Perhaps North Buffalo doesn't have the immediate cachet of other parts of the city. The clothing boutiques on Hertel stock fashions that may not be as up-to-the-minute as the ones in the Elmwood Village. The bars are more likely to be populated by neighborhood regulars than the cooler-than-thou hipsters you'll find in Allentown. But that's okay. More so than perhaps any other area of Buffalo, regular folks can spend a whole day shopping here and they won't experience condescension — they'll meet friendly, outgoing shopkeepers genuinely glad to see them. Budget-conscious travelers can eat well in North Buffalo's restaurants without being bowled over when they see the bill.
But North Buffalo is much more than shopping, dining, and nightlife. North Buffalo is architecture — Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin House in Parkside, and the mansions in Park Meadow and Central Park, will have you ooh-ing and aah-ing. North Buffalo is art — Hertel Avenue has more than its share of galleries tucked among the shops and restaurants, and the UB Anderson Gallery is truly one of the city's unknown treasures. And North Buffalo is culture — with not one but two colleges and universities adding their flavors to the mix, Erie County's most-visited tourist attraction (the Buffalo Zoo), and a growing theater scene.
Speaking of culture, North Buffalo is, in particular, Italian-American culture. Hertel Avenue, which has recently been officially decreed as Buffalo's Little Italy, is heaven for fans of pasta with red sauce, pizza, and fine wines. And if you're looking for a delightfully gaudy little tchotchke to send home to Nona, this is your place.
North Buffalo comprises a number of distinct neighborhoods. As described above, the stretch of 1 Hertel Avenue between Delaware and roughly Parker Avenues boasts some of the city's best restaurants as well as a growing range of shops and art galleries. As you head west from there, you pass a series of suburban-style strip malls lining Delaware and Elmwood Avenues, and then you come into 2 West Hertel, a quiet, off-the-beaten-path area where working-class apartments and industrial warehouses coexist. Elsewhere, 3 University Heights is centered along Main Street at Buffalo's far northeast corner, dominated by the University of Buffalo at its outer end and a small but lively collection of restaurants, bars and shops catering to a diverse student population. Southwest of University Heights adjacent to Main Street are a trio of quiet, pleasant residential neighborhoods: from north to south, 4 Central Park, where some of Buffalo's most palatial mansions can be found, the 5 Vernon Triangle, a tiny enclave bounded by Amherst Street, Main Street, and the Belt Line railroad tracks, and 6 Parkside, a leafy neighborhood of curvilinear streets designed by eminent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted also designed 7 Park Meadow, an upscale residential area west of Parkside, sandwiched between Amherst Street and Delaware Park.
North Buffalo's location further from downtown than any other part of the city, as well as its poorly drained topography, conspired to make it the last part of Buffalo to urbanize. Being located at the foot of the Onondaga Escarpment in what was once the bed of a glacial lake, the marshy land of North Buffalo — or the Buffalo Plains, as the area was called in the early days — made it far less suitable for agriculture than the ground above that low ridge of flint. Cornelius Creek, which roughly followed the course of today's Hertel Avenue from its headwaters near what is today the corner of Parkside Avenue, traversed North Buffalo until sometime in the 1880s, when it was buried as part of the city's storm drain system. An outpost of civilization in this wilderness was the Great Iroquois Trail (today's Main Street), which was an important thoroughfare between Buffalo and points east such as Williamsville and Clarence Hollow that ran along the crest of the escarpment. Like the aforementioned hamlets, the farmsteads along that road played an important role in the War of 1812 as refuges for residents of Buffalo and Black Rock which were burned by the British in December 1813, and, in the case of Dr. Daniel Chapin's farm in what is now Parkside, as the site of the Flint Hill Encampment, where the Army of the Frontier under General Alexander Smythe spent that same winter. However, even as the city to its south grew astronomically, North Buffalo remained a rural backwater even well after 1868, the year Frederick Law Olmsted laid out the centerpiece of Buffalo's park system, Delaware Park, on land just south of here.
It was the construction of the New York Central Railroad's Belt Line in 1882 — a 15-mile (24 km) loop intended to enable residents of Buffalo's outskirts to commute to jobs downtown — that spurred the beginning of urbanization in North Buffalo. As early as 1876, Frederick Law Olmsted had planned to follow up the success of Delaware Park with a development he called Parkside, a verdant residential neighborhood adjacent to the park that would serve as a buffer between the pastoral park system and the bustle and congestion of the city. Now, with the construction of the railroad having driven up property values, construction of Parkside could begin in earnest. By the turn of the century, the ample houses of Parkside were occupied by a growing number of Buffalo's richest citizens — including Larkin Soap Company executive Darwin D. Martin, who moved into a substantial home on Jewett Parkway designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Immediately north of Parkside, across the tracks of the Belt Line, local business magnate Lewis Bennett had success with Central Park, a similarly upscale neighborhood situated on his former estate that he developed beginning in 1890; further west, the first houses and streets began appearing in what is now West Hertel, just northeast of the corner of Hertel Avenue and Military Road.
It was not until after 1900, however, that the development of North Buffalo came to full fruition. Despite the success of Parkside and Central Park, when the Pan-American Exposition was held in 1901, the remainder of North Buffalo was still sparsely populated farmland. However, the presence of visitors who came by the tens of thousands to the Exposition — many of whom arrived there via the Belt Line — spurred real estate speculators to buy up farmland in preparation for the inevitable rush of new residents. The Pan-American Exposition, a World's Fair that was intended to show off Buffalo's industrial might, was held on a parcel of vacant land north of Delaware Park that Olmsted had earlier planned as a future western extension of Parkside. Afterward, beginning about 1920, the luxurious neighborhood known today as Park Meadow was laid out on the former Exposition grounds.
Elsewhere in North Buffalo, the University of Buffalo purchased the 153-acre (61ha) site of the former Erie County Alms House in the far northeast corner of the city in 1912, moving its rapidly growing campus there from downtown and setting off a similar land rush in what is now University Heights. Hertel Avenue, for its part, was becoming the neighborhood of choice for Buffalo's Jewish community — mainly Orthodox Jews from Russia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe — who were gradually being displaced from their traditional homes on the Near East Side and in Hamlin Park by a growing African-American population.
World War II saw the last remaining bits of empty land in the city — including the area between Elmwood and Delaware Avenues north of the Belt Line, much of West Hertel, and along the south side of Kenmore Avenue west of Elmwood — eaten up with the construction of wartime factories (including the former Bell Aircraft plant which still stands behind the Home Depot on Elmwood Avenue) and hastily-built housing for returning GIs. However, after the war, Buffalo, like many cities in the so-called Rust Belt, saw its formerly steady growth stagnate and decline. These were certainly trying times for North Buffalo; for instance, for the first time in its history the formerly posh neighborhood of Parkside found itself grappling with social issues such as slumlords and vacant buildings, which led to the foundation of the Parkside Community Association in 1963. But, by and large, North Buffalo was able to hang on better than other areas of the city. Aside from the construction of the Scajaquada Expressway in 1962 through verdant Delaware Park, the urban renewal that wrought havoc on other areas of the city left North Buffalo mostly unscathed — enabling the addition of the Parkside East Historic District and the Parkside West Historic District (i.e. Park Meadow) to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Meanwhile, the stabilizing presence of UB and its large and diverse student population did much to insulate University Heights from the ghettoization that ravaged adjacent East Side neighborhoods such as Kensington-Bailey and Kensington Heights in the 1960s and '70s.
Perhaps the greatest change to take place in North Buffalo at this time, however, was the gradual transition of Hertel Avenue's ethnic character from Jewish to Italian, as the former group took up residence in the suburbs (principally Amherst) and the humble but friendly old Italian enclaves of the Lower West Side fell to the wrecking ball as part of a misguided urban renewal program, leaving their residents in search of a new home. This new identity for Hertel Avenue was formalized in 2011, when the city government erected signs proudly proclaiming the neighborhood as Buffalo's official Little Italy. Indeed, Buffalo's modest renaissance that began at the dawn of the 21st Century saw Hertel Avenue emerge as a lively strip of shops, restaurants and galleries to rival the Elmwood Village.
The Parkside Community Association maintains a website that contains neighborhood news and event listings, and — most notably by far — is an extremely comprehensive resource for information about Parkside's rich history, with an extensive written history of the neighborhood spanning the 18th Century to the present day, descriptions of many old houses and historic sites on its leafy streets, historic maps, and a myriad of other resources.
Though it's a privately owned website unaffiliated with the Hertel-North Buffalo Business Association or any other "official" neighborhood group, hertelavenue.com is a resource for visitors to Hertel Avenue, featuring business listings, a map, and event information.
The University Heights Collaborative's website contains information on restaurants, nightlife, community happenings, and other items of interest to those visiting University Heights.
Get in and around
The Scajaquada Expressway (NY 198) is a short highway that passes through North Buffalo, extending between the Kensington Expressway on the East Side and Interstate 190 in Black Rock. The Scajaquada passes through the south end of Parkside and traverses Delaware Park, after which point it enters the West Side. Interchanges at Main Street and Parkside Avenue provide access to Parkside, Central Park, the Vernon Triangle, and (further afield) University Heights, while Hertel Avenue and Park Meadow are best accessible via the northbound Delaware Avenue and Elmwood Avenue exits.
Hertel Avenue can be almost inarguably considered the "main drag" of North Buffalo, passing from west to east through the heart of Buffalo's "Little Italy" and ending at Main Street just past the south end of University Heights. In addition, Kenmore Avenue straddles Buffalo's northern border with the suburban communities of Tonawanda and Kenmore, and Amherst Street passes through the residential areas of Parkside, Central Park, and Park Meadow, at the southern edge of North Buffalo. Major north-south routes in North Buffalo include, from west to east: Military Road (NY 265), Elmwood Avenue, Delaware Avenue (NY 384), Colvin Avenue, Parkside Avenue, Starin Avenue, and Main Street (NY 5).
In the Hertel Avenue business district, parking can be hard to come by on Hertel itself as well as on side streets within a block or so of the main drag. Parking meters are in place on Hertel along essentially the entire length of the business district (from Wallace to Virgil Avenues); paid parking is in effect Monday through Saturday until 5PM, at a rate of 50¢ per hour up to a maximum of two hours. The two free parking lots provided by the Hertel-North Buffalo Business Association are often your best bet for parking on the Hertel strip. These lots are located, respectively, next to Terrapin Station near the corner of Virgil Avenue, and next to Hertel Avenue Poutine and Cream near the corner of Sterling Avenue.
Though finding a spot in the University Heights business district can be difficult, parking along Main Street between LaSalle and University Avenues is free (though limited to two hours). On-street parking on Main Street north of University Avenue is prohibited, but most businesses at the outer extremity of University Heights have their own parking lots, so this shouldn't pose too much of a problem. There are also three free parking lots on the north side of Main Street: at West Winspear Avenue behind the Mobil gas station, at Heath Street behind the 1 Gloria J. Parks Community Center (this one is closed to the public during the community center's business hours), and at Englewood Avenue adjacent to the former P. J. Bottoms. Parking in these lots is limited to two hours. Perhaps your best bet for parking in University Heights, however, are the large, free NFTA Park-and-Ride lots at the University and LaSalle rail stations — see the By Metro Rail section below.
In Parkside, Central Park, Park Meadow, West Hertel, and elsewhere in North Buffalo, on-street parking is free and plentiful.
Members of the Zipcar car-sharing program have access to five vehicles located on UB South Campus. In the Main-Bailey Lot located adjacent to 3 Goodyear Hall there's a Ford Focus ($7.50/hr or $69/day M-Th, $8.50/hr or $77/day F-Su) and a Honda Civic ($8.50/hr or $69/day M-Th, $9.50/hr or $77/day F-Su), and in the Townsend Lot next to 4 Hayes Hall there's a Mazda 3 ($8.50/hr or $69/day M-Th, $9.50/hr or $77/day F-Su), a Ford Fiesta ($7.50/hr or $69/day M-Th, $8.50/hr or $77/day F-Su), and another Honda Civic (same price as the one at Goodyear Hall). 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.
North Buffalo is traversed by a number of NFTA Metro bus routes:
To and from downtown
NFTA Metro Bus #3 — Grant. Beginning at the city line at the corner of Kenmore Avenue and Military Road, Bus #3 proceeds westward down Kenmore Avenue through Riverside, re-entering North Buffalo at the corner of Military Road and Skillen Street and continuing southward down Military Road through West Hertel, ending downtown.
NFTA Metro Bus #5 — Niagara-Kenmore. Beginning at the University Metro Rail Station, Bus #5 proceeds westward down Kenmore Avenue, then entering Black Rock and continuing through the West Side via Niagara Street, finally ending downtown.
