elmwood Avenue accessories shop: owner Vania Escauriza Gagliardone was a victim of her own success after fourteen years of selling her custom-designed high-fashion handbags and accessories to stores around the country, followed by two months operating a "pop-up boutique" at Ashker's Juice Bar, but the storefront across the street that she and her partner David Martinez had their eyes on for a long time was snapped up by furniture purveyor sSet shortly after Vania's opening. As if by magic, the shop became vacant again just when it seemed their little space at Ashker's was going to burst at the seams. The stock in trade at Vania & David falls into two categories: leather goods such as handbags, wallets, clutches, and even iPad cases come in brightly colored yet understanted designs and are sourced from traditional artisans in Vania's home country of Paraguay, while the unique and beautiful locally-crafted jewelry that makes up the other half of the equation tends toward the bold and chunky. Vania & David's designs have been featured in GQ magazine and the British versions of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, so you know you're getting nothing but the best here in terms of fashion (with prices to match).
- 21 Village Designs, 448 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-7PM, F-Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. A seasoned veteran of the Buffalo retail scene for over a decade, it was almost inevitable that Michelle Voit would eventually open up a shop of her own, and that's exactly what happened when she snapped up this storefront near the southern end of the Elmwood Village in May 2014. Voit has found a niche that fills a void in the Elmwood Village: unlike other stores in the neighborhood that cater to high-school, college-age and young adult women, Village Designs seeks to sell designer clothing, in styles that are trendy yet not overly bold, to fashionable thirtysomethings. This is a large store — the better to accommodate a huge and diverse inventory — and it's got pleasant decorative flourishes like hanging chandeliers and expertly arranged window displays. Jeans are a specialty at Village Designs, but the selections encompass a range of t-shirts, sweaters, dresses, and accessories such as hats, head wraps, scarves, jewelry, and clutches in upscale styles (and for upscale prices) that are more typical of New York or Los Angeles than flyover country.
- 22 Jacob's Stained Glass, 589 W. Delavan Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M-F 10AM-6PM. One of the first stained and leaded glass studios in Buffalo, Jacob's Stained Glass has been family owned and operated ever since it was opened (under the name "Art Glass of New York") in 1977. The main order of business here is repair and restoration work, but you can stop by their storefront in the heart of the Elmwood Village, on West Delavan Avenue just off Elmwood, to check out a small selection of antique windows, lamps, and other pieces to choose from. If you don't like what you see, you can commission a custom order — and if you're a crafter or a do-it-yourself type, get your scrap glass here. A word of advice, though, is to give the folks at Jacob's a call before you stop by to make sure there's someone in the store to serve you — these folks have been known to close up shop when they're on a house call.
- 23 Parables Gallery & Gifts, 1027 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26). Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM. Out of a former apartment flat on Elmwood Avenue in April 2016 emerged Parables Gallery & Gifts: a small but versatile three-room space that functions as a combination gallery, gift shop, and event space where the work of local artists and artisans of diverse media (including owner Glenn Kroetsch, who specializes in abstract paintings of nature scenes) are displayed, sold (prices rarely exceed $75), or transferred to one-of-a-kind gifts such as t-shirts and throw pillows.
- 24 Poster Art, 1055 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M 11AM-4PM, Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM. Located since 1988 at the corner of Elmwood and Bird Avenues, Poster Art is Buffalo's one-stop shop for new, old and rare posters, postcards and collectibles, with thousands of designs available in-store and through special order. A centerpiece of Poster Art's slate of merchandise is what may be the largest selection of vintage and contemporary images of Buffalo and Western New York in existence, many of which were taken by the store's resident photographer, Joe Cascio. As well, visitors can see and purchase locally-themed memorabilia such as rare original promotional posters and flyers for Buffalo-based rock band The Goo Goo Dolls, as well as Buffalo Sabres memorabilia and jigsaw puzzles featuring a variety of local scenes. Poster Art will also plaque-mount and frame your poster; a wide variety of wood and metal frames in all sizes are stocked.
- 25 Six Dimension Design, 241½ Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ . M-Sa 9AM-5PM or by chance. The art glass workshop owned by the energetic, passionate, and endlessly interesting Jim Sawyer has been likened in Buffalo Rising to a "parallel universe... right out of some underground science-fiction novel". The shop is appropriately named: Sawyer crafts stained glass geodes in "six-dimensional" geometric designs based on crystal formations and atomic structures. His shop is filled to overflowing with pyramids, tetrahedrons, and geodesic-dome shapes produced using the finest stained and leaded glass and other artistic elements. Aside from selling arguably the most unique gifts in Buffalo, Six Dimension Design also repairs stained glass and, interestingly, sells flowers.
- 26 Thin Ice, 719 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . Su-M 11AM-6PM, Tu-Sa 10:30AM-7PM. A steadfast supporter of Buffalo's arts community, Thin Ice is a charming boutique that sells handcrafted pottery, glassware, jewelry, textiles, and creations in metal and wood, all of which are made in the USA and the vast majority of which are the work of local artists and artisans. Thin Ice is centrally located at the heart of the action on Elmwood and is the perfect place for those in search of one-of-a-kind gifts, as well as visitors who would like to give back to the Buffalo art scene.
- 27 Aurum Jewelers, 487 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . Tu-Sa 10AM-6:30PM or by appointment. Opened in 1964, Aurum Jewelers is the longest-established jeweler on Elmwood. At Aurum, owner Paul Michaels matches the quality of his jewelry — rings, bracelets, pendants, cufflinks, timepieces and even tableware in sterling silver, gold and platinum, inlaid with a wide variety of precious and semiprecious stones — with personalized service that takes into account his customers' individual personality, needs, and budget. Aurum Jewelers is also happy to appraise, clean or repair your jewelry. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are also welcome. Aurum Jewelers is proud to have been named Best Jewelry Store in Artvoice's "Best of Buffalo" poll for 2010.
- 28 The Silver Kaleidoscope, 515 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-6PM. In business for 35 years at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and West Utica Street on the first floor of the Elmwood Square Building, The Silver Kaleidoscope boasts the area's largest selection of sterling silver jewelry. The Silver Kaleidoscope offers traditional as well as custom designs, gold and silver jewelry repairs, and even ear piercing.
- 29 Sunshine + Bluebirds, 798 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M, W, F & Sa 10AM-7PM, Tu & Th 10AM-7:30PM, Su 11AM-5PM. The newest location of what is now a chain of three Buffalo-area fashion and gift boutiques with additional locations in Orchard Park and at the Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga, Sunshine + Bluebirds made its Elmwood Village debut in May 2017 in the former home of Abraham's Jewelers in the heart of the strip. Tourists in search of unique locally-themed souvenirs to commemorate their visit will be pleased to learn that these folks have loudly and proudly jumped on the bandwagon of "Buffalove" swag and other local-pride tchotchkes that has descended on Western New York, and Elmwood in particular, the last few years. Men's and ladies' T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies, coffee mugs, throw pillows and more are on offer at Sunshine + Bluebirds, but — perhaps in a nod to its predecessor in this location — the Elmwood location in particular seems especially given over to a selection of reasonably-priced but high-quality jewelry whose designs (much like the other categories of merchandise they sell) trend toward the whimsical.
- 30 Wild Things, 224 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-6PM. Opened by four Buffalo State College art students in a humble Lexington Avenue storefront with a cigar box as a cash register, Wild Things has grown into one of Buffalo's best-known and best-loved purveyors of handmade original jewelry by local artisans, as well as fine linens, ceramics, and other crafts. Wild Things' stable of designers includes six jewelers working with a variety of materials including silver, gold, enamel, and pearls and gemstones, but the specialty here is custom-designed bridal jewelry. Wild Things' dedication to the betterment of Buffalo has gone beyond supporting local designers to being a driving force behind the foundation of the Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts.
- 31 Gutter Pop Comics, 1028 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . W-Su 11AM-7PM. Situated in a small storefront near the north end of the strip that's played host to a revolving door of tenants over the years, Gutter Pop is, surprisingly, the first comic shop to open in the Elmwood Village in at least twenty years. If you must, you can get your fix of big-name superhero comics here, but the real specialty of the house is gritty graphic novels and harder-to-find indie titles. The selection is not what you would call vast, but it's impeccably curated, and works by local authors abound. Speaking of which, owner Stephen Floyd is an area fixture with one foot in the burgeoning Buffalo music scene and one in the equally burgeoning world of local small-press publishing — so if you're the kind of person who's into comics but also keen to look into some of the latest releases from Buffalo-area rock bands, you can kill two birds with one stone at Gutter Pop.
- 32 Inspiration Point, 483 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM. Inspiration Point is a modest but charming bookshop that stocks literature on such esoteric subjects as Eastern spirituality, yoga, metaphysics, meditation, natural healing, astral travel, and psychic phenomena. In addition, a wide range of music, greeting cards, and gift items such as candles, crystals, totems, and incense is on offer, and classes and workshops are held frequently.
- The Mezzanine Book Shop, 633 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M & Th noon-7:30PM; Tu, F & Sa 10AM-5:30PM. The Mezzanine Book Shop is located on the second floor of the Crane Branch Library, and sells donated books in good condition, including an especially large selection of children's books. All hardcover books are $1.00 and all paperbacks are 25¢, with proceeds going to support the Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries. The Mezzanine Book Shop is a great place to donate your used books.