NFTA Metro Bus #8 — Main. Beginning at the University Metro Rail Station, Bus #8 proceeds down Main Street along the east edge of the district, through University Heights, Central Park, the Vernon Triangle, and Parkside (with service to all Metro Rail stations in the district), ending downtown.
NFTA Metro Bus #11 — Colvin. Beginning in Tonawanda, Bus #11 proceeds down Colvin Avenue through North Buffalo, then turns west at Hertel Avenue. Turning south again on Delaware Avenue, the bus passes through Park Meadow with service to Delaware Park before ending its run downtown.
NFTA Metro Bus #20 — Elmwood. Beginning in Tonawanda, Bus #20 proceeds down Elmwood Avenue through North Buffalo, with access to the Regal Elmwood Center and Tops shopping plazas, and ends downtown.
NFTA Metro Bus #25 — Delaware. Beginning in Tonawanda, Bus #25 proceeds down Delaware Avenue through North Buffalo. The bus passes the Delaware Consumer Square (Target) and Delaware Place shopping plazas, then proceeds perpendicularly across the Hertel Avenue corridor, through Park Meadow, and past Delaware Park, ending downtown.
NFTA Metro Bus #23 — Fillmore-Hertel. Beginning at the Black Rock-Riverside Transit Hub, Bus #23 proceeds eastward along Hertel Avenue to Main Street, where it turns south and accesses the Amherst Street Metro Rail Station. The bus then enters the East Side via Fillmore Avenue and ends in South Buffalo.
NFTA Metro Bus #32 — Amherst. Beginning at the Black Rock-Riverside Transit Hub, Bus #32 proceeds along Amherst Street, detouring briefly into the Elmwood Village via Elmwood Avenue, with service to Buffalo State College and the Museum District. After returning to Amherst Street, Bus #32 proceeds eastward through Park Meadow, Parkside, Central Park, and the Vernon Triangle, then passes the Amherst Street Metro Rail Station and proceeds further eastward into the East Side, ending at the Thruway Mall Transit Center in Cheektowaga.
By Metro Rail
The Metro Rail is an LRRT line that extends along Main Street from the University at Buffalo's South Campus southward to downtown, along the eastern border of North Buffalo. The Metro Rail serves as the backbone of Buffalo's public transit system, accessed directly by many bus routes. Like the buses, the fare for the Metro Rail is $2.00 ($4.00 round-trip); the $5.00 all-day passes available on Metro buses are also valid for the Metro Rail.
There are four Metro Rail stations located in North Buffalo. From north to south, they are:
- 1 University Station — Main Street at UB South Campus (University Heights).
- 2 LaSalle Station — Main Street at LaSalle Avenue (University Heights).
- 3 Amherst Street Station — Main Street at Amherst Street (Central Park/Vernon Triangle).
- 4 Humboldt-Hospital Station — Main Street at Humboldt Parkway (Parkside).
It bears mentioning that the University Station is a major node in Buffalo's public transportation network, served directly by no fewer than eleven bus routes, as well as the subway. In particular, anyone travelling on public transit from Buffalo to one of its northern suburbs, such as Tonawanda or Amherst, will very likely have to transfer at the University Station.
Also, the NFTA operates a large 600-space 5 Park & Ride lot on Main Street, adjacent to the University Station, and an even larger (and generally much less crowded) 800-space 6 Park & Ride lot behind the LaSalle Station. Parking in these lots is free, and they're great for people whose hotel may be located in the aforementioned northern suburbs but would like to visit North Buffalo (or anywhere else the Metro Rail goes). Users of the University Park-and-Ride in particular should ensure that they are parked in the correct place — the Park-and-Ride lot is surrounded by a number of other lots that are reserved for students and faculty of UB, and campus police will not hesitate to ticket cars without parking passes parked in reserved spaces.
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. Sadly, the bicycle infrastructure in North Buffalo is relatively underdeveloped compared to other parts of the city, and especially compared to other upscale neighborhoods such as the Elmwood Village and Allentown. However, this is not to say that North Buffalo is not a thoroughly enjoyable place to see by bike — the safe, quiet, and leafy streets of Park Meadow, Parkside, and Central Park are a cyclist's dream come true, with magnificent scenery to admire on the way to one's destination courtesy of the grandiose and architecturally distinguished housing stock of those areas.
What specialized bike infrastructure there is in North Buffalo is largely centered around Delaware Park. Meadow Drive, the 1.8-mile (2.9 km) ring road that circumnavigates the Delaware Park Golf Course and passes within view of the Buffalo Zoo and the some of the grand old mansions of Park Meadow, is delightful for walkers, joggers and bicyclists alike. Though 1.1 miles (1.7 km) of Meadow Drive — from Agassiz Circle to Meadow Road — is also open to automobile traffic, traffic is generally quite light and speed limits for cars are very low (15 mph, or 24 km/h) and enforced strictly. Additionally, the Scajaquada Creekside Trail, also known as the Jesse Kregal Bike Path, begins in Park Meadow 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 and the Buffalo History Museum on its way into the West Side, where it ends at the Shoreline Trail in Black Rock. And in Park Meadow, there is a pair of protected bike lanes along each side of Lincoln Parkway leading north from Delaware Park, between Nottingham Terrace and Amherst Street.
Away from Delaware Park, University Heights boasts North Buffalo Rails-to-Trails, a network of paved multi-use trails, 1.4 miles (2.2km) in total length, straddling the former Erie Railroad right-of-way. The main branch begins at Main Street between Aldi and the Park & Ride lot at LaSalle Metro Rail Station and runs through the 7 Minnesota Linear Park, while the other one begins at Shoshone Park and extends along the other side of the embankment in a parallel trajectory. These two branches, along with a short spur west to Taunton Place, converge at the north end of the Linear Park, and the route continues further northwest to the city line at Kenmore Avenue, where the newly opened Tonawanda Rails-to-Trails provides a link with the Erie Canalway Trail. The entirety of the network is open to cyclists, joggers, and pedestrians, but separate bike lanes are delineated between Main Street and Custer Street.
GO Bike Buffalo, the local organization that promotes and advocates for cycling and other sustainable transportation alternatives in Buffalo, operates a 5 Community Bicycle Workshop at 98 Colvin Ave in Park Meadow. There, a range of used bicycle parts and complete refurbished bikes are available for sale, as well as special programs periodically throughout the year; unwanted bicycles can also be donated (tax-deductible). The Community Bicycle Workshop is open Tu 6PM-9PM and Su 1PM-5PM, and also Th 6PM-9PM during summer only.
North Buffalo has three Reddy Bikeshare racks:
- on the north side of Hertel Avenue between North Park and Norwalk Avenues, in front of the North Park Theatre
- on the north side of Hertel Avenue at the corner of Parker Avenue, in front of the Daily Planet Coffee Company
- adjacent to Delaware Park, in the back of the parking lot of St. George Orthodox Church at the corner of Amherst Street and Nottingham Terrace
You might also find some Reddy bikes on the South Campus of UB — specifically, at Main Circle behind University Metro Rail Station or in the area of Goodyear Road in front of Goodyear and Clement Halls, which are free parking zones where Reddy bikes can be returned to any public bike rack without incurring the $2 fee for parking outside of a hub.
Being a more spread-out area with attractions often spaced a good distance from each other, North Buffalo is relatively less amenable to pedestrians than other upscale Buffalo neighborhoods such as the Elmwood Village and Allentown. Exceptions include Hertel Avenue and Main Street in University Heights, both boasting dense and lively concentrations of shops, bars, restaurants, and other attractions. Also, the safe, verdant streets of Parkside, Park Meadow and Central Park are pleasant places for a leisurely stroll.
- 1 Nichols School Gallery, 1250 Amherst St. (Metro Bus 32), ☎ . Hours vary. Located in the foyer of the Glenn & Audrey Flickinger Performing Arts Center on the campus of one of Buffalo's foremost private prep schools, the focus here is on works in a wide range of media by local artists (especially current Nichols students and alumni, much of whose work is displayed at the adjacent SEEARTRUN Gallery) or whose themes are relevant to Buffalo, Western New York, or the surrounding region. The Nichols School Gallery also hosts a range of travelling exhibits, workshops and visiting artist lectures. Free.
- 2 Revolution Gallery, 1419 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Th noon-6PM, F-Sa noon-8PM, Su 11AM-4PM. A longtime fixture in the Buffalo arts community whose untitled illustration graced the inaugural issue of The Public, Craig LaRotonda opened Revolution Gallery in December 2016 along with his wife, fellow artist Maria Pabico LaRotonda, after a successful Kickstarter campaign. LaRotonda's own style is a sort of noir surrealism, and that's the aesthetic he's going for with this gallery — to borrow the words of the website, the emphasis is on works by local artists (including, of course, the LaRotondas themselves) that are "provocative and imbued with dark beauty, emotion, and mystery" and are executed in a variety of media: drawings, paintings, photography, and sculpture but also handmade jewelry and postcard prints offered for sale. As well, Revolution Gallery augments their permanent collection with a regularly scheduled slate of temporary and travelling exhibitions by local, national, and international artists including their inaugural one, Inception: a multimedia exhibit of work by artist Damien Echols, famous as one of the exonerated "West Memphis Three" falsely convicted of murder in 1994. Free.
- 3 St. Andrew's Sculpture Garden, 3107 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle). Opening hours vary bu exhibition. The Buffalo arts community first took notice of the once-forlorn empty lot behind St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in University Heights in 2013, when it was pressed into use as a staging area for the University Heights Art Crawl. Owned now by the University Heights Art Association — the community group that's behind that annual event as well as many of the outdoor murals you'll find on area buildings — the space has been transformed into a beautifully landscaped, intimately scaled outdoor garden centered on a stone-paved courtyard of ten platforms where sculptures and other works of three-dimensional art are displayed on a changing basis. St. Andrew's Sculpture Garden is open for temporary exhibitions as well as poetry readings, live music performances, and other events. Free.
- 4 UB Anderson Gallery, 1 Martha Jackson Pl. (Metro Bus 5 or 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . W-Sa 11AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. The home of the University of Buffalo's permanent art collection, the Anderson Gallery was donated to UB in 2000 by David Anderson, the son of prominent New York City gallery owner Martha Jackson and a noted art collector in his own right; before that, Jackson had operated the gallery on his own since 1991. This state-of-the-art exhibition space contains selections from a collection of over 1,200 works of art in various media that represent a diversity of cultures and traditions, including many works by local artists. The UB Anderson Gallery also houses the complete archives of the Martha Jackson Gallery, covering the years 1952-1969, and of pop artist and UB alumnus Allen D'Arcangelo. An exciting selection of temporary and traveling exhibits are also displayed at the UB Anderson Gallery. Free.
- 5 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 Park Meadow, 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.
- 6 UB Museum of Neuroanatomy, 360 Biomedical Education Building, UB South Campus, 3435 Main St. (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . Open for guided tours by appointment. Otherwise known simply as the "Brain Museum", the UB Medical School's Museum of Neuroanatomy is the only one in the United States dedicated exclusively to the human brain. Since 1994, this unique collection has comprised over 80 of these organs preserved in formaldehyde — both healthy specimens whose internal structures, such as the cerebellum and hippocampus, are clearly displayed and labeled, as well as pathological specimens showing the effects of Alzheimer's disease, aneurysms, and other maladies on the anatomy of the brain. Exhibits are engagingly designed and accessible to everyone from the layman to the academic. Free.
- 7 Delaware Park, Parkside Lodge, 84 Parkside Ave. (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 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. Delaware Park is also the site of the Buffalo Zoo, described in more detail below.
- 8 Buffalo Zoo, 300 Parkside Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 32), ☎ . Summer: Sa-Th 10AM-5PM, F 10AM-7:30PM Winter: Daily 10AM-4PM. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Buffalo Zoo is the third-oldest zoo in the United States (founded in 1875 on the former site of the Deer Paddock at Delaware Park) and is second in popularity only to Niagara Falls among tourist attractions in the Niagara Frontier, welcoming 400,000 visitors each year. The 23-acre (9.5ha) Zoo boasts exciting thematic displays that play host to 1,200 different animals, such as elephants, bears, otters, sea lions, hyenas, and of course, bison. Some of the animals, such as a resident peacock, are allowed to roam freely on the walkways, allowing visitors to get closer to nature than they would in most zoos. In 2002, a new Master Plan was unveiled that will see the Zoo thoroughly modernized over the next 15 years. Under this framework, the Vanishing Animals, EcoStation, Otter Creek, Sea Lion Cove and South African Rainforest exhibits have already opened, with a new Children's Zoo and other exhibits slated for the near future. $10, students and seniors $8, children 2-14 $7, children under 2 free. Parking $3.50. Train and carousel rides $2.