- 33 Talking Leaves Books, 951 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-6PM. Talking Leaves Books is Buffalo's oldest independent bookstore; its now-closed original store in University Heights dates back to 1971, while the Elmwood Village location dates to 2001. To quote from the store's website, the name Talking Leaves "derives from a recurrent conceptualization of books by peoples who were unfamiliar with print; book pages were seen as 'leaves' that 'talked,' imparting wisdom and knowledge and spirit... an intriguing way of keeping track of the treasures of the people: their minds and their ways of being in, and understanding, the world." True to that philosophy, offered here is a vast selection of the sort of books that expand people's consciousness, with an especial emphasis on unusual and oft-neglected topics that reflect the unique identity of Elmwood Villagers. But what Buffalonians love most about Talking Leaves is the staff, who take sincere pleasure in customer service whether it be special-ordering books not currently in stock, making interesting recommendations, or attending to any problems customers may have. Talking Leaves is a true Buffalo gem.
Chocolate and candies
- 34 Fowler's Chocolates, 746 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. For over 100 years, Fowler's Chocolate Company has been satisfying Western New Yorkers' sweet tooth with a full range of exceptionally high-quality chocolates that are manufactured locally at their own factory. Among the delightful confections available at Fowler's seven retail stores (among the most popular of which is their Elmwood Avenue location) are pecan caramel clusters, chocolate-covered pretzels, and a range of European-style truffles — but the specialty at Fowler's is sponge candy, a perennial favorite among Buffalonians. Fowler's employees can assemble a wide variety of custom-made gift boxes and other assortments, including a "bouquet" of a dozen long-stemmed solid chocolate roses. Fowler's also boasts an ice-cream counter in the summer, and serves fresh hot chocolate in colder weather.
- 35 Thinking Elvish, 423 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ . Tu-Sa 10AM-6PM. If you're a fantasy nerd and also a chocoholic, this new Elmwood Village sweet shop is a place where you can indulge those two passions simultaneously. Thinking Elvish co-owners Lacy and Timothy Christ opened this vegan chocolate shop in December 2016 in the former location of Nickel City Cheese and Mercantile after almost a year doing brisk business selling their "fantasy chocolates" online via Etsy. Sustainability is the name of the game here — all the chocolate these folks sell is homemade "from bean to bar", sourced from locally-based suppliers as often as possible and exclusively from fair-trade and organic ingredients, contains no dairy, soy-based, or GMO ingredients (that "Audumbla's Milk" chocolate in the display case? It's made entirely with almond milk), and packaged using 100% recycled materials and no plastic. Products bear mystical, whimsical names like "Necromancer's Dream" (dark chocolate, 70% cacao) and "Gift of the Nine Realms" (chocolate-covered maple sponge candy) and come in half-pound wooden keepsake boxes stamped with the tribal triquetra symbol that serves as Thinking Elvish's trademark. If none of that strikes your fancy, come in and cool off from the summer heat with a variety of vegan ice creams and organic nut milks, or warm up in the winter with a mug of steaming hot chocolate or cocoa.
- 36 Watson's Chocolates, 738 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-W 10AM-5:30PM, Th-F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. In business since 1946, Watson's Chocolates is often regarded by locals as the yin to Fowler's yang. However, Watson's distinguishes itself from its longtime rival a few doors down Elmwood with its status as a larger operation with more locations, and a correspondingly wider range of products sold at its stores. In addition to fine chocolates — including a line of sponge candy that Buffalo Spree has honored as the best in Western New York — Watson's Chocolates also sells other sweet treats such as hot fudge sauce, English toffee, and a selection of praline and fudge, as well as a larger and more exquisite range of gift baskets.
- 37 Blue Mountain Coffees, 509 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-F 8AM-6PM, Sa 8AM-5PM, Su 8AM-2PM. Located on Elmwood Avenue near the corner of West Utica Street, Blue Mountain Coffees is a one-stop shop in the Elmwood Village for all things caffeinated. Not only does Blue Mountain serve up some of Buffalo's best fresh-brewed coffee, as well as biscotti and other delightful accoutrements, but it is also a great place to pick up a dizzying variety of whole coffee beans in such unusual flavors as Banana Nut Crème, German Chocolate Cake, Blueberry Muffin, and Tanzanian Peaberry. The dark roasts are especially good. A variety of other items are available, including teas, fine tobacco, a huge selection of greeting cards, scented candles, and various other gifts. Visitors can also chat with Blue Mountain's interesting and personable owner, Jim Greer, or simply bask in the intoxicating aroma of the different coffee beans.
- 38 D'Avolio, 814 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 11AM-5PM. D'Avolio Olive Oils, Vinegars & More originated in Lewiston in 2010, and soon afterward opened a second location in the Elmwood Village. Here is sold a wide selection of over fifty handcrafted, uniformly high-quality extra-virgin olive oils, including both plain varieties and oils infused with such additional ingredients as garlic, peppers and herbs. A somewhat smaller selection of balsamic vinegars is also on offer, as well as other gourmet oils such as truffle, chili and almond oil. Though imported oils from places such as Italy, Greece and Australia are on offer, the bulk of D'Avolio's merchandise comes from Veronica Foods, the California-based outfit that has been recognized as the producer of the highest-quality extra-virgin olive oils in the United States. D'Avolio prides itself on its ability to provide friendly and personal service to its customers, matching them to a product that is right for them based on their extensive knowledge of their products, the individual needs of the customer and the recommendations and comments of other customers — something a supermarket just can't do.
- 39 The Farm Shop, 241 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ . F noon-7PM, Sa 9AM-7PM. Aside from the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmer's Market, this tiny, out-of-the-way store a block from Elmwood Avenue is the sole local retail outlet for White Cow Dairy, a 200-acre (81 ha), fourth-generation family farm situated in the verdant hills of Cattaraugus County. What this store lacks in size (its entire inventory is contained in four coolers and a freezer) is more than made up for by the quality of what's on offer — everything sold at The Farm Shop is produced in the farm's onsite kitchen only a few steps away from the stables and fields, and White Cow Dairy's cows are fed exclusively on 100% wild grass, making for delightfully nuanced, old-fashioned flavors you can't find at the supermarket. Farm-freshness is what's emphasized here above all else, meaning that the shop's stock changes week-to-week as well as seasonally, depending on what the farm has freshly made at any given time. What folks flock to the Farm Shop for above all is yogurt; whether it be standard-issue varieties like vanilla and raspberry or more unusual flavors like gingerberry, this stuff will knock your socks off. Loyal customers also rave about the unique whey and other dairy tonics available here, as well as homemade puddings and custards, artisan cheese, "yogonaise" (White Cow's own yogurt-based sandwich spread with olive oil, sea salt and fresh chives), and Amish-style brown eggs. As well as dairy products, there's a modest range of other locally-sourced goodies too: maple syrup harvested from a forest adjacent to the dairy, produce from Buffalo's own West Side Herbs and Alliums, artisanal chocolate from Dark Forest Chocolates out of Lancaster, and more.
- 40 Village Beer Merchant, 547 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-6PM. The Village Beer Merchant is, to put it succinctly, heaven for Buffalo beer snobs. As is perhaps obvious, the specialty here is a slate of brews that gives the perennial favorite local beer store, Premier Gourmet, a run for its money: a dizzying gamut of imports, local and regional microbrews, and seasonal selections curated by a knowledgeable and friendly staff eager to direct customers toward the beer that's right for them. More than that, though, the Village Beer Merchant is a destination for those in search of a wide variety of gourmet specialty foods, with a range of artisanal cheeses, fine olive oils, chocolates, teas, Boar's Head deli meats and other charcuterie, and other upscale edibles. The setting for all of this is an impeccably decorated store that does justice to the historic character of this old commercial block.
Furniture and home decor
- 41 Blue Sky Design Supply, 978 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Tu-F noon-6PM, Sa 10AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM. Tyra Johnson is a Milwaukee native whose remarkable career arc took her from the University at Buffalo, where she earned MBA degrees in environmental and civil engineering, to a plum position as a project manager in a major local construction firm, to — of all places — a little Elmwood Village boutique. In point of fact, Blue Sky Design Supply got its start in the Cobblestone District in 2010, only moving to Elmwood five years later, but the purview is the same as always: housewares, decorative baubles, and interior elements of diverse descriptions thoughtfully crafted from salvaged and/or environmentally conscious materials. Johnson takes the "upcycled" goods these products are sourced from and reuses them in truly creative ways — unique items that have been featured in the past include rubber doormats fashioned out of used flipflop sandals, as well as serving spoons made of aluminum salvaged from a recently demolished house — and, best of all, you don't have to sacrifice visual appeal to consume in a sustainable way, as Blue Sky's inventory is an expert blend of practical eco-consciousness with attractive style. Staff is even happy to offer helpful hints and suggestions about your own home renovation and how best to reuse the wood, metal, and other materials you might otherwise end up putting in the dumpster.