- 9 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. These include:
- 10 The Indian Hunter (Located next to first tee of Delaware Park Golf Course, adjacent to Meadow Drive; Metro Bus 8 or 32; Metro Rail: Humboldt-Hospital). A bronze figure of a boy in American Indian garb crouching over next to his dog, bow and arrow in hand, The Indian Hunter is a replica of the statue of the same name that's on display in New York City's Central Park. According to the plaque on its pink granite pedestal, Buffalo's Indian Hunter was donated to the city in 1926 by Ella Spencer Darr in memory of her husband Marcus. The original sculpture is the work of artist John Quincy Adams Ward, and was cast in 1866.
- 11 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Located adjacent to Hoyt Lake and Scajaquada Creekside Trail near Buffalo History Museum; Metro Bus 20 or 32). The first installation of public art to be placed in Delaware Park and one of the first in the entire city, this 4-foot (1.2m) bronze bust of the most prolific, prodigious and influential composer of the Classical era was sculpted by Olin H. Warner for the Buffalo Liedertafel — a fact that bears testament to the profound importance of the German-American community in Buffalo's history, who made up more than half of the city's population when the statue was dedicated in 1894. The statue's pink granite base contains a number of bronze plaques inscribed with biographical facts about Mozart's life, the titles of some of his important works, and honorifics. Today, Mozart serenely overlooks Hoyt Lake from a spot near the Buffalo History Museum.
- Though Delaware Park is far from the only Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park in Buffalo, by comparison with other areas of the city North Buffalo is sadly lacking in green space. Though all of Buffalo is crisscrossed by Olmsted's park and parkway system, only one of those parkways — the northern extension of Lincoln Parkway through Park Meadow, between Nottingham Terrace and Great Arrow Avenue — passes through North Buffalo. In fact, it's arguable whether this portion of Lincoln can really be considered a "parkway" in the Olmstedian sense: though his plans for the neighborhood did include Lincoln Parkway, as actually constructed the street's ambience is much less open and pastoral than true Olmsted parkways like Chapin and Bidwell, and the setback between houses and street is not nearly as great. 12 Shoshone Park is the only other park in North Buffalo of any note; situated on 16.5 acres (6.6ha) of land at the east end of Hertel Avenue about midway between Little Italy and University Heights, Shoshone Park boasts six baseball diamonds, a playground, and a swimming pool.
More and more, Buffalo's exquisite and well-preserved architecture has grabbed the attention of locals and tourists alike. As of June 2017, there are 12 historic neighborhoods in Buffalo listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as eight additional ones that have been granted landmark status by the Buffalo Preservation Board. Three of those districts are located in North Buffalo:
- The Parkside East Historic District. Bounded by Main Street on its southeast, Humboldt Parkway on its south, Parkside Avenue, Amherst Street and Colvin Avenue on its west, and the Belt Line railroad on its north and northeast, this district comprises pretty much the entirety of the neighborhood Buffalonians know simply as "Parkside". Though located within the city limits, Parkside was one of the first neighborhoods of Buffalo that might be called "suburban"; its architectural significance comes not only from the leafy, curvilinear layout of its streets — as described in the History section, the work of eminent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted — but also from the large two- and three-story wood-frame houses that occupy those streets, constructed in styles typical of upper-class residential architecture from 1870 through 1930 such as the Queen Anne, Bungalow, Craftsman, and Colonial Revival styles. Prominent among the historic and/or architecturally notable buildings of Parkside include the William Sydney Wicks House at 124 Jewett Parkway, the Walter V. Davidson House at 57 Tillinghast Place, and — of course — the Darwin D. Martin House, described in detail at the end of this section.
- The Parkside West Historic District. Though it's located in the neighborhood Buffalonians know as Park Meadow, this district is so named because it was originally intended by Frederick Law Olmsted as a western extension to Parkside. The neighborhood is much newer than Parkside — no meaningful development occurred there until after the Pan-American Exposition, with most houses in the area constructed between 1920 and the beginning of World War II — and the degree to which the motley patchwork of real estate companies that developed the neighborhood kept to Olmsted's original plan is inconsistent (especially the further you get from Delaware Park). Thus, the Parkside West Historic District is not nearly as significant for its landscape design as for the architecture of the buildings themselves — the neighborhood is a veritable showcase for some of Buffalo's best examples of aristocratic mansions in styles popular during the interwar period, such as the French Château, Tudorbethan, and Colonial Revival. These include the Howard Kellogg House at 12 Middlesex Road, the Mary Goodyear House at 115 Meadow Road, and the breathtaking Annie Lang Miller House at 175 Nottingham Terrace.
- The 13 University Park Historic District. Located on 45 acres (18 ha) of land in University Heights, bounded roughly by Main Street, Capen Boulevard, Kenmore Avenue, and the rear property line of the houses on the west side of University Avenue, University Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011 as part of the Suburban Development of Buffalo, New York multiple-property submission - and it is indeed distinctly suburban in character; a remarkably intact example of a planned residential subdivision of the 1910s and '20s, complete with ornate entrance gates of the same type that can be found along Main Street in the adjacent early suburbs of Eggertsville and Snyder. The attraction of University Park for architecture buffs is not the presence of any outstanding individual buildings (though the Edward Diebolt House at 62 Niagara Falls Boulevard was listed separately on the National Register in 2006), but rather the leafy, verdant streetscape, designed as a quiet respite from the bustle of city life, as well as the homogeneity of its housing stock, which consists of single-family Colonial Revival, Craftsman, American Foursquare, and Bungalow homes which, though stylistically similar, are somewhat less ornate and more modest in size than the houses of Parkside.
Additionally, though it is not listed on either the local, state or national historic registers, another neighborhood that's noteworthy for aficionados of history and architecture is 14 Central Park. This neighborhood immediately north of Parkside, across the Belt Line tracks, was laid out beginning in 1890 by Lewis Bennett, who worked his way up from canal boat repairman to owner of the immense Bennett Limestone Quarry, which was located just across Main Street in the East Side neighborhood now known as Highland Park, Central Park's streets are filled with some of the finest housing stock in Buffalo. Examples include the Bayliss-Oishei House at 360 Depew Avenue, the old Central Park Station, the only former station of the Belt Line railroad still standing, at 10 Starin Avenue, and the Edward Barcalo House at 371 Depew Avenue (yes, the man who invented the Barcalounger).
Parkside is also the home of what is undoubtedly the premier attraction in Buffalo for architecture buffs:
- 15 Darwin D. Martin House Complex, 125 Jewett Pkwy. (Metro Bus 8 or 11; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ . Basic Tours leave M, W, F & Sa 11AM, 12PM, & 1PM, Su 12:30PM, 1PM & 1:30PM; In-Depth Tours leave M, W, F & Sa 11AM & Su 12:30PM. The most important work of the first half of Frank Lloyd Wright's career, and the first commission for that renowned architect outside of Chicago, the Darwin D. Martin Complex is one of the crown jewels of Buffalo's huge architectural cornucopia. The complex includes not only the Darwin D. Martin House itself — built in 1904-05 for the president of the Larkin Soap Company and Wright's longtime friend and benefactor — but also the George Barton House, where Martin's daughter and son-in-law lived, the Gardener's Cottage, and three buildings — a carriage house, conservatory and pergola — which were demolished in 1962 and recently reconstructed according to Wright's original blueprints, the first Frank Lloyd Wright buildings ever to be rebuilt after demolition. Following over half a century of neglect, vandalism, and decay, the complex was purchased by the Martin House Restoration Corporation in 1994, with the extensive restoration process finally completed in 2010. For many local residents, the rebirth of the Darwin D. Martin House symbolizes the increased attention Buffalo's citizens are paying to their city's world-class architecture. A one-hour Basic Tour is offered, as well as a more extensive two-hour In-Depth Tour. Basic tour $15, $13 seniors, $10 students, members free; In-Depth Tours $30, $28 seniors, $25 students and members.
The Darwin Martin House is not the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house in North Buffalo. Another one, the 16 Walter V. Davidson House, can also be found in Parkside. Located at 57 Tillinghast Place in the northwest extremity of the neighborhood, the Davidson House was designed for its namesake, who was an executive at the Larkin Company between 1906 and 1913, thereafter founding the Davidson Shoe Company. Though it's noticeably smaller and more unassuming than the Darwin Martin House — the smaller budget Wright worked with in constructing the Davidson House was perhaps a forerunner of the "Usonian" houses he designed for middle-class clients toward the end of his career — its modest scale belies a stunning two-story living room dominated by a massive bay window at its east end. Sadly, the Walter Davidson House is privately owned and not open for tours.
Festivals and events
- Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival. Buffalo's Cherry Blossom Festival serves as both a tribute to the city's sister-city relationship with Kanazawa, Japan, as well as a fundraiser for the continuing upkeep of Delaware Park's Japanese Garden. This weeklong festival usually takes place about three weeks after its much more famous counterpart in Washington, D.C., with peak bloom in early to mid-May. In between admiring the lovely trees, you can also catch live music, take a boat ride on Mirror Lake, and — especially — take a taste of Japanese culture with bunraku puppet theater performances and a traditional tea ceremony on the portico of the Buffalo History Museum. Expanding their scope far beyond the Japanese Garden, the Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival's organizers also sponsor cherry tree plantings all over the city, and will even sell you one to plant in your own yard.
- * 1 Delaware Park Golf Course, 84 Parkside Ave. (Metro Bus 8, 11, 25 or 32; Metro Rail: Humboldt-Hospital), ☎ . Opened in 1930 on the site of Delaware Park's Meadow, the Delaware Park Golf Course is arguably the most popular golf course in the city. Golfers can enjoy playing a full 18-hole game in a beautifully landscaped environment; the course is par 68 and its longest tees have a yardage of 5,359 yards. The 2 Parkside Lodge is a lovely 1914 Craftsman-style building that houses a snack bar and the course's pro shop. Weekend green fees $15.00.
- 3 Grover Cleveland Golf Course, 3781 Main St. (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . Located at the far northeast corner of the city, across Bailey Avenue from UB's South Campus, this 18-hole, par 69 course is not only one of Western New's most challenging, but also one of its most historic: as the home of the Country Club of Buffalo from 1900 until its move to the suburb of Williamsville in 1925, the course was the site of the first airplane flight in Western New York, which took off from here in 1910, played host to the 1912 U.S. Open, and contains on its premises the 17 Schenck House, the second-oldest extant building in the city (built in 1822, four years after the Coit House in Allentown), now used for storage and office space. The Grover Cleveland Golf Course boasts a practice green, men's and ladies' locker rooms, and a clubhouse and concession stand. During winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing is permitted from 7AM-dusk. $16, $18 weekends and holidays, $11 seniors and youths (weekdays only, proof of age required), cart rental $24, club rental $10.
- 4 North Buffalo Ice Rink, 156 Tacoma Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . Open skate M & Th 11AM-1PM, Tu-W 4:30PM-6PM, F & Su 7PM-9PM, Sa 5:30PM-6:30PM (Sep-Mar); M-Th 3PM-5PM, F 8PM-9PM, Sa 7:30PM-9PM, Su 4:30PM-6PM (Apr-Aug). $2, children 5-17 $1, children under 5 free, skate rental $2.
- 5 ALT Theatre, 255 Great Arrow Ave (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ . You might be able to catch the occasional play such as "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" at this intimate black-box performance space on the third floor of the Pierce-Arrow Factory, but the ALT Theatre is much more than a theater, let alone an off-Broadway playhouse. Describing itself as "a hub for experimentation and innovation in the performing arts", this is the place to catch avant-garde performances of new dramatic works as well as in diverse genres such as music, film, and dance. Though the occasional visiting performer passes through, the overwhelming focus of the ALT Theatre is on nurturing local talent — the shows put on here are truly one-of-a-kind.
- 6 Kaleidoscope Theatre, 18 Agassiz Circle (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: Humboldt-Hospital), ☎ . With a mission of enriching and enlightening audiences through the power of live theatre, the Kaleidoscope Thratre is an independent, award-winning production house dedicated to high-quality original material produced in-house, as well as occasional performances of classics such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. Kaleidoscope shows three plays per year, usually with a run of two weeks each, at the Lecture Hall Theatre in Medaille College's Main Building.
- 7 Subversive Theatre Collective, 255 Great Arrow Ave (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ . The Manny Fried Playhouse, named after a former Buffalo theatre actor, union organizer, and political radical and located in the former Pierce-Arrow Factory Complex in Park Meadow, is the new home of the Subversive Theatre Collective. This bold new troupe's mission is to present provocative works of drama that are "dedicated to the needs, concerns, and aspirations of those who are oppressed, exploited, and disenfranchised by the existing social order". The Subversive Theatre Collective has staged performances of works such as Maxine Klein's The Furies of Mother Jones and Bertolt Brecht's The Mother, and has traditionally been an integral part of Buffalo's annual Infringement Festival.
- 8 Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St., Amherst (At University Plaza; Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . Owned by Dipson Theatres, a local chain of movie houses, the Amherst Theatre is located at the University Plaza at the outer end of University Heights. It features three screens showing an interesting mix of indie and arthouse films, Hollywood blockbusters of the more high-concept variety, and the occasional foreign film.
- 9 North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Almost inarguably the most distinctive movie theatre in the Buffalo area, the North Park was built in 1920 as an old-fashioned silent movie palace and still boasts an exquisite (and newly restored) Baroque interior with Art Deco flourishes. The single screen shows indie films almost exclusively. The North Park Theatre is also famous as the site of the world premiere of "Buffalo '66", the critically-acclaimed directorial debut of local native Vincent Gallo, which took place here in June 1998.
- 10 Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave (Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ . 16 screens showing standard big-name Hollywood fare.
- 11 Voelker's Bowling Center, 686 Amherst St. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ . M-F 6PM-4AM, Sa noon-4AM, Su 9AM-4AM. Situated at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Amherst Street and especially popular with students of nearby Buffalo State College, Voelker's may seem like it was plucked from another time. Behind a lively bar redolent of old-school Buffalo — the kind of place where you might see Pabst Blue Ribbon being drunk by rough-around-the-edges blue-collar types, rather than ironically by hipsters — are 36 bowling lanes, as well as three pool tables and a few dartboards. Open daily till 4AM, Voelker's is the place to go for late-night bowling in Buffalo.
- 12 Hippodrome Billiards, 975 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . M-Sa 1PM-3AM, Su 4PM-1AM. The oldest continually operating billiard hall in North America, Hippodrome Billiards opened in 1914 in the Theater District; through its early years of operation, some of history's great pool sharks, such as Minnesota Fats and Willie Mosconi, were regulars here. Sadly, Hippodrome is situated today in a nondescript suburban-style strip mall at the southwest corner of Delaware and Hertel Avenues. Despite the unfortunate location — and its spacious, bright and clean ambience that runs counter to the stereotype of pool halls — Hippodrome manages to conserve some of the old-school feel with chairs, cue racks, and several billiard tables retained from the original property. And, for those who'd rather skip the history lesson and just shoot a few games of pool, Hippodrome's rate of $4 per person per hour is hard to beat.
Located on 154 acres (62 ha) of land in University Heights, the South Campus is the oldest of the three campuses of the 6 University at Buffalo, the largest school in the State University of New York (SUNY) system as well as the largest public university in the Northeast. Founded in 1846 as a private medical college with future U.S. President Millard Fillmore as its first chancellor, the University at Buffalo moved to the former site of the Erie County Alms House in 1912, where the preeminent local architectural firm of the time, E. B. Green & Son, built a lovely Georgian-Revival style campus modelled after Trinity College in Dublin. Though most of the academic departments were transferred to UB's sprawling new North Campus in Amherst in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the South Campus still contains UB's Schools of Dentistry, Nursing, and Architecture and Planning, as well as the Health Sciences Library, Biomedical Science Research Complex, and student housing. UB Medical School is currently in the process of moving to the new Downtown Campus located in the Medical Corridor.
7 Medaille College is a small private college located at the southern end of Parkside, on Agassiz Circle. Founded in 1875 as a Catholic girls' school by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Medaille has been coeducational and nonsectarian since 1968, and boasts about 3,000 students and a full range of courses emphasizing the liberal arts and sciences. Medaille also has branch campuses in Rochester and the nearby suburb of Amherst, the fruits of a rapid expansion of the school that began in the 1990s and continues through the present day.
As far as bustling conglomerations of charming small shops, restaurants, galleries and bars, in Buffalo Hertel Avenue ranks a close second to the Elmwood Village. While Elmwood is best known for its hip clothing boutiques, Hertel is the place to go in Buffalo for antiques, furniture and housewares, and quirky gifts.
Clothing and accessories
- 1 Agorie Headwear, 1434 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-F noon-6PM, Sa noon-5PM. If the "New Buffalo" is all about finding inspiration for the future in the glories of the past, then Agorie Headwear fits right in. With an aesthetic described in the pages of Buffalo Rising as "fashion-forward yet retro" (as if those things were mutually exclusive anymore), the bowlers, fedoras, Panama hats, newsboy caps, and other merchandise you'll find on the shelves at Mark and Meredith Michelin's hat shop is nothing if not a throwback to the days when it was unthinkable to leave the house bare-headed. If there's such a thing as a "hat nerd", this husband-and-wife team certainly fit the bill — they started Agorie (the name means "confidence") in 2009 as an online shop but always had the goal of opening their own brick-and-mortar store; after scouting locations on Elmwood without much success, the little place on Hertel that they opened in 2016 has a design and inventory inspired by the big-city hat shops the Michelins used to spend hours lingering in, providing, in the words of their website, a shopping experience where "trying on and picking a hat is as fun and exciting as wearing one". And the prices are surprisingly reasonable, as well — while a particularly high-end hat might cost as much as $150, it's rare that you'd be unable to find a truly high-quality piece for less than $100.
- 2 Bon Fire Craft, 1455 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu & Th-Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. After six years spent plying her wares as one half of the duo behind the Nyack, New York artisanal smithery Torch Song Metals, Emily Sajban packed up and moved west, opening Bon Fire Craft in February 2016 at the recently vacated former home of Queen City Shaken & Stirred. Jewelry is the game here, and this is perhaps the only jewelry shop of its kind in Buffalo in that all stages of production take place in-house: these earrings, necklaces, birthstone pendants, rings, and other pieces are hand-forged, hand-cast, hand-carved, and gems and other inlays are hand-set by Sajban herself. There's definitely a house style here, but it's hard to put your finger on and may be impossible to describe in any succinct way — "rustic" might be the word that comes closest; popular artistic motifs include trees, leaves, and bears and other forest animals, as well as skulls and Indian-head nickels — and since every piece sold here either comes in a limited-edition run of no more than 50 pieces or else is custom-designed by Sajban to the specifications of a particular buyer, you can be assured that no matter what strikes your fancy on the shelves at Bon Fire Craft, you'll be the only one of your friends to have one! The selection is plentiful for men as well as women, and prices are easy on the pocketbook.
- 3 Korona Jewelry, 1588 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-4PM. Describing themselves as "A Gem on Hertel", Korona Jewelry has been a North Buffalo institution since 1900, making it the longest-running family-owned jeweler in Buffalo. Owner Joseph Korona, a consummate professional who is a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America, and his wife Noreen run the store in a way that combines the best of the old school — warm and friendly care given to each customer and old-fashioned pride taken in quality workmanship — with the latest in modern techniques and technology. Korona's stock in trade is new and vintage rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, watches, and other jewelry in gold and sterling silver, with a full range of diamonds and other precious stones. Bridal jewelry is a particular specialty, and staff is happy to work with customers to design custom pieces to their personal specifications. In addition, Korona Jewelry performs high-quality repairs, re-stringing and stone resetting, and replacement of watch batteries, accepts trade-ins, and buys gold.
- 4 Misfits N Kicks, 1293 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-Tu & Th-Sa 1PM-8PM, W 1PM-7PM. Misfits N Kicks is a new urban fashion boutique where the accent is on helping you the customer express your unique personality through the fashions they stock on their shelves — or, in the words of their Facebook page, "set yourself apart... and embrace being a misfit". In a small and sleekly decorated shop next to Richel Formalwear you'll find a selection of graphic tees, hoodies, jackets, and ladieswear where the style is quirky and individualist without losing its streetwise edge. However, the crown jewel of Misfits N Kicks' inventory are their up-to-the-minute designer sneakers from labels like Nike and Jordan as well as limited editions from celebrity designers like 2 Chainz.
- 5 Modern Nostalgia, 1382 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM. Modern Nostalgia is a cute women's clothing boutique owned by Nikki Polasik and Brianne Klejdys-Long, a pair of lifelong friends who are described on the store's website as "Buffalo all-stars when it comes to style and fashion". The "style" in question takes equal inspiration from elegant classic designs and exciting contemporary looks from up-and-coming designers — hence the name of the store — and makes the owners' infectious love of fashion all the more obvious. Customers adore ModNos — and forgive their somewhat high prices — because of their wide and changing selection of clothes (ranging from formalwear to more casual designs), lingerie, jewelry and accessories. The last two on that list are a particular specialty, with a massive range of earrings, bracelets, necklaces, handbags and clutches from collections by local and national designers, such as Pura Vida, Ornamental Things, and Made By Anatomy.
- 6 Peek-a-Boo Baby Boutique, 1446 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu, Th & Sa 10AM-5PM, W 10AM-7PM, F 12:30PM-6PM. The first thing a customer may think upon entering Peek-a-Boo Baby Boutique might be that for a storefront that looks so small from the outside and is so packed with merchandise, it has a remarkably airy, expansive feel, clean and cheerily decorated. Once that first impression is over, the customer may very well marvel at the large and adorable selection of previously-enjoyed items for children from newborns through toddlers — clothes, high chairs, bassinets, strollers, toys, and miscellaneous merchandise — all in impeccable condition. Most of the merchandise is consigned to the store by parents of growing children (call for details), but there are also some new items as well, much of which is the unique work of local designers. All items are 10% off after 5PM on Wednesday.
- 7 Richel Formalwear, 1291 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. Luxurious yet affordable menswear is the order of the day at Richel Formalwear. With a skillful and genuine approach to customer service honed over more than a quarter-century of experience, owner Carmelo Bandinelli attends to Buffalonians in search of elegant men's formal attire such as tuxedos, dress shirts, vests, three-piece suits, shoes, and accessories such as hats, ties, and cufflinks. The owner himself performs each custom fitting with a trained eye to perfection that's unmatched in the area, and also offers customized tailoring and alterations including jacket tapering. Richel Formalwear doesn't leave the opposite sex out in the cold, either: wedding dresses, bridesmaids' gowns, prom dresses, and other formal attire for ladies are available for sale or rent.
- 8 Scout & Cedar, 1376 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu, W & F 11AM-6PM, Th 11AM-7PM, Sa 11AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM. March 4, 2017 — a date that fell about a year and a half after the untimely and unfortunate demise of the like-minded Blue Collar Buffalo just a few doors down — marked the return to the Hertel Avenue strip of a viable option for folks in search of stylish contemporary menswear. In fact, Scout & Cedar is helmed by many of the same folks who were behind Blue Collar Buffalo — owner Matt Snyder bode his time as a manager at nearby Modern Nostalgia in the interim — and the house style is quite a bit similar too. Setting the tone is a decor scheme that, along with the store's name, serves as an homage to the camping trips Snyder enjoyed in his youth (hardwood floors, earth tones, and mounted antlers on the wall above the register characterize the cozy but airy interior), while on the shelves awaiting shoppers is an inventory ranging from casualwear that's contemporary and stylish yet rugged and masculine, to suits, ties and other formal options that nonetheless retain a sense of stylish whimsy (summed up in a recent Facebook post as "business casual for the casual business"), to men's accessories such as beard creams and oils and even locally-made scented candles.
Art and art supplies
- 9 Cone Five Pottery, 1508 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . W-Sa 11AM-5PM, Th till 8PM. Opened in 1998 on the West Side and moved to its current location four years later, Greg Link is the self-taught craftsman whose sculpture and handmade pottery can be found among the unique items for sale and on display in Cone Five Pottery's ample gallery space. The balance of the items here encompass works by over 50 artists from all over Buffalo and Western New York, in media as diverse as painting, jewelry, metal and wood art, photography, and blown glass, as well as occasional temporary exhibitions. In addition, open studio time for gallery members takes place at Cone Five every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from noon till 9PM, and Donna Goeckel Martiny and Rachel Kofahl conduct pottery classes that range from basic skills like hand building, trimming and glazing to advanced techniques.