- 42 The Peddler, 656 Elmwood Ave. (At Parish Commons; Metro Bus 12 or 20). Sa 8:30AM-4PM, mid-Apr through late Oct. The Peddler is more than just a flea market — it's a neighborhood institution, a social gathering place, and a real slice of Elmwood Village life and point of community pride. Founded in 2012 by Newell Nussbaumer, better known as the head honcho of Buffalo Rising, every Saturday morning in the warm months The Peddler brings life to an underutilized parking lot with an emporium of vintage, retro, and antique furniture, home decor, and clothing. The design of the market takes its inspiration from the Chelsea Flea Market in New York City, and though it may not be the biggest such place in the world (though it's getting bigger every year), a surprisingly diverse variety of wares are packed into its confines. The Peddler's vendors — some steadfast regulars, some more itinerant ones — offer an interesting selection of upscale goods to a wide variety of customers, from hipsters to families with kids to old folks to a growing legion of visitors who come from places like Toronto and Rochester in search of bargains. In the winter, The Peddler moves indoors to The Foundry on the East Side.
- 43 Ró, 732 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-4PM. Reimagine, the vintage furniture store owned by Cortney Morrison-Taylor and Hayley Carrow, had spent the three years since its opening steadily growing and expanding its oeuvre with new products, so it was perhaps no surprise to Elmwood Villagers when, in October 2013, the store culminated its continuous metamorphosis with a new name. Though the "Reimagine" moniker is still used to refer to the line of Mid-Century Modern furniture that has always been the store's main focus, the name Ró (which means "tranquil" in Danish) was chosen to emphasize the store's expansion into sleek, stylish Scandinavian furniture and housewares, and to encapsulate its new identity as "a concept of calm living through functional design". Other new items you'll find here, many of which aren't available anywhere else in Western New York, include specialty housewares from a range of emerging design firms, many of which are based in Brooklyn. As a continuation of its commitment to ecological sustainability, Ró also deals in reclaimed items sourced from abandoned industrial sites and other places around Buffalo. Art shows are also held on a bi-monthly basis, where the work of local artists is exhibited.
Toys and gifts
- 44 Everything Elmwood, 740 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. In this charming boutique's name, the word "everything" is no exaggeration: a mind-boggling variety of upscale and unique gifts are sold here. The constantly changing gamut of merchandise at Everything Elmwood comprises greeting cards, housewares, pottery, toys, decorative items, jewelry, handbags and other accessories, and many other trinkets and baubles that are not available anywhere else in the area. Visitors to Buffalo who are on the lookout for that one-of-a-kind gift will be in heaven here — and the spectacular gift wrapping that Everything Elmwood's loyal customers rave about is the icing on the cake!
- 45 Fern + Arrow, 773 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M 11AM-6PM, Tu-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Positively Main Street may be no more, but you'd be forgiven for forgetting that fact if you were to walk into the doors of its former home today: not only was the transition remarkably seamless (the owners of the successor business even helped out the retiring Linda Matt with Pos' "store closing" sale!), but the goods sold by the newly-opened Fern + Arrow are not very different from their predecessor either. Here you'll find a selection of high-quality gifts with an emphasis on housewares and decorative items — to be fair, a lot of what Positively Main Street carried was souvenir-store schlock, but Fern + Arrow dials down the kitsch factor in favor of things like ceramic kitchenware, linens and table service, scented candles, greeting cards, inexpensive yet stylish designer jewelry, and coffee table books. This eclectic inventory is yours for the browsing on an open, airy sales floor that's a breeze (literally and figuratively) to shop in!
- 46 NEO Gift Studio, 905 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. A longtime Elmwood Avenue fixture now reopened in brand-new digs at the corner of West Delavan Avenue, NEO Gift Studio is the place for you if you're looking for that perfect, one-of-a-kind gift for someone who may be hard to buy for. This immense store has gifts of all descriptions, both whimsical and practical, for all ages, women as well as men — candles and candleholders, home decor, office items, fine tableware, lamps, gag gifts, a wide selection of flowers and picture frames. As well, NEO's friendly employees live out the cliché of "service with a smile", and provide one of the highest-quality gift-wrapping services in Buffalo.
- 47 Spoiled Rotten, 831 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M-Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 11AM-5PM. If you want a unique gift that brags loudly and proudly about how much you enjoyed your trip to Buffalo, look no further than Spoiled Rotten. This cute little store sells, in its own words, "everything Buffalo": a wide variety of gifts, trinkets, t-shirts and seasonal items with a local theme, in a pleasantly laid-back atmosphere. Spoiled Rotten's friendly staff is the icing on the cake: they'll go the extra mile to attend to customers' individual needs — whether it be advising curious visitors on what to see and do around town, or with their complimentary gift wrapping service of exceptionally high quality — and they have an extensive knowledge of the products stocked there.
- 48 TreeHouse Toy Store, 793 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Th & F till 7PM, Su noon-4PM. The Elmwood Village's neighborhood toy store, on offer at the TreeHouse is a huge, handpicked selection of toys, games, dolls, stuffed animals, and children's books and gifts that comprise classic favorites as well as the hottest new items, and which emphasizes educational toys and games that inspire the creativity and imagination of young people.
- 49 The African Market, 224 Elmwood Ave. #3 (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-7PM. Buffalo's African Market opened in its current location in 2007, after a number of years in business at the Broadway Market on the East Side. This fascinating store features "Designs by Dovi & Girls", referring to its owner Dovi Tsofamo, a Togolese refugee who arrived in Buffalo with her daughters in 1999. At the African Market can be bought a dizzying array of items — everything from distinctive and brightly colored clothing, jewelry, and accessories in authentic African styles, to mudcloths and tapestries, to all natural shea butter, oils and other beauty products, to unique gift items such as djembe drums and fair-trade baskets made in Uganda, Rwanda and South Africa, and even a modest selection of West African grocery items.
- 50 Animal Outfitters, 986 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M-F 10AM-7PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Animal Outfitters' website is mastheaded by as apt a decription as any of this unique, locally-owned shopping destination: "a specialty pet store for dogs and cats and the people who love them". Animal Outfitters recently moved from its cramped former home on Bryant Street to its current location to better accommodate its vast array of specialty products, which comprises premium natural and holistic pet foods and treats, collars, leashes, coats and sweaters, premium kitty litter, toys, gifts for pet lovers, and such ephemera as bath and body items for pets and a line of pet aromatherapy products. The high-quality items sold by Animal Outfitters and the friendly and knowledgeable service provided by its staff — especially the affable owner, Omar — have earned the store unanimous praise. Animal Outfitters is also happy to special-order for its customers any items that may be out of stock.
- 51 Campus WheelWorks, 744 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Campus WheelWorks is a haven for cyclists — sold here are a range of high-quality products at fair prices that attracts a colorful diversity of Elmwood Villagers and that is curated by a friendly staff that knows their products well. The centerpiece of Campus WheelWorks' body of merchandise, obviously, is bicycles — the accent here is on racing bikes from such brands as Jamis, Felt, Bianchi, Surly, and Redline, which can be purchased from what's in stock or special-ordered to accommodate customers' particular body shape and specifications. Campus WheelWorks' employees pride themselves in repairing or tuning up customers' bikes in a friendly and skillful manner. Skis and snowboards are a secondary focus here, with cross-country skis available for rent during the winter months, and waxing, tuning and repair of skis and snowboards available. Campus WheelWorks also sells a wide range of name-brand sportswear and accessories such as bicycle shorts, helmets, jerseys, winter jackets, and boots.
- 52 Elmwood Pet Supplies, 706 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 10AM-4PM. An Elmwood Avenue institution for over sixty years, Elmwood Pet Supplies is a modest storefront from the outside, but inside it's packed to the rafters with high-end yet reasonably priced pet foods, treats, toys, beds, collars, and other supplies such as cat litter, bird feeders, and aquariums. Elmwood Pet Supplies boasts a friendly and knowledgeable staff, a personal and local approach to business that sees it support worthy causes such as the Buffalo Animal Shelter, and a selection that emphasizes foods free of dyes, corn, wheat, and other by-products. Perhaps best of all, Elmwood Pet Supplies also has a small parking lot at its rear for the convenience of its customers.
- 53 Renew Bath & Body, 927 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M-F 10AM-7PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Opened in June 2014 at the former location of Homeward Bound, the selection at Renew emphasizes quality over quantity: the range of sugar scrubs, moisturizing creams, face masks, body oils and other skin care and toiletry products on the shelves here is not the largest, but it's uniformly upscale and high-quality, marrying time-honored traditional knowledge and the latest developments in skin-care science into the same natural, eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and often vegan-friendly products. When you step through the doors into the pleasant and aromatic sales floor and talk to owner Tom Akers or another member of Renew's knowledgeable staff, it becomes obvious that they're dedicated to connecting customers of all skin types and ethnicities with the hydrating, exfoliating, and rejuvenating products that are the best fit for them and their skin — much more so than making a quick sale; the ambience here is decidedly laid-back and low-pressure. And if you're a fan of the Japanese konjac sponge, you're in luck: this is the only place in Western New York that stocks it.