- 10 Dana Tillou Fine Arts, 1478 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . W-F 10:30AM-5PM, Sa 10:30AM-4PM. After over half a century operating out of a breathtaking three-story French Second Empire-style mansion in Allentown, Dana Tillou moved his gallery to a smaller space on Hertel, and with that move came a change in focus: away from 19th- and early 20th-century American and British paintings and furniture to more contemporary pieces in line with the tastes of a new generation of art and design aficionados. If you've just come to "browse", though, never fear: a somewhat more selectively curated variety of works by artists from Buffalo and the surrounding region are still displayed at his gallery-cum-shop, with locally famous names like Martha Visser't Hooft, Carlo Nisita, and Evelyn Rumsey Cary represented. As well, Tillou has over 47 years of experience in professionally appraising art and antiques for insurance, estate, or personal purposes.
- Local Color Gallery, 1417 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-Sa noon-6PM or by appointment. A small storefront boutique gallery operated by the legendary Michael Morgulis out of a section of his Hertel Avenue shop, New Buffalo Graphics (q.v.), the Local Color Gallery's exhibit space features brightly colored, pop art-style prints with almost a comic-book look to them, where local themes predominate and Morgulis' background in graphic design is on full display. Works can be purchased in-store or online.
- 11 The Main Frame, 1386 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-F 10AM-5:30PM, Sa 10AM-3PM. Opened in 1988 as a small art gallery and frame store at the heart of the Hertel Avenue corridor, The Main Frame is a sister shop to the venerable Vern Stein Art & Frame in Williamsville, and serves also as the production facility for the custom-made frames sold at both stores. The Main Frame boasts a large selection of prints on display and for sale, with antique prints featuring local scenes and themes a particular specialty. The Main Frame's staff has over 30 years of combined experience in custom framing, and really does a marvelous job at it.
- 12 Meridian West Art Gallery, 1209 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . Tu-F 3PM-6PM, Sa noon-6PM. A brand-new gallery opened in 2012 to great fanfare, Meridian West's owners, George Grace and Nancy Clarke Mariani, are both active members of the Buffalo Society of Artists and boast long and illustrious pedigrees in Buffalo's arts community (as a writer/artist and the chair of Lancaster High School's art department, respectively). Their work is on display and available for sale in Meridian West's airy, minimalist exhibit space, as are paintings, sculptures and mixed-media works by other local and regional artists such as Gary Wolfe, Ann Gunderman, and Rita Argen Auerbach. A small selection of gifts is available for those of a creative disposition. In addition, theatrical and musical performances, poetry readings, art and writing classes, and community events of all types are frequently held at Meridian West.
- 13 State of the Art, 1781 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 1PM-5PM. The credo here is, "We may not be big, but we're small" — and so it is at State of the Art, where the staff consists of Mar Penner Griswold, a certified picture framer with over 40 years of experience in the field, and her ever-present feline companion, Lucy. Since 1982, State of the Art has been a Hertel Avenue mainstay, with the store's website vaunting a full range of services including framing, frame repair, photographic repair and restoration, matting, glass replacement, and — yes — cat advice. Customers rave about Griswold's helpful advice on style and color, patient and sincere service to her clients, and fair prices.
- 14 The Antique Lamp Company and Gift Emporium, 1213 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . Tu-Sa 11AM-4PM. The Antique Lamp Company is where, since 1997, longtime antique aficionado John Tobin has offered for sale a full selection of antique and vintage lamps and light fixtures in 19th- and early 20th-century styles such as Victorian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Mission, and Art Moderne. Western New York's only full-time, professional lamp restorer, Tobin's work in repairing and polishing these pieces to restore their former brilliance truly betrays the boundless love he has for what he does. A wide variety of fine china, timepieces, jewelry and accessories, flowers and gifts round out the offerings at the Antique Lamp Company. The cherry on top is the decor, whose opulent elegance extends to the soft music and subtle fragrances that delight customers as they shop.
- 15 Buffalo Antiques and Quality Furniture, 1539 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . W-Sa noon-5PM. Dealing in a wide selection of wholesale antique furniture, timepieces, china, sterling silver, light fixtures, and decorative accessories, Buffalo Antiques is a massive emporium that's been in business on Hertel for over fifteen years. In addition to the antique items, which represent Victorian and 19th-century European styles through the Mid-Century Modern period, a variety of new furniture is also sold here: Buffalo Antiques is a licensed dealer of the Maitland-Smith and LaBarge brands. As well, these fine folks are always on the lookout for quality items to purchase, from single items to partial and total estate sale liquidations. Buffalo Antiques offers free estate sale consultations and fair-market appraisals of antique items.
- 16 JM Gold Buyers, 1484 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-F 9AM-5PM. This store's name is an unfortunate misnomer: though they will gladly purchase your unwanted jewelry, coin collections, ad nauseam, this is much more than just another sleazy old-gold dealer. The much more interesting half of the operation is built on owner John Marfoglia's nearly two decades of experience buying and selling at antique shows nationwide, which has put him in touch with some of the leading dealers and collectors in the United States. The fruits of those relationships are on full display in this Hertel Avenue showroom which was described by one satisfied customer as "like the best parts of an estate sale were put together in a small shop". Among the maddening diversity of antiques available here, specialties include weaponry including guns, knives and Japanese swords, "modern vintage" paintings, sculptures and other art, and Oriental rugs. Fans of the usual array of furniture, timepieces, light fixtures, jewelry and collectibles won't be disappointed either. JM Gold Buyers are also happy to provide you with a fair-market appraisal for your antiques (they even do online appraisals!) and manage your estate sales.
- 17 Man Cave Outfitters of Buffalo, 1453 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-Sa 9AM-8PM. If there were a competition for the store with the most accurate, short and to the point name in Buffalo, this place would win it hands down: simply stated, if you have a mancave and you need to outfit it, this is likely to be the first, last, and only stop you'll need to make. That's especially true if you're a beer fan, as the main focus of the inventory that owner Jonathan Gill has put together consists of antique collectibles from the golden age of Buffalo brewing: vintage neon signs, wall clocks, steins, ice chests, and bottle openers emblazoned with the old Iroquois and Simon Pure logos abound (if you're not familiar with or interested in those Buffalo brands of yore, never fear; they've got old-timey national-brand merchandise too). But that's only half the story: in partnership with the House of Jacob with whom they share the building, Man Cave Outfitters also offers a wide selection of restored vintage guitars and other musical instruments, and there's even a custom jeweler who practices his craft in a small nook in the back of the store. Prices are fair, and if you have a piece of antique "breweriana" of your own that you'd like to unload, Man Cave Outfitters can help with that too.
- 18 WEBB Exchange, 1509 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . Open by appointment or chance. Like Dana Tillou Fine Arts down the street, the WEBB Exchange is a place that's gone through a metamorphosis lately: it was in December 2015 that owners Matt and Kristeen Webb relaunched the art and antique shop they'd opened two decades earlier as Webb Trading Company, with a newfound focus on high-end midcentury furniture, decorative baubles, and artworks sourced from the private warehouse in downtown Buffalo that serves as a clearinghouse for the pieces they acquire from estate sales and dealers around the country. And the "high-end" part cannot be overstated: among the designer furniture you'll find names like Saarinen, Eames, and Knoll, and they had an original Picasso painting for sale as of December 2015. If midcentury is not your style and you prefer the 18th- and 19th-century antiques of the old Webb Trading Company days, there's plenty of pieces like that to be found as well in the WEBB Exchange's 3,000 square feet (275m²) of floor space.
- 19 The Second Reader, 1421 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-Th 11AM-6PM, F-Sa 11AM-7PM. The selection at this small used book shop directly across from the North Park Theater may not be the widest, but the Second Reader makes up for that with the quality of its merchandise and the friendliness and enthusiasm of its staff — not to mention the surprising and unusual finds that can often be encountered on the shelves there. The Second Reader's excellent prices are exemplified by the "$1 Book Table" which makes regular appearances in season on the sidewalk in front of the store. In addition to books, a range of prints, gifts and other ephemera are available here.
In addition to the imported cheeses, pastas, olive oils, and so forth that are to be expected in Little Italy, Hertel has a small colony of Middle Eastern groceries that's located near the corner of Delaware Avenue.
- 20 Al Noor Grocery, 1200 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . M-Th & Sa-Su 11AM-8PM, F 3PM-9PM. Tasty Middle Eastern groceries of all types are the order of the day at Al Noor, with the crowded aisles of this little place fully stocked with everything from spices to Turkish coffee to canned vegetables to sheesha to a small selection of frozen foods. This stuff is the real deal, authentic and delicious — especially the halal meats that are the specialty here. Interestingly enough, British visitors will note that this is the only place in Buffalo that stocks Vimto soft drinks.
- 21 Bella Mia Candy Store, 1096 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-8PM, F-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su noon-7PM. The name of the game at Bella Mia is rekindling the memories of nostalgic customers with "retro candies" from their childhoods. For sale here are old-school favorites like Laffy Taffy, Lemonheads, Necco wafers, and Abba Zabba chocolate bars, Cadbury and Mars candy bars that are imported from Canada and especially popular with customers from north of the border, and delectable oversize lollipops of the kind that will remind customers of a certain age of summers at Crystal Beach. Other confections such as licorice, chocolate truffles, and bubble gum are available as well — and what would a candy store in Buffalo be without a huge selection of sponge candy (available in half-pound, one-pound, and two-pound boxes)? An ice cream counter, coffee and cappuccino, and vintage gifts such as Beatles posters and old-fashioned metal Elvis lunchboxes round out the inventory here. Customers rave especially about Tom, the friendly, down-to-earth owner who always makes sure every visitor to Bella Mia leaves happy.
- 22 Caruso's Italian Imports, 1212 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 9AM-2PM. In the heart of Buffalo's Little Italy, appropriately enough, is found this delightful old-world food shop that seems to have been plucked from another time. Caruso's Italian Imports is a purveyor of delicious yet unpretentious imported foods which has earned more than its share of loyal customers over its 40 years of operation in North Buffalo. Found here is a myriad of delectable Italian specialties such as pasta, cheeses, olives and olive oils, fresh-baked breads, fine charcuterie such as prosciutto and mortadella, and fresh vegetables. The old-fashioned warmth and friendliness exuded by Caruso's employees is matched by the prices, which are among the lowest in town for specialty groceries of this type.
- 23 Exclusively Alaskan Good, 1650 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . Tu-Sa 11:30AM-6PM. Besides being a real "live wire", Earnest Thomas is a habitual truth-teller — stop in and you're as likely as not to be met with a greeting like, "Hello, my name is Earnest, and I cannot tell a lie". And that penchant for often blunt honesty extends to the name of the store: the seafood sold here truly lives up to the place's name, with only the freshest and highest-quality products delivered to Western New York courtesy of the connections he made during the 25 years he spent working as a seafood inspector for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation before returning in 2010 to open a seafood shop in his hometown of Eden, followed by this second location in North Buffalo six years later. If you're planning to pay a visit to Exclusively Alaskan Good, you might want to carve out a bigger block of time than normal — Thomas is a walking encyclopedia of edible marine life, and will regale you at interminable length with the minutiae of seemingly every piece of fish he sells, as well as tales of life on the high seas off the coast of Alaska, local political banter delivered with the opinionated tone you rarely find outside of small towns, and endless jokes as he packages your order. What's for sale? Salmon makes up a big part of it, all sourced from the wild and typically available fresh, smoked, canned, or ground into burger patties, as well as crabs, clams, scallops and other shellfish — or if you're not in the mood for seafood, check out what may be Buffalo's best selection of venison and game meats, with oddities such as elk steaks, caribou jerky, and alligator meat available for pretty good prices.
- 24 The House of Olives, 1374 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-7PM, Su noon-4PM. Sandy Hofschneider spent many years working as a registered nurse in North Carolina; this brand-new Hertel Avenue storefront represents the second phase in her professional life, where her efforts at promoting the health and wellness of the community come through the sale of healthy extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars — and at great prices. Easily the most interesting products sold at the House of Olives are the flavored olive oils, where the imported extra-virgin oils that are also sold plain come infused with the delicious aromas of fresh basil, jalapeño, Meyer lemon, garlic mushroom, and more. Infused vinegars are also sold, with blackberry, raspberry, hickory, and chocolate among the available flavors. Best of all, customers are well attended to at the House of Olives, with the friendly owner always on hand to suggest pairings, share recipes, or — true to form — extol the myriad health benefits of extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
- 25 Jerusalem Halal Market, 1146 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . Daily 10AM-10PM. The west end of the Hertel Avenue strip has a growing cluster of ethnic food shops that all stock basically the same selection of Middle Eastern packaged groceries, frozen foods, and other goods. Jerusalem Halal Market is no different in that regard, but what does set it apart from the competition is the pleasant shopping experience: the store is clean and brightly lit, the merchandise is well-organized, the aisles are easy to navigate, and customer service is friendly and attentive. As well, Jerusalem has an in-house butcher that sells fresh meat (100% halal, like everything else sold here) several days a week; if it's closed when you stop in, there's always an ample selection of frozen meats. Rounding out the inventory is a relatively modest selection of fresh produce as well as hookah pipes, headscarves, and other Islamic clothing.