- 54 ShopCraft, 719 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . Th 3PM-8PM, F 10AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 10AM-7PM. ShopCraft came into being in November 2015 as a temporary holiday market launched through the Queen City Pop-Up initiative, and through an alliance with Therese Deutschlander was able to establish a permanent presence in the Elmwood Village as a store-within-a-store in the back of Deutschlander's Thin Ice gift shop. Actually, even that might be a misnomer — ShopCraft is less an individual store than an alliance of locally-based artists and artisans who sell their wares directly to the public. Art and photographic prints, cards and stationery, organic toiletries, clothes, kitchenwares, and more are not only handcrafted right here in Buffalo, but are truly the kinds of things you could never hope to find anywhere else: this "unique and meaninful shopping experience" (to quote from their own description) is the thing to seek out if you're looking for the perfect keepsake to remember your visit with. And if you can't make it in during the above-listed hours, check their Facebook page — the artisans of ShopCraft keep a busy schedule of apperances at area craft fairs, farkmers markets, and other events all year round.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
On Elmwood Avenue, trendy bistros with creative and upscale cuisine stand shoulder-to-shoulder with lively pubs, pizza parlors and greasy spoons that cater to the college crowd (understandably, the latter become more numerous as one travels from south to north, toward Buffalo State). Travellers who want to try out one of the Greek diners that are ubiquitous in the Niagara Frontier can check out several restaurants with a creative and decidedly upscale take on the classic format.
- 1 Elmwood Taco & Subs, 937 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F-Sa 11AM-5AM. Since 1978, Elmwood Taco & Subs has served tasty and cheap fast food that's popular with Buffalo State College students and other on-the-go Elmwood Villagers. In addition to the items that gave the place its name — tacos, burritos, chimichangas, nachos and other simple yet hearty Mexican fare, and an assortment of hot and cold subs — ETS also serves chicken fingers and wings slathered in its own homemade "Diavolo" hot sauce, and a few other items as well. Drive-thru service is available, too. $5-15.
- 2 House of Hummus, 502 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-F 11AM-10PM, Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-8PM. When the original House of Hummus started dishing out "Western New York's fluffiest falafel" on Hertel Avenue in 2016, it became the first breakout star of what had heretofore been a relatively under-the-radar Middle Eastern restaurant scene in North Buffalo. It's only fitting, then, that Palestinian-born owner Ahmed Hamideh opened a second location the next year on Elmwood to similarly rave reviews. At House of Hummus 2.0 you'll find all the same delicious and authentic Levantine specialties as at the original, plus a few additional menu options exclusive to the Elmwood location: tabbouleh that's fresh and nutritious if not especially flavorful (for best results, ask for extra dressing); souvlaki salad served up with beautiful chunks of char-grilled chicken; a ful medammes appetizer flavored with garlic, parsley, and cumin; hearty shakshouka for the vegetarians in the house. Best of all, the copious natural light streaming in from the huge window makes for a much more pleasant ambience than the dim and stuffy Hertel location (accentuated by the colorfully decorated interior — this storefront was originally slated to be a second location of Lloyd Taco Factory, and the greens and oranges on the walls do indeed draw from the Mexican restaurant color template). $10-30.
- 3 Joe's Deli, 534 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM Su noon-5PM. The second location of Joe's Deli opened proudly in the long-vacant former location of Off the Wall in June 2013. The menu at Joe's Deli Elmwood is much the same as its flagship location on Hertel Avenue — a range of hearty sandwiches such as corned beef, Reuben, muffaletta, and a concoction of grilled vegetables and herb cream cheese on a hoagie roll dubbed the Johnny Be Good, a selection of soups made from scratch daily, and a striking variety of wraps encompassing Thai chicken, hummus, and a Greek wrap consisting of feta cheese, olives, and fresh vegetables in Greek dressing — but the Elmwood location also serves a changing selection of beers on tap, ranging from well-known brands to regional craft brews, as well as a variety of wines. $10-15.
- Squeeze Juicery, 770 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-F 7AM-9PM, Sa 8AM-8PM, Su 9AM-5PM. Not just juices and smoothies (although they do those to a T; see below), Squeeze Juicery is the place to go in Buffalo if you're in the market for an açaí bowl — they have three different iterations, each with its own healthy and delicious lineup of ingredients and toppings. Also check out a selection of salads, wrap sandwiches, and housemade hummus bowls made with all-organic ingredients. The bright colors and whimsical decor in the dining room are inviting indeed, but sadly, if you're looking for a relaxing experience, forget it — the classic rock standards that the owner loves enough to name his menu items after are played at an eardrum-rattling volume. $10-20.
- 4 Vasilis Express, 1066 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . Su-Th 11AM-2AM, F-Sa 11AM-5AM. Vasilis Panagopoulos, the ambitious owner of the restaurant of the same name on Kenmore Avenue, once also owned four Vasilis Express takeout outlets scattered around the Buffalo area; sadly, the Elmwood Village location is the only one that remains. Here, serviceable versions of all the Greek diner staples are available: souvlaki and gyro wraps, avgolemono, moussaka, Texas hots, and Greek salad, as well as burgers, fish fry, and a respectable selection of poutine. Most of the business here is take-out, though there are also a few tables for sit-down business as well — and they're open much later than other restaurants on the strip, making for an interesting alternative to Jim's Steakout and other all-night dives. $10-25.
- 5 Wasabi, 752 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-Th 11:30AM-10:30PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 1PM-10:30PM. One of a growing number of Japanese restaurants in Buffalo, Wasabi operates two suburban locations in addition to this small one on Elmwood Avenue. Wasabi's menu is about evenly divided between teriyaki and tempura selections and a sizable collection of sushi and sashimi that is among Buffalo's best. A limited range of other entrees are available too. $10-25.
- 6 Acropolis, 708 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-W 9AM-11PM, Th-F 9AM-2AM, Sa 8AM-2AM, Su 8AM-5PM. Following Pano's lead, Acropolis has reinvented itself from a Greek "greasy spoon" to a trendy and upscale Elmwood Village destination. Pay no attention to those who say Acropolis' food has gone downhill since the renovation was completed! However, compared to Pano's, Acropolis has stuck more rigidly to the Greek and Mediterranean specialties they have always served. The Greek salad, souvlaki, moussaka, and hummus are all first-rate. Acropolis also boasts an ample and ever-changing gamut of beer and wine available. $15-30.
- 7 Aguacates, 765 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-9:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-10PM. With four restaurants in and around Buffalo to his name — Don Tequila in Allentown, two locations of Agave, and the crown jewel of them all, La Divina in Kenmore — Sergio Mucino was once by many accounts the preeminent figure in Buffalo's Mexican food scene. But his mini-empire came crashing to the ground in October 2016, when, after a raid by federal agents, the lion's share of his staff were detained as illegal immigrants. While Mucino's three other restaurants have since reopened under new management, news broke the following year that the former Elmwood Avenue location of Agave would instead become the newest location of Aguacates, a growing Upstate New York chain with additional locations in Lockport, Watertown, and the Syracuse area. Fans of the original won't be too disappointed, though: the core of Aguacates' menu (which is identical to the one at the Lockport location) is a slightly expanded repertoire of the same kind of Tex-Mex standards as Agave's had — fajitas, burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and various combo platters thereof — plus a modest range of simple non-Mexican main courses such as burgers and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches but minus the pozole, menudo, and other more authentically Mexican fare favored by the former owner. The decor is largely unchanged too, with its bright, warm colors and Mexican knickknacks adding a nice bit of flavor without going over the top. At the bar is served the usual range of Mexican beers, but also a slate of specialty margaritas and classic mixed drinks as well as a respectable (but not encyclopedic, like Don Tequila's) range of tequila shooters. $15-40.
- 8 Cecelia's, 716 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 4PM-9PM. An Elmwood Avenue mainstay since 2001, Cecelia's is an upscale eatery whose food is rooted in contemporary Tuscan cuisine enhanced with international flavors. Appetizers include interesting selections such as mussels Provençal from Prince Edward Island as well as a chopped salad featuring sopressata and green olives; pasta, chicken and veal dishes characterize the entrees. However, it's Cecelia's daily specials that really make the place shine. The extensive martini list takes center stage for "Monday Martini Mania" with half-priced martinis and half-priced appetizers at the bar, and a three-course prix fixe dinner is offered on Tuesdays. Sunday brunch at Cecelia's features a complimentary mimosa. Best of all, in the warm months Cecelia's outdoor patio is the place to see and be seen in the Elmwood Village; it's always packed, and understandably so. $20-45.
- 9 Cole's, 1104 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-10PM. Located in a former Pierce-Arrow showroom, Cole's serves reasonably-priced pub grub to a clientele that trends toward students of nearby Buffalo State College. However, Cole's is better known for its beer selections, featuring imports and locally produced microbrews on tap. $15-35.