- 26 Johnny's Meats, 1191 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . M 9AM-5:30PM, Tu-F 8AM-5:30PM, Sa 7AM-5PM. Since 1960, Johnny's Meats has offered for sale a full range of meats, cold cuts, and cheeses, many of which are produced locally. Johnny's homemade Italian sausage, crafted with a secret blend of herbs and cheeses, is a specialty, but it's also just the beginning of the story — this real, old-fashioned butcher shop sells it all. Beef, lamb, bacon, veal, locally produced Sahlen's hot dogs, seafood, pork, poultry, and delicious homemade meatballs all keep Johnny's loyal customers coming back for more. In another nod to Hertel Avenue's status as the epicenter of Buffalo's Italian community, a small line of pasta products is also available.
- 27 The Pasta Peddler and Blackbird Sweets, 1547 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ (Pasta Peddler), (Blackbird Sweets). Tu-Sa 9AM-7PM, Su 9AM-1PM. Run by husband-and-wife team Eric and Andrea Amodeo, these founding tenants of the West Side's Horsefeathers Market proved so immediately popular that, barely a year after opening, they'd outgrown their booth there and moved to Hertel Avenue, where they share the same (larger) space near the east end of the strip. The goods they sell are the same as always, though: Eric's stock in trade at the Pasta Peddler is gourmet goodies like imported olives and oils, balsamic vinegars in a variety of flavors, honey, and a selection of delicious artisanal fruit butters — and above all, as the name implies, a line of handmade gourmet pastas (including premade packaged ravioli to take home) and sauces. Linguine is a particular specialty; it comes plain as well as in a wide range of flavors such as spinach, jalapeño pepper, or tomato basil. As for Andrea's Blackbird Sweets, a wide range of gourmet pastries are sold that deliver, in her own words, "confection perfection and wow with every bite". You can get cookies, muffins, pies, tarts, and lots of other home-baked delights at Blackbird, but the marquee product are cupcakes that come in a diverse selection of flavors — sugar cookie, salted caramel, and oatmeal chocolate chip are among the more interesting ones — crafted so artfully that one reviewer described being hesitant to bite into them. Consensus says that the cake has real heft to it and the frosting is not overpowering in its sweetness. And in the winter months, taking a cue from their former home at Horsefeathers, the Amodeos team up to host the Winter Market on Hertel, featuring local farmers and food artisans.
Liquor, beer and wine
- 28 Hertel Liquor Library, 1673 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . Daily 11AM-11PM. Opened in December 2016 on an up-and-coming block at the east end of the Hertel strip, the Hertel Liquor Library lives up to its name by arranging the bottles on its shelves in alphabetical order. Cute, customers say, as well as convenient if you're in the market for a specific brand. But what is on the shelves? The selection here is not huge, but it makes up for that by presenting a surprisingly wide variety of different flavors and price points to choose from — including what may be the best selection of locally-produced craft spirits anywhere in Buffalo, such as Lockhouse vodka and coffee liqueur, 1812 gin from the Niagara Distilling Company, and a kaleidoscope of other New York State products. Wines come in similarly ample varieties, hailing from the Finger Lakes, the Niagara Wine Region, and all over the world; if you'd like to attend a tasting, check the store's Facebook page to see if one is coming up (they're frequent). And, while no one goes to a liquor store to check out the interior decor, for what it's worth, the Hertel Liquor Library shopping experience is vastly less musty and claustrophobic than your average — on the contrary, it's an airy, well-lit reimagining of the place that played host to Mulligan's nightclub many moons ago. And they deliver!
- 29 Savory Sips, 1448 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-4PM. Though she'd been thriving since 2011 at her original location in Lewiston, Savory Sips' move four years later to the more centrally located Hertel Avenue strip was a happy homecoming for owner Rebecca Christie, a proud North Buffalo native daughter. Though casual passersby along the main drag might miss this place — it's tucked away behind Daisy's Doghouse, with an entrance facing Norwalk Avenue — this charming European-style wine boutique is worth seeking out for the expansive selection of vintages on offer. Though the selection here spans every variety and geographic region imaginable, Savory Sips' is far from a kitchen-sink approach: all the wines Christie stocks on the shelves are individually selected, organic, small-batch vintages priced under $27 per bottle (more expensive wines, including some very hard-to-find selections, are available by special order on request). Matching the wide-ranging selection is Christie's encyclopedic knowledge of the products she stocks and of the wine industry in general, and she puts that knowledge to full use for her customers whether it be helping with a pairing or just talking shop with fellow wine lovers who stop in. The interior of the store is Christie's handiwork as well: with walls painted in rich, warm earth tones and a hand-built wine bar in the back, the space looks like Tuscany by way of Mexico. About the only weakness Savory Sips has is a disappointing selection of local wines, but do ask the owner about the group wine-tasting excursions to the Finger Lakes, the Niagara Peninsula, and other nearby winemaking regions that she offers through her side business, Village Wine Tours. Free public wine tastings are also held once a month; see the website for details.
- 30 Village Beer Merchant, 1535 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-6PM. A local business that's already well-loved and well-established in the Elmwood Village, this second location of the venerable Village Beer Merchant opened in 2012. To put it succinctly, this place is 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. However, Village Beer Merchant's Hertel location does Elmwood one better with a full tasting room where customers can sample from among the many brews in stock. Village Beer Merchant is also 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.
- 31 Revolver Records, 1451 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-Th noon-7PM, F noon-8PM, Sa 11AM-8PM, Su noon-5PM. In November 2015, Phil Machemer finally took the brisk business he'd done for a few seasons selling records on Saturday mornings and afternoons out of a stand at The Peddler on Elmwood Avenue and parlayed it into a brick-and-mortar store on Hertel in the former site of Deja Lu — and, in so doing, became the most recent piece of a mini-explosion of new record shops in Buffalo that's most welcome in the years after the demise of the venerable Home of the Hits and New World Record. As has become the rule among these new shops, vinyl is the name of the game at Revolver Records. On the racks in this pleasantly airy, brightly-lit space is a gargantuan yet carefully-curated kaleidoscope of some of the most interesting, obscure, sought-after, and above all, best music on the planet — over 15,000 titles spanning all genres and time periods from the 1950s to the present; everything from popular favorites to hard-to-find imports to offerings from Buffalo's local music scene, all accurately graded. There's a limited selection of music on CD and other formats too. Whatever interests you, be assured that Phil's encyclopedic knowledge of music is at your service — and if you're still not sure, Revolver provides a listening station where customers can listen to any record for themselves before purchase; a service that's unique in Buffalo. Revolver will also buy any old vinyl you might want to unload — a specialty here is entire collections in a specific genre — and prices are fair whether you're buying or selling.
Furniture and home decor
- 32 Conley Interiors, 1425 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-F 10AM-5PM or by appointment. Since 1925, Conley Interiors has been a trusted source for a diverse selection of high-end furnishings. Their 25,000 square feet (2,300m²) of showroom space extends across three floors and is chock full of stylish sofas, coffee tables, end tables, bedroom sets, chairs, lamps and light fixtures, mirrors, wall coverings, original works of art, and other decorative elements. Represented among its inventory are major brands such as Maitland-Smith, Somerset Bay, LaBarge, and Hickory Chair, as well as custom-made pieces from small workshops all over the world. Conley Interiors also proudly custom-designs interior spaces to their customers' specifications — in fact, it was named in 2002 by Architectural Digest magazine as one of Western New York's top interior-design firms. Conley's aesthetic is characterized not by a slavish devotion to one signature style or to the latest trends, but to a timeless ambience that harmonizes the best elements from a diversity of influences.
- 33 Hertel Home Consignment, 1390 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-W 10AM-5PM, Th-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-4PM. The reaction among North Buffalo aficionados of fine furnishings to the 2017 demise of Michael Donnelly Interiors was disappointed but short-lived: no sooner did its eponymous owner announce the impending closure of the retail end of his business than plans were unveiled for a shop in the same storefront that was similar to and in many ways an improvement on its predecessor. Not only does 1390 Hertel remain an address where high-quality furniture and home decorative items can be found, but the prices at Hertel Home Consignment are affordable to a much wider swath of the citizenry! "Consignment with flare" is the operating credo here, and owners Angelo Cicatello and Michael Chamberlain curate their inventory more thoughtfully than probably any other secondhand shop in the Western New York area: the selection of living room furniture, dressers and armoires, lamps, objets d'art, and even books that are displayed in the store changes constantly and is often tailored to reflect seasonal trends. It's a truly one-of-a-kind collection of gently used but still vibrant items that have been recovered from people selling their homes, downsizing, or whatever the case may be, thus enabling new owners to get their hands on high-end home furnishings for reasonable prices while at the same time doing their part to keep waste out of landfills. And if you're looking to find a new home for your favorite piece, being it on in: consigners get 50% of the profit after the sale!
- 34 MiMo Decor, 1251 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . W-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su noon-5PM. Opened in March 2017, the stock in trade at this new Hertel Avenue shop is — as its abbreviated name implies — furniture, home decorative elements, and original artwork that represent the best in Midcentury Modern design. The inventory at MiMo Decor is, for the most part, an expertly curated collection of authentic vintage items, but owner Jessica Buscaglia also stocks a modest selection of high-quality midcentury-inspired new pieces as well. Modernist and industrial-chic chairs are a particular specialty, but you can find pretty much anything for the home, whether it be dressers and armoires, living room sets, lamps, interior baubles, even unique handcrafted jewelry. Prices at MiMo run the gamut, too — no matter your budget, chances are you can find something affordable here.
- 35 room, 1400 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-F 10AM-6PM, Th till 8PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM. Opened in 2005, room is a luxury furniture boutique situated in an airy, architecturally interesting showroom at the heart of Hertel. Described by one reviewer as "a fantasy world of what my living room could be like", in a pleasant ambience of scented soy candles and elegant chandeliers are placed a bevy of classic modern furniture, dinnerware, rugs, textiles, and other decorative elements and accessories. The brands room carries are not only stylish and cutting-edge, but are often locally manufactured and are united by a commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly production. Also on the same site is babyroom, an outlet for contemporary baby items such as cribs, bunks, strollers and other accessories that, in the words of its website, "epitomize 'baby cool'". These items are high-end and priced accordingly, so come prepared to splurge — if not, sales and promotions do occur on a regular basis. As well, room's staff gets points for being friendly and helpful without crossing the line into pushiness or annoying overhelpfulness.
- 36 BuffaloMart, 1499 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23). W-Sa 10AM-6PM. As owner of one of the city's first custom-printed T-shirt shops in the early '90s, John Hoffman has been proudly promoting his hometown since before pretty anyone else was (other than Michael Morgulis of New Buffalo Graphics just down the street, with whose work BuffaloMart's house aesthetic shares much in common). Even after his original store closed, Hoffman doggedly continued selling his lines of t-shirts, embroidered baseball caps, hoodies, coffee mugs, and other Buffalo-themed souvenir swag through third-party outlets such as Visit Buffalo Niagara's airport gift shop, as well as online — still screenprinting all the merchandise himself, in the workshop behind Buffalo Bar & Grill in the Old First Ward which he also owns — before finally opening the second incarnation of his shop in 2016, in time to take part in the hometown revival his work has always presaged. The quality clothing, gifts, and novelties sold at BuffaloMart come emblazoned with any of some 30 custom designs that pay homage to all of the many facets of Buffalo that locals take pride in — from sports to history to ethnic heritage to architecture.
- 37 Germa's African Hair Braiding, 1231 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-Sa 7AM-9PM. As the name suggests, hair braiding and extensions are the main order of business at Germa's. However, a secondary attraction at this friendly brownstone storefront is a wide variety of African-themed clothing, jewelry, decorative items, gifts and knickknacks, as well as African movies on DVD. Bath and body products are a specialty here — including imported shea butter, body oils and incense — and likewise for authentic artisanal items such as masks, baskets, objets d'art, drums and musical instruments. Clothing for men, women and children in brightly-colored tribal prints is also on offer at Germa's. The hours of operation are particularly convenient as well — this place is open six days a week, and relatively late.
- 38 Maria's Italian Gifts, 1415 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5PM. Operated for over 25 years by owner Maria Pileri, Maria's Italian Gifts is a one-stop shop on Hertel that deals in high-quality goods imported from Italy, including fine Capodimonte-style porcelain, crystalware, objets d'art including carved decorative items in Argento 925 silver and imported wood, greeting cards, figurines and baubles, and other gifts. The specialty here, however, is bomboniere (wedding keepsakes) — visitors to Buffalo who are looking for the perfect wedding gift, invitations, or the like, or unique gifts for other occasions such as baptisms, bridal or baby showers, or anniversaries, can scarcely do better than Maria's.
- 39 New Buffalo Graphics, 1417 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-Sa noon-6PM and by appointment. New Buffalo Graphics offers a range of items — t-shirts, prints, cards, mugs, and miscellaneous gifts — united by their local focus. If you want to commemorate your visit to Western New York with high-quality merchandise emblazoned with icons of buffaloes, photos of beloved Buffalo landmarks like the Peace Bridge and the gone-but-not-forgotten H-O Oats grain elevator, and catchy slogans all the locals can recite by heart (in fact, one of Buffalo's most enduring nicknames, the "City of No Illusions", originated as a slogan on a New Buffalo Graphics t-shirt), this is the place for you. All the designs are the work of the friendly owner of this longstanding Buffalo institution, Michael Morgulis, whose knowledge of the ins and outs of Buffalo is matched by the enthusiasm of his love for his hometown.
- 40 Daisy's Doghouse, 1448 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Named by owner Lisa Samar after her beloved dog, pet supplies for the dog lover is the name of the game at the Hertel Avenue storefront previously home to Floral Explorations. Daisy's Doghouse is an independently-owned specialty boutique carries a full line of natural, holistic, and often locally-sourced products that are priced competitively with mass-market big-brand items: everything from leashes to shampoos to bowls to organic, filler-free dog foods and treats from brands such as Fromm and Wild Callings. All this is available to browse in a brightly-painted, well-lit retail floor that also serves as space for the puppy training classes the store puts on. You can even choose from a range of animal-themed greeting cards.
- 41 Her Sanctuary, 1438 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-Sa noon-7PM. Sue and Ciara Morreale, the mother/daughter entrepreneurial team behind Her Story Boutique, have joined a growing contingent of their Elmwood Village counterparts in establishing a satellite presence on Hertel. Located in the former home of Chow Chocolat right at the heart of the strip, Her Sanctuary shares the same positive vibes and life-affirming ethos of the original business, but takes things in a somewhat different direction: tracing its inspiration to the "Her Story Hours" that were held from time to time at the Elmwood shop, where prominent women from around the community would speak about their lives and accomplishments, hopefully inspiring to greatness the next generation of Buffaloniennes, this shop does double duty as a source for everything to do with health and wellness — think locally-sourced kombucha, yoga mats, and handmade healing crystals — as well as a pleasant, peaceful multi-use space ("sanctuary", indeed!) where the Her Story Hours live on alongside an expanded schedule of healing workshops and seminars, pop-up shops, and various and sundry events.
- 42 Shickluna Bikes & Darts, 1835 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . M & W 10AM-7PM; Tu, Th & F 10AM-6PM; Sa 10AM-5PM. A testament to the high-quality goods available here is the fact that Shickluna Bikes & Darts has been in business since 1899 — opening only a year after Rick's Cycle Shop in Allentown, the second-oldest independent shop of this kind in the U.S. Some of the best bikes in existence today — especially Giant brand bikes, of which Shickluna is a licensed dealer — are displayed for sale in the ample showroom, with models available for everyone from families and everyday cyclists, to enthusiasts of mountain and off-road biking, to professional racers. All bikes are assembled onsite by a professional bike mechanic and come with a year of free adjustments and flat-tire repair. Shickluna also doubles as Buffalo's premier dart shop, with soft- and steel-tip darts and boards by such brands as Dart World and Harrows. Customer service at Shickluna can be indifferent, but the products sold here are of the highest quality and the prices can't be beat.
- 43 Six Nations Herbal Remedies, 1234 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . This new Hertel Avenue shop is where Mark Okwahotekakahrake Jamieson ("Eyes of the Wolf"), a full-blooded Mohawk who is learned in the centuries-old traditions of Iroquois herbal medicine, attends to customers and, more importantly, helps pass his knowledge down to the next generation of Natives as well as Buffalonians in general. At Six Nations Herbal Remedies, there's seemingly a plant, root, flower, or tea for every malady — and if you can't find one for what ails you, just ask Mark and he'll put in an order. The store's decor is minimalist and all business, with monochrome walls lined with row after row of jarred herbs as well as jewelry, artwork, musical instruments, dreamcatchers, and other crafts handmade by local Amerindian artisans — all watched over by a large stuffed bear, the keeper of herbal medicine according to Iroquois tradition. Six Nations also plays host to educational workshops regarding Iroquois culture and spirituality, with an emphasis, naturally, on traditional medicine (and free tea usually available!)
- 44 Spoke & Dagger, 1434 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-7PM. With easily one of North Buffalo's most unusual and creative focuses, Spoke & Dagger's stock in trade is a range of motorcycle clothing and specialty accessories. With a very California air to the proceedings, this shop could be summarized as a hipster's paean to biker culture — that is to say, the stuff you'll find on the shelves says "image-conscious, urban-dwelling motorcycle enthusiast" much more than "Hell's Angel" — a description that's also apt for husband-and-wife owner team Chris and Jodi Drew, him a motorcycle mechanic by trade and her a graphic designer-cum-weekend warrior on the local bike scene. The main thrust of the merchandise Spoke & Dagger sells is apparel that tends toward the high-end, sourced from designers on the West Coast, in Europe, and also locally (the store's own branded clothing is screenprinted by the West Side's own Positive Approach Press); you've also got specialty gear and accessories to choose from such as canteens, attractive yet functional boots, helmets, a rack of motorcycle magazines, and even spare bike parts. All of this is sold in an attractive environment that's yet another homage to Buffalo's active DIY scene and community spirit — the murals that decorate the walls are the work of local artists, and the "sales bar" (complete with stools!) that holds the cash register was built using upcycled wood from ReUse Action. More than just a place to buy gear, though, Spoke & Dagger serves as a nexus for Buffalo-area bikers who come to attend classes on bike building and repair, catch a classic motorcycle movie on the projection screen in the back of the store, or just gather together and enjoy a sense of biker camaraderie that many in the community feel has gone by the wayside in this day and age.
- 45 Terrapin Station, 1172 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . M-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su noon-6PM. Since 1988, Buffalo's premier head shop has been encouraging locals of all stripes to (in the words of the radio spots that are all over the local airwaves) "stop in and say hi". A wide-ranging gamut of tobacco products, t-shirts and other clothing, tie-dyes, jewelry, incense and body oils, and new-age gifts such as crystals and tarot cards are available at Terrapin Station, all united by that distinctive aesthetic familiar to those who are still on that "long strange trip". Perhaps not surprisingly given the store's name, Terrapin Station is also Buffalo's foremost source for Grateful Dead-themed merchandise; concert tickets are also sold. Best of all, this eclectic selection is curated by a friendly, mellow staff that goes above and beyond to ensure that customers are well taken care of and have a pleasant shopping experience.
- 46 Virgil Avenue Tobacconist, 6 Virgil Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . M-F 11AM-10PM, Sa 10AM-10PM, Su noon-8PM. The Virgil Avenue Tobacconist's slogan proudly declares it to be "where the city smokes", and if local renown is a measure of quality, that's hardly an exaggeration. This one-stop shop just off Hertel offers everything the Buffalo smoking enthusiast could conceivably desire: imported cigarettes, pipes and pipe tobacco, rolling papers, loose cigarette tobacco, and — the main draw — a dizzying range of premium cigars shipped directly from factory to store. Ashton, Hemmingway, Arturo Fuentes, and Cohiba are only a few of the many brands to be found in Virgil Avenue's massive walk-in humidor. Also part of the package is the Rocky Patel Lounge, a cigar lounge with a large-screen HDTV, beverages including a complimentary coffee bar, and club-style seating for up to 20 people.
Delaware Avenue, Elmwood Avenue, and West Hertel
The portion of the Delaware and Elmwood Avenue corridors north of Park Meadow is characterized by a proliferation of suburban-style shopping centers and other "big box" retail, with many national chain stores and restaurants present.
- 47 Delaware Consumer Square is a large shopping center located on the west side of Delaware Avenue south of Hinman Avenue, anchored by Target. Other chains located in this plaza include Bath & Body Works, C. W. Price, OfficeMax, and Payless ShoeSource.
- 48 Delaware Place is a smaller plaza located directly across Delaware Avenue from Delaware Consumer Square. Metro Mattress is the main anchor store at this plaza.
- The Regal Elmwood Center is located on the east side of Elmwood Avenue about midway between Hertel and Hinman Avenues. It's anchored by the Regal Elmwood Center 16 movie theater, as well as an AutoZone outlet.
- The 49 Tops Plaza is the largest shopping center in North Buffalo, located on the east side of Elmwood Avenue directly north of the Regal Elmwood Center, abutting Delaware Consumer Square at its rear. Anchored by the namesake Tops supermarket, other stores here include Citi Trends, Famous Footwear, Fashion Bug, Party City, and Petsmart.
Clothing and accessories
- 53 Buffalo's Own Apparel and Footwear, 1412 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 25), ☎ . M-Th 10AM-9PM, F 10AM-10PM, Sa 11AM-11PM. Opened in July 2016 on Kenmore Avenue just a door down from the corner of Delaware, this men's and women's urban clothing boutique is owned by Joshua Barnes, a hardworking, ambitious aspiring rapper with a passion for helping the local African-American community achieve prosperity through entrepreneurship. Aside from the streetwise fashions he stocks at Buffalo's Own — t-shirts, ladies' tops, the latest in Nike and other name-brand sneakers, jeans, skirts, handbags and other accessories — Barnes also plans to open an on-site recording studio for local hip-hop and R&B artists.
- 54 Flying Anvil Metalworks, 51 Botsford Place (Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ . Tu-F noon-6, or by appointment. If you've followed your GPS from Hertel onto Botsford Place, you might think you've taken a wrong turn — Flying Anvil Metalworks is located in an anonymous brick industrial building surrounded by warehouses and big-rig parking lots. But appearances can be deceiving: inside, you'll find a bevy of unique, custom-made furniture, collectibles, architectural and interior elements, and objets d'art fashioned by owners Mollie Atkinson and Kenny Kash out of steel, copper, brass and aluminum. They'll work with you to fashion your own metal-art masterpiece whether it be functional or strictly decorative, or you can browse their ample selection of antique and collectible metal art made by others. Flying Anvil even does double duty as an exhibit space where local metal artists display their works.
- 55 Scime's Sausage, 2484 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . W-F 9AM-6:30PM, Sa 9AM-5:30PM. Scime's Sausage is an old-style meat market that's been sating hungry Buffalonians practically forever. Though a full range of meats is on offer at their butcher's counter, the specialty here is the homemade Italian sausage that owner Salvatore "Sam" Scime crafts daily from high-quality, specially-purchased pork shoulders, to which is added a blend of herbs, spices and flavorings including black pepper, fennel seed, fresh parsley and Romano cheese. As well, a range of Italian groceries is offered at Scime's that includes imported cheeses, olives, produce, pasta, and fresh, locally-baked Luigi's bread.
- 56 Delaware Camera, 2635 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 25), ☎ . M-F 9AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. A family-owned and operated Delaware Avenue mainstay since 1951, Delaware Camera is the dream come true of photo buffs from beginners to experts: this full-service camera store boasts a complete range of supplies for film, slide, and digital photographers, sold by a caring and knowledgeable staff who treat customers like family. The state of technology being what it is, Delaware Camera's specialty is digital photography, with top-of-the-line cameras and camcorders representing many major brands (a notable exception is Canon), as well as lenses, UV filters, flash mechanisms, tripods, camera cases, memory cards, and more. For old-schoolers, Delaware Camera also stocks a full range of film, slides and photo paper, and contains an on-site photo lab for developing prints. As well, the seasoned staff of Delaware Camera are experts at restoring your old photos to their former glory, either as prints or digitally. A 10% discount on paper, film, and photo chemicals is offered to college students.
The outer end of University Heights is dominated by the 57 University Plaza. Situated on the north side of Main Street between Kenmore and Springville Avenues, directly across from UB's South Campus, the University Plaza was the first suburban-style shopping center to be constructed in Erie County, with ground broken in 1939. The University Plaza contains a number of national chain stores and restaurants such as C. W. Price, Dots, Jimmy John's, and Radio Shack, as well as the Dipson Amherst Theatre, M&T Bank, and Tops supermarket.
It should be noted that the entire north side of Main Street east of Kenmore Avenue, including the University Plaza, is technically part of the Town of Amherst.