- Forty Thieves, 727 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . Kitchen open daily 11AM-midnight, bar stays open until 2AM. Opened in August 2017 as the latest of a string of drinking and dining destinations to open up shop at this iconic address smack-dab in the middle of the Elmwood Village, Forty Thieves has some big shoes to fill — namely those of Mike Shatzel, the visionary behind Blue Monk, the place that almost singlehandedly kickstarted Buffalo's craft beer scene in the late aughts, and Kevin Brinkworth, who co-owned both the Monk and (with a different partner) its short-lived, underrated, and matter-of-factly named successor 727 Elmwood. Does Forty Thieves live up to the lofty legacy of its predecessors? No, not quite, but it's still well worth the time of those interested in a meal of reasonably priced, down-to-earth pub grub with just a hint of upscale foodie pretension — in other words, not an altogether foreign concept for those who were familiar with the old places. The vibe is similar too, despite a few changes in the dining room: the wood-panelled walls have been painted gray and covered with framed historic photos of old New York (an homage, like the restaurant's name, to Manhattan's first street gang which terrorized the Five Points slum in the early to mid-1800s) with a few ones of downtown Buffalo for good measure, and there's now a TV mounted on the wall to match the ones at the bar. On the menu is a decent selection of appetizers and salads including mountainous nacho platters and a not-half-bad chicken bacon avocado Cobb salad, but almost inarguably the dominant feature is sandwiches, sandwiches and more sandwiches. These include a well-liked turkey club on focaccia bread in which the pleasant herb-y taste of the meat is complemented by creamy brie and cranberry aioli, as well as a marinated grilled chicken sandwich on the same bread topped with basil pesto and sun-dried tomato aioli, and for a true taste of Buffalo, fried Wardynski's bologna with peppers, onions, and cheese. The selection at the bar de-emphasizes the esoteric craft beers and imports that were the old place's stock in trade in favor of a selection of $10 specialty cocktails. $15-35.
- 10 India Gate, 1116 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . Daily 11:30AM-2:30PM and 4:30PM-10PM. The Elmwood Village's longest-standing purveyor of Indian cuisine, India Gate prides itself on serving upscale yet reasonably priced food with an accent on healthy ingredients and cooking methods. They offer a wide range of vegetarian selections as well. $15-35.
- 11 Kuni's, 226 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ . Tu-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 5PM-9PM. At Buffalo's oldest sushi restaurant, chef Kuniyuki Sato prepares not only Buffalo's best-loved and most innovative sushi and sashimi, but also a full menu of authentic Japanese cuisine. Kuni's new location on Lexington Avenue has an ambience that is trendy and upscale, yet comfortable. Beer, wine and sake are served. $15-35.
- 12 Mythos, 510 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-Th 7AM-10PM, F-Sa 7AM-11PM, Su 7AM-9PM. As is the rule among the numerous Greek restaurants of the Elmwood Village, Mythos' ambience (and its prices) are several notches above the average Greek "greasy spoon" in the Buffalo area. Even compared with similar destinations such as Pano's and the Acropolis, though, Mythos distinguishes itself with artfully presented cuisine served in an upscale setting. But in spite of all the elegance, the cuisine here is perhaps a more faithful representation of the usual Buffalo Greek diner fare than any of its aforementioned competitors. In addition to the standards such as souvlaki, gyro, and spanakopita, Mythos offers a range of other Mediterranean options including pasta and chicken bruschetta, as well as a wide selection of wraps and local specialties such as fish fry. Breakfast is also popular here. $15-30.
- 13 Pano's, 1081 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . Daily 7AM-1AM. Pano's opened over 30 years ago as a small neighborhood Greek diner, and has grown since then into arguably the largest and most popular restaurant on the Elmwood Strip. After the newest round of renovations which were completed in 2009, some might say Pano's has gone over the top with neon glitz. However, it serves a multifaceted array of foods based as always in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, but with a wide variety of other dishes to choose from. The spicy chorizo burger — a newcomer to their menu — never fails to astound. No reservations are accepted. $15-30.
- 14 Petey's Pizzeria and Grill, 577 Forest Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 20 or 32), ☎ . Daily noon-2AM. Two years after the demise of Zetti's, New York-style pizza makes its triumphant return to the Elmwood Village: Petey's opened in fall 2016 to the delight of many a Buffalo State College student hailing from downstate, who can now get their fix of foldable thin-crust goodness a stone's throw away from campus at the former location of Mangoz Jamaican Restaurant on Forest Avenue. Sadly, Petey's pizza is no less a hit-or-miss affair than Zetti's was, but on a good day you can expect a solid representation of the genre: a bit on the greasy side but not overly so, a doughy but not crispy crust, pepperoni a good sight bigger than you'll find on most homegrown pizzas, and a nice zesty sauce. But Petey's is truly at its best when they venture away from pizza and into the realm of chicken wings and fingers, sandwiches and hoagies, pasta dishes, and the other good old-fashioned comfort food they grill up (in heaping portions to justify the somewhat high prices) — their burgers receive particularly high marks; patties of real Angus beef handmade in house and served with a variety of fixins. Service is among the friendliest and most personable you'll find on Elmwood, and a liquor license is forthcoming. $15-30.
- 15 The Place, 229 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ . M-Th 4PM-10PM, F-Sa 4PM-11PM, Su 4PM-9PM. Though it's been remodeled and reopened under new management — a brand-new open floor plan provides some breathing room while retaining familiar elements like the kitschy green plaid wallpaper and creaky hardwood floor — The Place still boasts a "where everybody knows your name" ambience that contrasts with the cutting-edge trendiness of the rest of the Elmwood Village. To go along with the snazzy new copper-topped bar, The Place's menu includes unpretentious but reliably good pub grub such as sandwiches, burgers, wings, and simple entrees. A specialty at The Place around the holidays is the "Tom & Jerry", a warm winter beverage of hot water and brandy topped with fresh meringue. $15-40.
- 16 Saigon Café, 520 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-10PM. Displaced for a few months by the Elmwood Avenue location of Louie's Texas Red Hots, Saigon Café reopened under new management in October 2014, at the long-vacant former location of Mode Urban Bistro at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and West Utica Street. But despite these changes, the fare here remains the same as ever: reliably good Thai and Vietnamese specialties (including some of the best tom yum goong Buffalo has to offer), served in an upscale setting enhanced by the airy ambience of its new home. There's a good reason Artvoice readers awarded Saigon Café the prize of "Best Thai/Vietnamese Restaurant" in multiple annual "Best of Buffalo" polls. $15-35.
- 17 Sato, 739 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . Lunch: M-Sa 11AM-3PM; Dinner: M-Th 5PM-9PM, F-Sa 5PM-2AM. Eschewing for the most part the well-trodden sushi and teppanyaki territory covered by other area Japanese restaurants, the menu curated by owner and chef Satomi Smith (former owner of Grand Island's sadly missed Serene Gardens restaurant) echoes what's served late into the night at inexpensive noodle shops in Japan's endless concrete jungles — boosted upscale a few notches with prices adjusted accordingly, yet fundamentally authentic and undeniably delicious. Ramen is the name of the game here, and among the respectable selection on offer is the aptly named signature dish "Sato Ramen", which places fresh, homemade noodles, chashu pork, bean sprouts, scallions, bamboo shoots and kimchi in a scratch-made broth of pork and chicken; another ramen selection adds miso paste to the same broth for those who like it spicier. Despite the popularity of the ramen bowls and other full-sized mains like Japanese curries and even steak and seafood selections, the bulk of Sato's menu is given over to tapas-sized small plates perfect for larger groups who like to mix and match. Fans of spicy pickles will be pleased with the appetizers, whether it be homemade tsukemono or a creatively conceived kimchi sampler with cabbage, bok choy, and shredded daikon and carrots; also, the buta no kakuni (braised pork belly) is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and the korokke makes use of gruyère cheese sourced from Buffalo's own Nickel City Cheese Shop. The food is unrelentingly delicious, service doesn't miss a beat, and the decor is sleek and stylish, with low lighting and soft music making for a relaxing experience. Best of all, Sato's hip bar is quickly becoming the place to go for Buffalo sake lovers. $20-50.
- 18 Taste of Siam, 810 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su noon-8PM. Local foodies mourning the closure of Bobby Sysomboune's Hertel Avenue eatery, Taste of Thai, are in for a present surprise if they happen upon its very-much-alive Elmwood sister business — in fact, they might even feel he's outdone himself. In sharp contrast to the stuffy, overly formal atmosphere from which the old place suffered, Taste of Siam's ambience is truly one of its strongest suits, boasting a large, airy two-story dining room bathed in natural light and bedecked with ornate woodwork. In this setting is served — by a waitstaff that's friendly and attentive without being intrusive — a smallish menu that still boasts a gamut of options that are a good deal more innovative. This place serves Thai cuisine that's second on the local stage only to the West Side Bazaar's Nine & Night Bistro in terms of authenticity, and the menu includes specialties served nowhere else in Buffalo: ka nome bang moo (an appetizer of toast stuffed with fried seasoned pork, with dipping sauce on the side), pud prig sod (a spicy stir fry with onions, tomatoes, celery, chili peppers, and your choice of meat), and an impressive range of salads. Service can be slow, but the food is worth it. $15-30.
- 19 Thin Man Brewery, 490 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-F 3PM-2AM, Sa 11:30AM-2AM, Su noon-1AM. In June 2016, only two months after a dispute with his former partner led to the implosion of Blue Monk, Mike Shatzel made his triumphant return to the Elmwood Village with Thin Man, the brewpub he fashioned out of a combination of the adjacent former homes of Faherty's and Toro Tapas Bar and named after the original automobile crash test dummy, invented in Buffalo in 1949 — a symbol of "the ingenuity, innovation and commitment to quality that have always had a home in this region", in the words of the website — creating in an instant one of the most popular and perenially packed destinations on the strip, helmed by a veritable all-star team of Buffalo's elite restaurateurs: Shatzel, partner Rocco Termini, general manager Mike Pijanowski (former owner of Bistro Europa), head chef Bruce Wieszala (late of Tabree and Bourbon & Butter), and brewmaster Rudy Watkins (co-founder and former head brewmaster at Community Beer Works). Speaking of beer, the drink list makes it clear that more than Allen Burger Venture, Moor Pat, or any of the other craft beer-centric restaurants Shatzel runs, Thin Man is the rightful heir to Blue Monk's storied legacy: the slate of beers Watkins produces in-house is augmented by a range of several dozen other craft beers that strikes a near-perfect balance between local brews, beers hailing from elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada, and hard-to-find European imports of the type Blue Monk used to be famous for. As for the food Thin Man serves, there are a few nods to the Belgian gastropub fare you could get at the old place — moûles frites are available in both appetizer and main-course portions — but the menu could be more succinctly and accurately described as a carnivore's wet dream. Pork is the star of the show here, figuring into most of the marquee attractions on the menu: the pork belly banh mi sandwich comes slathered in liver pâté, pickled vegetables and spicy mayo; the sweet-and-savory "bacon nubs" appetizer — cubes of the namesake meat drizzled in a brown sugar maple glaze and seasoned with fresh rosemary — has been likened to "bacon candy", and the gargantuan, locally sourced T-Meadow Farm Pork Chop is the most expensive item on the menu (unless you want to spring for the whole suckling pig; call a few days ahead in that case). Outside the porcine realm, the crunchy potatoes are a popular appetizer topped with two types of cheese, the Thin Man Burger is reliable pub grub, and the cheese plate is a popular appetizer. Health food this is not. The ambience in the dining room is an odd blend of hipster-friendly industrial chic and chain-restaurant banality; if that's not your bag, try al fresco dining on the second-floor patio decked over the sidewalk. Service is Thin Man's weak point: it can be slow, clueless, and error-prone, and ("full bar" notwithstanding) if you're looking to order even the most basic cocktail or mixed drink, or any alcoholic beverage other than beer, good luck. Prices are a bit high, too — especially for the appetizers, which, despite what the menu says, are not served in shareable-size portions. $15-50.
- 20 Tokyo Shanghai Bistro, 494 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-10:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-11:30PM, Su noon-10PM. Located near the southern end of the Elmwood Village, Tokyo Shanghai Bistro features diverse Chinese and Japanese fare including extensive and innovative sushi offerings, as well as a small selection of Thai dishes. The coconut mushroom soup is unbelievable. $15-35.
- 21 Vera, 220 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ . M-Th 5PM-midnight, F-Sa 5PM-2AM. Italian for "true", Vera's mission is to serve pizza that is true to what is served in Naples, where pizza was first made. This brand-new restaurant just a block from Elmwood Avenue is already earning rave reviews for its tantalizing take on gourmet pizza and other upscale Italian fare, and — perhaps even more so — for the interesting and exciting cocktails served at its full bar. $20-40.
- 22 Epic, 431 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ . M-Sa 5PM-midnight. Epic is a new restaurant that offers the finest dining in the Elmwood Village, where head chef Sergio Aquino crafts a wide gamut of delightful cuisine in a relaxed yet upscale environment. The menu draws on an eclectic range of influences — the menu includes New Zealand rack of baby lamb, shrimp and scallop primavera, cornmeal-crusted tofu stir fry, and (as an appetizer) fried Brussels sprouts in a truffle vinaigrette — but the food is prepared with aplomb in all cases, making for a thoroughly sophisticated experience that has won Epic great praise from Buffalonians. An impressive beer and wine list are the icing on the cake. $20-70.
- 23 JT's Urban Italian, 905 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M-Th 5PM-11PM, F-Sa 5PM-midnight, Su 5PM-10PM. When the name of the anchor restaurant tenant of Ellicott Development's new build at the corner of Elmwood and West Delavan was revealed, it left many Buffalonians scratching their hands and wondering: exactly what constitutes "urban" Italian cuisine? The definition, it seems, comes down to a rowdy, "bro"-oriented ambience, a certain modest creativity applied to a slate of tried-and-true Italian-American specialties (though this is far from what you'd call adventurous eating), and — above all — an inflated price point that the foregoing distinctions, not to mention the middling portion sizes, don't really justify. Not terribly impressive given the pedigree of the owners (Henry Gorino and Chuck Mauro, the folks behind the, ahem, "suburban Italian" dining destinations Siena, Rocco's, and 800 Maple in Amherst), but that's not to say the dining experience at JT's is all bad. The menu boasts a decent selection of pasta dishes (lump crab strozzapreti in mushroom cream sauce is popular, but tends to be a bit dry), brick-oven specialty pizzas (gluten-sensitive crusts are available for a nominal upcharge), and main-course salads are balanced with a surprisingly ample slate of non-Italian options — if you're looking for something meat-centric, the latter is probably your best bet. There's also a duo of family-style "for the table" dishes designed for two or three people to share, including a well-executed shellfish risotto in a saffron and white wine sauce. One thing that can't be emphasized enough is that JT's is always crowded (reservations are accepted, but they don't help matters much; these folks have a bad habit of not having your table ready at the appointed time), and if you've come seeking a quiet romantic dinner, the loud TVs, louder music, and general revelry at the bar (and, on nice days, on the twin sidewalk patios) will put the kibosh on that immediately. Slow, inattentive, and inept service is another sore point, though that and probably all the other criticism you've just read should probably be taken with a grain of salt, as the place has been open for only a month as of this writing. $25-70.
- 24 The Terrace at Delaware Park, 199 Lincoln Pkwy. (At Marcy Casino; Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ . Tu-F 4PM-10PM, Sa-Su 11AM-10PM. Delaware Park's Marcy Casino has played host to a restaurant throughout most of its history — records date all the way back to 1875, when it turned a $1,400 profit for the season. But by 2017, the building had been almost completely inaccessible to the public for several decades, with the doors opened only for infrequent special events and private parties. No more. The Terrace at Delaware Park is the name of the swanky new restaurant that opened on the Casino's second floor in March 2017 under the ownership of Jason Davidson and Mike Shatzel, the superstar duo of Buffalo restaurateurs who brought you downtown's Liberty Hound. Those who are familiar with the latter name in particular likely have a good idea of what to expect — expertly crafted, upscale cuisine paired with what is almost inarguably Buffalo's most discriminating eye for beer — and on that note, this place doesn't disappoint. The Terrace's menu comprises both small and large plates that are meant to be shared, tapas-style; the owners describe the fare as "contemporary global cuisine", an understatement if there ever was one: aficionados of cuisines from all over the world will probably find something among this maddeningly eclectic slate of options that's to their liking, whether it be the Cantonese baozi on the small-plate menu (stuffed with your choice of crispy pork belly or tempura shrimp), the full-size main course of delectable Argentinian skirt steak dressed with chimichurri sauce and served with fried patatas bravas on the side, or the Belgian-style duck frites that are a holdover from the menu of Shatzel's gone-but-not-forgotten Elmwood Avenue gastropub, Blue Monk. All this is served in a swanky supper-club ambience of polished hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, vintage-style chandeliers and sconces, and an old-fashioned tin ceiling that really bring the rich history of the building into focus, but on breezy summer days you can also enjoy one of the most beautiful settings in the city with an al fresco dinner on the namesake terrace overlooking Hoyt Lake. At the bar you can enjoy your choice of sixteen beers on tap (the selection hews closely to Shatzel's trademark combination of American microbrews and sometimes hard-to-find European imports) or well-prepared classic craft cocktails that befit the bar's 1920s speakeasy getup. Service is impeccable, prices are high but fair — about the only bad thing you can say about The Terrace is the piped-in music is sometimes a touch on the loud side. $35-60.
- 25 Trattoria Aroma, 307 Bryant St. (Metro Bus 7, 12, 20 or 22), ☎ . M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F 11:30AM-midnight, Sa 5PM-midnight, Su 11AM-3PM (brunch) & 5PM-10PM. Trattoria Aroma serves authentic, rustic Italian cuisine in an upscale trattoria setting. Homemade bread, sausage, pasta, and delectable Italian pastries and desserts are complemented by some of Buffalo's best espresso. Trattoria Aroma also operates a location in the suburb of Williamsville that features a full wine bar. $25-55.
The following local chains have locations in the Elmwood Village. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.
- 26 Jim's Steakout, 938 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Daily 10:30AM-5AM.
- 27 Louie's Texas Red Hots, 1098 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20). Daily 24 hours.
The following pizzerias are located in the Elmwood Village. Those who are interested in pizza delivery (as opposed to pickup) might want to also check listings in adjacent districts; local pizzerias will often deliver to several different neighborhoods of the city.
- 28 Gino's NY Pizza, 1009 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-4AM, Su 11AM-10PM.
- 31 The Elmwood Market, 214 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ . Daily 7AM-11PM. Opened in 2008, the Elmwood Market is a small store that boasts a surprisingly large selection of groceries including fresh produce and cold cuts, as well as general merchandise. The Elmwood Market's on-site café sells mouth-watering sandwiches that are lauded by its customers. Delivery service, money orders, and an ATM are also offered.
- 32 The Globe Market, 762 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-Sa 10:30AM-8PM, Su 10:30AM-7PM. The Globe Market is a delightful combination café and specialty food shop that is committed to offering a wide range of fresh, locally sourced products. An eclectic variety of gourmet salads, soups and sandwiches are made from scratch daily. Personalized gift baskets are also sold at the Globe Market.
- 33 Lexington Co-op, 807 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Daily 7AM-11PM. Founded in 1971, the Lexington Co-op sells a dizzying array of natural and organic grocery items that are often locally sourced. Handmade, chemical- and cruelty-free soaps and beauty products are also offered, as well as other merchandise, and "Lexi's Kitchen" serves a range of gourmet prepared foods and bread baked freshly on the premises. Moreover, the Lexington Co-op seeks to educate local citizens about nutrition, consumer and environmental issues, and the principles of the cooperative philosophy. The co-op's 8,000 "member-owners" pay an annual fee to receive special discounts, but the store is open to everyone.
- 34 PriceRite, 250 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ . M-Sa 8AM-9PM, Su 8AM-8PM.
- 35 Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers' Market, Elmwood Ave. at Bidwell Pkwy. (Metro Bus 20 or 26). Sa 8AM-1PM, early May thru early Dec; Sa 10AM-2PM, early Dec thru early May. The Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers' Market is considered by many to be the best market of its kind in the Buffalo area — including by readers of Artvoice, who have voted it Best Farmers' Market in many of their annual "Best of Buffalo" polls. The products of dozens of farmers, vintners, florists, and artisans from all over Western New York are available here in a family-friendly and smoke-free environment. The Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers' Market prides itself as being a "producer-only" market; no resellers are permitted. The market also features special events each week such as musical performances, cooking demonstrations, special Wellness Weekends, and presentations by a variety of community groups. In winter, the market moves indoors to St. John's-Grace Episcopal Church on Colonial Circle.
Buffalo State College is located at the northern end of the Elmwood strip, thus there is a large cluster of bars at the north end of the district that cater to a youthful crowd of fraternity members and other college students, and can be quite crowded on weekends during the school year. It should be emphasized, however, that drunken violence is far rarer in the Elmwood Village than on Chippewa. Further south along Elmwood, the bars quickly transition from college dives to upscale establishments catering to trendy, upwardly mobile urbanites.
- Cecelia's, 716 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ .
- Cole's, 1104 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ .
- 1 Forty Thieves, 727 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ .
- 2 McGarrett's, 946 Elmwood Ave (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ .
- 3 Milkie's On Elmwood (formerly Elmwood Lounge), 522 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ .
- 4 Mr. Goodbar, 1110 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ .
- Thin Man Brewery, 490 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ .
- 5 Thirsty Buffalo, 555 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ .
- Vera, 220 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ .
If you're a fan of the coffeeshop scene, the Elmwood Village is the neighborhood for you!
- Blue Mountain Coffees, 509 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-F 8AM-6PM, Sa 8AM-5PM, Su 8AM-2PM.
- 6 Caffe Aroma, 967 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . M-Th 6:30AM-midnight, F-Sa 6:30AM-1AM, Su 8AM-midnight.
- 7 Perks Cafe, 448 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ . M-Sa 6:30AM-9PM, Su 8AM-5PM.
- 8 SPoT Coffee, 765 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . Su-Th 6AM-11PM, F-Sa 7AM-midnight.
- 9 Ashker's, 1002 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Daily 7AM-10PM.
- 10 Squeeze Juicery, 770 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-F 7AM-9PM, Sa 8AM-8PM, Su 9AM-5PM. Squeeze Juicery offers a more upscale if less distinctive alternative to the friendly but gritty, bargain-priced Ashker's up the street. Offered is a huge selection of fresh-squeezed, house-bottled fruit and vegetable juices as well as homemade smoothies, each whimsically named after the owners' favorite '60s, '70s and '80s rock songs. (The "Green Eyed Lady" — a smoothie of spinach, kale, pineapple, banana, flaxseed, hemp seeds, and maca — is especially popular.) Healthy lunches are available too.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
In the old days, accommodation was one of the few amenities the Elmwood Village didn't have in abundance. However, that changed in a big way in April 2017, when the Hotel Henry (see below) arrived on the scene, bucking the longstanding rule of thumb whereby large buildings such as hotels were said to run counter to the neighborhood's low-rise, intimate, "villagey" aesthetic. If an upscale "urban resort" isn't your thing, there's also a pair of quieter, lower-key B&Bs to choose from.
- 1 Hotel Henry, 444 Forest Ave. (Metro Bus 7 or 20), ☎ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Architecture buffs take note: this luxurious yet surprisingly affordable boutique hotel and "urban resort" is located right inside one of the crown jewels of Buffalo's grand architectural cornucopia: the former Buffalo State Hospital, the masterwork of H.H. Richardson in his namesake Richardsonian Romanesque style, which — along with its grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmsted — finally reopened to the public in April 2017 after three years of restoration. The Hotel Henry's 84 standard guest rooms and four suites are surprisingly modern given the attention to historic detail in the renovation process, retaining their strikingly high ceilings (16 feet/5.5 m) and a variety of layouts in keeping with Richardson's original design for the building. Standard rooms contain your choice of two double, two queen or one king bed(s), and each have 46-inch wall-mounted flat-screen televisions with premium cable, hair dryer, safe, free WiFi, individual climate control with heating and air conditioning, in-room coffee and tea, platform beds with wedge pillows for maximum comfort (some Queen rooms also feature upgraded gel-top mattresses), recessed LED lighting, and multiple electric outlets with USB connections. Bathrooms feature European-style "Porcelanosa" fixtures and, in the case of some upgraded Queen rooms, a LED in-mirror television. Suites include all of the above plus additional architectural details preserved from the original design such as exposed brick walls and bargeboard beams that really bring forth the "urban resort" aesthetic, free-standing soaking tubs in the bathroom in addition to the showers, and separate sitting areas decorated with a curated selection of work by local artists. Additionally, all guests have access to a 24-hour business center, an indoor fitness center plus 40 acres (16 ha) of grounds for jogging and other outdoor exercise, and market-fresh gourmet dining at the onsite restaurant, 100 Acres. Parking is free, but valet service is optionally available at a price of $10/day. $155-339/night in high season.
- 2 Elmwood Village Inn (Honu House), 893 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Check-in: 2PM-3PM or by prior arrangement, check-out: 11AM. Located in an unmissable orange house in the heart of the Elmwood Village with a dizzying range of art galleries, boutiques, cafés, and restaurants within easy walking distance, the Elmwood Village Inn boasts four individualized guest rooms — the Middle West Room, the Middle East Room, the Skylight Suite, and the Master Suite — and works of art by local artists on the walls. Guests are provided with such complimentary amenities as central AC, wireless Internet, newspapers, and white noise generators. A common kitchenette is available, and light but lovely breakfasts are served in the Salon. On-street parking. $110-160/night.
- 3 InnBuffalo, 619 Lafayette Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: between 3PM and 6PM, check-out: 11AM. It was at a city auction in 2011 where Joe and Ellen Lettieri bought the handsome 1898 Tudor Revival mansion that would become InnBuffalo — it has a storied history as the home of Herbert Hewitt, founder of the Buffalo Brass Company, who entertained as guests a cross-section of the Buffalo aristocracy of the day including, it is rumored, former President Grover Cleveland — and they spent the next three years slowly and painstakingly restoring it to its former glory. "It's like I've been training to rehab [the Hewitt Mansion] for the last 30 years", the Buffalo News quoted Joe as saying in reference to his habit of buying and rehabbing houses on his native West Side long before that became the up-and-coming Buffalo neighborhood of the moment, but it's his wife Ellen who took the lead on the interior restoration with her keen eye for artful decoration. Indeed, the restoration of some of the first-floor common areas continues as of this writing — a "preservation in progress", in the owners' words, that your room rates help fund — but the nine suites upstairs are ready to accommodate guests in the lap of luxury. They each boast individualized decorations and amenities: all suites have hardwood floors, thoroughly modernized private baths with heated marble floors, flat-screen TVs, Keurig coffeemakers, individual climate controls, and complimentary WiFi, and all but two of them have king-size beds (the others have either one or two queen beds). Limited off-street parking is available in the rear of the building. The Sarah Dutro Suite is worthy of special mention as the most luxurious of the guest rooms (though not the largest), with its own ornamental fireplace and an elegant sitting area next to a huge bay window that looks out onto pleasant Lafayette Avenue. In the morning you're treated to a sumptuous gourmet breakfast fit for the royalty your hosts treat you like — of all InnBuffalo's many high points, the impeccable service with a sincere personal touch is the superlative one, with a wealth of information and helpful hints available courtesy of your hosts that will make your stay in Buffalo a memorable one. $139-249/night.
The nearest post office can be found at 465 Grant St. on the West Side.
Many of the restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses on Elmwood Avenue offer free wireless Internet, in some cases without purchase. These include Starbucks, SPoT Coffee, the Globe Market, and Caffe Aroma.
In addition to free WiFi, the 4 Crane Branch Library at 633 Elmwood Ave. boasts 22 publicly-accessible computer terminals with Internet access. The Crane Branch Library is open M & Th noon-8PM and Tu, F & Sa 10AM-6PM.
Despite the fact that Buffalo's crime rate has fallen steadily since the 1990s, it is still higher than the national average for cities its size. However, the Elmwood Village has a remarkably low crime rate by Buffalo standards, especially in view of the density of bars, shops and other businesses (and people) on Elmwood Avenue. That being the case, there are a few areas where crime, particularly theft, is something of a problem — particularly along Elmwood Avenue between Bryant and West Utica Streets. Visitors should also keep in mind that upon crossing Richmond Avenue from the Elmwood Village to the adjacent West Side, the crime rate rises rapidly and significantly. However, visitors to the Elmwood Village or pretty much anywhere else in Buffalo who exercise common sense — locking car doors, keeping valuables out of sight — will be fine.
Despite catering to a clientele that's made up largely of (often underage) students of nearby Buffalo State College, the Elmwood Village's bar scene is decidedly laid-back, with drunken violence like that of Chippewa Street quite rare. The watchful eyes of the Buffalo Police on weekend nights ensure that things stay that way.
Given its proliferation of upscale restaurants and shops — and, more to the point, the well-heeled customers that frequent them — it's perhaps not surprising that more panhandlers can be found in the Elmwood Village than anywhere else in the city. However, the personnel of said restaurants and shops are vigilant in shooing away any beggars who make nuisances of themselves, and aggressive panhandling is rarely a problem in any case. If you don't want to give, a firm "no" usually suffices.
The nearest hospitals are Buffalo General Hospital, at 100 High St. in the Medical Corridor, Erie County Medical Center at 462 Grider St. on the East Side, and Sisters of Charity Hospital at 2157 Main St.
Laundry and dry cleaning
- 5 Big Four Cleaners, 743 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . M-F 7AM-6PM, Sa 8AM-5PM.
- 6 Bryant Street Laundry, 304 Bryant St. (Metro Bus 7, 12, 20 or 22), ☎ . Daily 8AM-10PM.
- 7 Chayban's Custom Tailor and Dry Cleaning, 513 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-F 10:30AM-6PM, Sa 10:30AM-4PM.
- 8 Laundry Time, 220 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ . Daily 7AM-11PM.
- 9 Urban Valet Dry Cleaners, 620 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ . M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM.
- 10 Village Laundry, 785 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Daily 8AM-11PM.
Places of worship
Much like Allentown and the Delaware District, white Protestant churches predominate among the relatively modest range of places of worship in the Elmwood Village. Perhaps appropriately, far more of these houses of worship can be found on the peaceful, leafy, and dignified Richmond Avenue, rather than the crowded, boisterous Elmwood Avenue.
Shockingly given Buffalo's traditional religious demographics, there is not a single proper Catholic church in the entire district. The nearest one, Blessed Sacrament, is located in the Delaware District.
- 11 Newman Center Chapel, 1219 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ . Mass Su 9:30 AM (all year) & 11:30AM (Sep-May), Th 6PM (Sep-May). The home of Buffalo State College's Catholic Campus Ministry, the Newman Center Chapel is located across the street from the college and adjacent to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Services are open to students and visitors alike.
- 12 First Presbyterian Church, 1 Symphony Cir. (Metro Bus 7 or 22), ☎ . Services Su 11:15AM. The name of this church, as well as its nickname, the "Mother of All Churches", is literal — founded in 1812, this is the oldest religious congregation of any denomination in Buffalo. Since 1891, the members of First Presbyterian have worshiped in a sandstone church on Symphony Circle designed by the eminent local firm of Green & Wicks, which contains several Tiffany stained-glass windows and which once counted Teddy Roosevelt among its worshipers.
- 13 Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, 875 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ . Services Su 10AM & 6PM. Founded in 1832 as the First Free Congregational Church (so named because, unlike the First Presbyterian Church from which the parishioners had split, the church had an open seating plan, rather than charging high rents for the best pews), this congregation was later renamed Lafayette Presbyterian Church for its original location on Lafayette Square downtown. In turn, the church gave its name to Lafayette Avenue, at whose intersection with Elmwood Avenue its current red sandstone, Richardsonian Romanesque church, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1891. Today, Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church prides itself on being a welcoming and supportive, yet challenging, community, open to people of all incomes, races, sexual orientations, and other factors — a mindset exemplified by the slogan, "We love you the way you are, but we might not leave you that way."
- 14 Pilgrim-St. Luke's United Church of Christ, 335 Richmond Ave. (Metro Bus 7 or 12), ☎ . English-language services Su 10:45AM except 1st week of each month, Sep-May; "El Nuevo Camino" Spanish-language services Su 9AM except 1st week of each month, Sep-May; bilingual services first Su of each month 10:45AM, otherwise 10AM Jun-Aug. Founded in 1968 as a merger of Pilgrim Congregational Church and St. Luke's German Evangelical Church, Pilgrim-St. Luke's stands at the former location of the Hope Chapel, which had served the spiritual needs of the Elmwood Village since its days as the rural hamlet of Shingletown. Today, Pilgrim-St. Luke's vitality comes largely from its focus on social engagement with the community. Also, like many Elmwood Village congregations, there is an enthusiastic embrace of diversity here; Pilgrim-St. Luke's distinguishes itself in this regard with the accommodations it offers to visually-, hearing-, and mobility-impaired parishioners, as well as El Nuevo Camino, the Spanish-language sister congregation it established in the same building to minister to the Latino community of the West Side.
- 15 St. John's-Grace Episcopal Church, 51 Colonial Cir. (Metro Bus 7 or 26), ☎ . Services Su 9:30AM Jun-Aug, Su 8:30AM & 10:30AM Sep-May. St. John's-Grace Episcopal Church is yet another one that was founded as a merger of two earlier congregations whose membership was dwindling in the wake of Buffalo's late-20th-century demographic shift. In this simplistic yet elegant English Gothic Revival church on historic Colonial Circle can be found a vibrant, diverse and inclusive congregation led since 2002 by the Reverend Philip W. Dougharty.
- 16 Symphony Bible Church, 79 Richmond Ave. (Metro Bus 7 or 22), ☎ . Services Su 11AM. Founded in 1949 and located on Richmond Avenue a block north of Symphony Circle (hence its name), this "fundamental, Bible-believing Baptist church" has been headed for almost half a century by Pastor Ron Crane, a Korean War veteran and former Christian radio personality on WDCX who, according to his biography on the church website, "never goes anywhere to preach without his trademark guitar".
- 17 Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, 695 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . Services Su 10:30AM. Though the stout, sprawling English Gothic edifice that it currently occupies was not constructed until 1906, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo has a long and illustrious pedigree: founded in 1831 as the First Unitarian Church and originally located downtown, the congregation counted future U.S. President Millard Fillmore as a charter member; Abraham Lincoln attended a service there in 1861. Today, even among the panoply of liberal-minded Elmwood Village congregations, the dedication of the Unitarian Universalist Church to diversity, compassion, and the social betterment of the local community is remarkable. Visitors — especially children, who are encouraged by the church's website to come dressed in "clothes suitable for play" — are welcomed with open arms at the church services, which conclude with coffee hour in the Parish Hall.
- 18 New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 543 Richmond Ave. (Metro Bus 7 or 12), ☎ . Services Su 10:30AM, W 7PM. Affiliated with the American Baptist Convention, this congregation was founded in 1950 and moved some years later to the former Pilgrim Congregational Church on Richmond Avenue.
- 19 Congregation Beth Abraham, 1073 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ . Services 6:30PM one F per month; check website for schedule. Congregation Beth Abraham is the lone holdout in a neighborhood that once boasted more than its share of synagogues (for example, Temple Beth El, Buffalo's oldest shul, was located for many years on Richmond Avenue). This small but active Conservative congregation worships in a small wood-frame building on Elmwood Avenue that was formerly home to the United Brethren Church, and welcomes visitors of all stripes to their lively monthly services.
If you like your nightlife and cultural attractions served up with a heaping side of historic charm, check out Allentown next. As lively as Elmwood Avenue but a good deal more scaled-down and intimate, the bars and restaurants on hip Allen Street attract an edgier and more artistic crowd than the laid-back Elmwood Village — and the lovely brick Victorian cottages on the cozy side streets are an architecture buff's dream come true.
In recent years, the collegiate vibe that Buffalo State has afforded to the Elmwood Village has also spread westward, breathing new life into the formerly downmarket West Side. Buffalonians in the know will tell you that Grant Street is poised to become Buffalo's next Elmwood, but with a multicultural flair: the Latino community that has long inhabited this vibrant neighborhood has been joined in recent years by diverse immigrant communities from Africa, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere, as well as middle-class "urban pioneers" moving into charming but dilapidated houses and restoring them to their former glory. Further south, the Lower West Side boasts still more Olmsted parks and parkways, a bustling Puerto Rican community centered along Niagara Street, charming brick Victorian cottages to rival those in Allentown — and amazing views over Lake Erie and the Niagara River.
On the far side of Delaware Park, North Buffalo is a part of the city where the pleasures are subtler. The shops and restaurants on Hertel Avenue are pleasant without the pretension of the boutiques on Elmwood, the mansions of Park Meadow and Central Park are elegant without the in-your-face ostentation of Lincoln Parkway, and the college dives in University Heights are lively without the crowds of the ones near Buffalo State.