Clothing and accessories
- 58 Couture Boutique, 3142 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . M-Th & Sa 10AM-5PM. At this new University Heights fashion boutique on Main Street next to Pamela Inc., the name of the game is elegant, high-fashion formalwear including dresses, gowns, accessories and jewelry. Couture Boutique doesn't just sell clothes, though — they also do alterations, with quick service to boot. Needless to say, this is a popular place around prom season.
- 59 Greeks & Sneaks, 3230 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa noon-5PM. Greeks & Sneaks is not only a place for UB students to purchase or rent textbooks (at prices much more reasonable than the on-campus bookstore and sometimes even cheaper than Amazon), but it also doubles as a one-stop shop for all manner of college-themed clothing and gear. Dedicated UB football and basketball fans can find a full range of t-shirts, sweats, hoodies, and other items emblazoned with the Bulls logo. Greeks & Sneaks also offers fraternity and sorority swag, as well as silkscreen prints, embroidery, and a wide range of sneakers.
- 60 O'Connell's, 3240 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . M & Th 9:30AM-8PM, Tu-W & F-Sa 9:30AM-5:30PM. O'Connell's is a family-owned and operated clothier whose ambience is redolent of an earlier time in retail, featuring merchandise crafted with pride and skill and sold to the public by helpful salespeople dedicated to building friendly and lasting personal relationships with their customers. High-end men's formalwear is a specialty at O'Connell's; the suits, sportcoats, dress shirts, shoes, slacks, ties and accessories offered here are of a style that is a unique combination of staid conservatism and quirky individuality (witness, for example, cufflinks shaped like race cars and champagne bottles). Free alterations are provided with purchase, and O'Connell's also offers a range of women's wear and items for young men. Prices tend toward the higher-end, but you get what you pay for.
- 61 Pamela Inc., 3142 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-6PM. The vivacious Pam Alexander's eponymous women's clothing boutique may be small, but — as hinted at by the impeccable effort put into the fabulous window displays looking out onto Main Street — the selection here is vast, diverse, and constantly changing. The clothing at Pamela Inc. is characterized by fun, sassy fashions with bright colors and a chic urban style, but it's the selection of accessories that really distinguishes this place: handbags, belts, jewelry, scarves and sunglasses — and above all, what may be the city's best selection of women's hats — all take a prominent place among the merchandise at Pamela Inc. All major credit cards are accepted, as well as PayPal for online orders.
University Heights is heaven for comic book fans.
- 62 Iron Crown, 3077 Main St. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . W-Sa 11AM-6PM. Iron Crown may play perpetual second banana to its neighbor further up Main Street, Queen City Bookstore, but this smaller, more out-of-the-way comic store makes up for that with its reasonable prices, customer service that is arguably even more friendly and personable than Queen City's, and — above all — a full range of supplies for players of Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh, and other card games. Iron Crown also sells a variety of toys and collectibles.
- 63 Queen City Bookstore, 3184 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . M noon-7PM, Tu-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Calling themselves the "King of Comics", Queen City Bookstore is beyond a shadow of a doubt Buffalo's best-known and best-loved comic book store. Customers love the wide selection of comics available at Queen City, including traditional superhero titles, gritty graphic novels, quirky independent comics, kids' comics, and a dizzying array of back issues for completist collectors. This vast library, along with a diverse inventory of figurines, toys, collectibles, and comic collectors' supplies such as plastic sleeves and boards, is curated by a friendly staff headed by the legendary Emil Novak, who is well-known not only for providing knowledgeable, supremely helpful, and personal service to longtime regulars and newbies alike, but also for his involvement in local low-budget horror cinema and arranging comic conventions and other events around Buffalo. All titles are 20% off on Sundays and come with a free bag and board.
- 64 Parkside Candy, 3208 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-6PM, F-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su noon-8PM. A Buffalo institution since 1927, the Parkside Candy Company is the oldest and one of the largest locally-owned manufacturers and purveyors of fine candies in the area, distributing its products nationwide (including sponge candy, the local specialty that serves as their signature product). Though Parkside Candy operates five retail stores all over Erie County, the original location in the former Henkel Building in University Heights is the one that's nearest and dearest to Buffalonians' hearts. Walking into Parkside Candy is like stepping into another time, with a full range of chocolate truffles and cordials, peppermint patties, fudge, old-fashioned lollipops, and specialty items such as chocolate-covered popcorn and pretzels merchandized amid an Art Deco interior with Adamesque flourishes (designed as a conscious imitation of French confectionery stores) and the classic black-and-white checked tile floor. Best of all, Parkside Candy's Main Street location doubles as an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and soda fountain perfect for warm summer days. Gift baskets are available, as well as online orders.
- 65 Militello's Luggage, 3400 Main St. (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, W till 6PM. Since 1946, Militello's has provided travel-happy Buffalonians with a wide variety of high-quality luggage and travel accessories, as well as attaché cases, wallets and key cases, and other fine leather goods sold with a heaping side order of old-fashioned friendly customer service. Buffalo's only dedicated luggage store, Militello's selection fits all budgets and encompasses wheeled suitcases, duffle bags, tote bags and garment covers from renowned brands such as Briggs & Kelly, Travelpro, Eagle Creek and Hartmann. Militello's is also proud to offer comprehensive, experienced repair service for all types of luggage and leatherware. Customer parking is available at the rear of the building.
- 66 Music City Buffalo, 3236 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-7PM, F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5PM. Music City Buffalo is the place to go in University Heights to purchase or rent a wide variety of guitars, bass guitars, drum kits, brass band instruments, and other instruments, as well as amps, PA systems, effects pedals, and sheet music. The collection is curated by Vincent James Mastrantonio, a locally famous musician who heads up a staff that's famous for their friendly rapport with customers, their encyclopedic knowledge of Music City's products, and the great skill with which services such as tuning, repairs, pickup installations, and even private music lessons are performed. High-quality equipment from leading brands like Rickenbacker, Gretsch, Zildjian, and Marshall is not only sold at great prices, but also optimized for each customer by the same talented staff, with customized inspections and adjustments routinely performed before each sale to ensure that all instruments have the best sound possible. The renown in which Buffalo's community of musicians holds Music City is reflected in its recognition in Buffalo Spree magazine's annual "Best of Western New York" poll in both 2007 and 2008. Music City's staff is also happy to provide fair-market appraisals on a wide variety of instruments.
- 67 Speaker Shop, 3604 Main St., Amherst (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . M-F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. "All Roads Lead to Speaker Shop", so the slogan goes; the handsome store on Main Street just past the University Plaza that is one of Western New York's foremost destinations for high-end home stereo and theater systems, digital audio systems, headphones, speakers, and all manner of audio, video and media equipment. Customers praise the knowledgeable and pressure-free (if not always friendly) service provided by Speaker Shop's non-commissioned sales staff, who are on hand to direct customers among their slate of state-of-the-art, audiophile-grade products to the choice that's right for them. All the finest brands are represented here. As well, Speaker Shop offers comprehensive custom installation and repair services. Prices tend to be high, but you definitely get what you pay for.
Kenmore Avenue area
Though it's one of North Buffalo's main thoroughfares, Kenmore Avenue is quiet and largely residential. However, peppered among the brick apartment blocks and houses are a smattering of unpretentious neighborhood businesses — particularly in the vicinity of Colvin Boulevard.
- 68 Nickel City Shirt Co., 1106 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 11), ☎ . M-F 9AM-5PM. Located for many years on Kenmore Avenue near the corner of Colvin, the Nickel City Shirt Company offers customized embroidered and screen-printed T-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts, as well as hats, mouse pads, and other goods emblazoned with the design of your choice. "Quality Work at the Lowest Prices in Town" is the vow of founder Keith Marzec, and that's no lie — this place is highly regarded among Buffalonians.
- 69 Gino's Italian Bakery, 1104 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 11), ☎ . Tu-F 8AM-5PM, Sa 8AM-3PM, Su 8AM-2PM. Thankfully, though it moved in 2011 from its longtime location on the corner of Hertel and Saranac, nothing has changed about the homemade sweets and other baked goods with which Gino's Italian Bakery has enchanted Buffalonians for so long. A huge variety of authentic Italian pastries (try the pasticiotti, a perennial favorite among Gino's customers), delectable Italian cookies such as cuccidiati, giugiuleni, and Italian wedding cakes, and pastry platters and full-sized cakes for special occasions are all available here. Fresh, tasty loaves of Italian and French bread baked in-house, as well as what may be the best authentic tomato pie in the city, round out the selections at Gino's. The authenticity of the Italian bakery experience is matched by the prices, which really can't be beat.
Furniture and home decor
- 70 White's Baby and Teen Furniture, 1330 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 25), ☎ . M, Th & F 10AM-8PM; Tu, W & Sa 10AM-5PM. Western New York's oldest and largest store specializing in children's furniture, White's Baby & Teen Furniture was founded in 1939. It's that longevity in business that has enabled the staff here to not only select a wide range of high-quality products for all budgets, but to answer pretty much any question a customer may have about their products, make recommendations, special-order items that may not be in stock, and generally provide service that is among the most exceptional around. White's vast expanse of showroom space spans three floors and is jam-packed with items that cover the whole gamut — baby furniture and cribs, car seats, strollers, playpens, children's beds, dressers and armoires, lamps, and the list goes on. This wide selection is versatile enough to accommodate those on a budget as well as shoppers in search of higher-end items, including quality pieces from such brands as Graco, Stanley, DaVinci, and NaturePedic. White's also carries a modest range of children's clothing and accessories (including satin Christening gowns), bedding, and gifts.
- 71 Nick's Sporting Goods, 1212 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 11), ☎ . M 11AM-6PM, Tu-Th 11AM-8PM, F-Sa 11AM-5PM. What's available at Nick's is not the usual array of baseball bats and mitts, tennis rackets, and other such things. Though it dubs itself a "sporting goods store", this small, jam-packed North Buffalo storefront might be better described as a surprisingly comprehensive outdoor goods shop, with a full range of gear for hunters, fishermen (including live bait!), and sport shooters. That's all a prelude to the real raison d'être of Nick's, however, as Buffalo's premiere archery store. Not only does this place sell the best state-of-the-art archery gear, but customers can also come to Nick's for free adjustments to their bow, reasonably-priced repairs, and a comprehensive slate of archery lessons and New York State bowhunting education courses — a complete range of supplies and services for the Buffalo archer delivered by a staff that is friendly and knowledgeable. As well, Nick's provides free time on the indoor archery range located in their basement with the purchase of any bow.
The commercial corridors of Delaware and Elmwood Avenues cut parallel north-to-south swaths through the otherwise tranquil, upscale residential area of Park Meadow.
Retail in Park Meadow is dominated by 72 Marshall's Plaza, which is located on the west side of Delaware Avenue between Great Arrow Avenue and the Belt Line tracks, just behind the Pierce-Arrow Factory Complex. Aside from its namesake, Marshall's, the shopping center is anchored by locations of Dollar Tree, Dots, and The Shoe Dept.
- 73 Black Squirrel Distillery, 1595 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ . Open for special events (see website) or by appointment. Opened in February 2015 as the first of a glut of new craft distilleries set to open in Buffalo in the ensuing months, Black Squirrel Distillery is the brainchild of Jason Schwinger, otherwise known as the founder of BFLO Harbor Kayak and part-owner of Silo City Rocks! on Ganson Street. Black Squirrel is one of a very few producers of rum in New York State, and the only one in the country that uses maple syrup as the main ingredient rather than cane sugar — a peculiarity that was borne of the requirement that New York-based craft distillers source 75% of their ingredients from within the state, though no sugarcane is grown that far north. The end result grafts a subtle yet distinctive maple finish onto the flavor of what is otherwise a rather traditional amber rum. All the rums produced by Black Squirrel are handcrafted in small batches with meticulous attention to detail; distilled in a traditional copper-columned pot still then aged in oak barrels, the old-fashioned way. In the same vein, Black Squirrel also produces an unaged, 90-proof distilled spirit they call "mapleshine" — essentially what backwoods distillers would call "sugar shine", except with maple syrup in place of sugar. The small retail shop/tasting room is set up in the style of a speakeasy, an homage to Schwinger's great-grandparents who ran one on this very corner during Prohibition.
- 74 Carriage Trade Pastries, 1654 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ . Tu-F 8AM-5PM, Su 9AM-5PM. Carriage Trade Pastries is a charming little bakery founded in 1998 by Shandra and Andy Beutner and situated on Elmwood Avenue in the shadow of the old Pierce-Arrow factory. The staff here is not only uncommonly skilled in designing and baking some of the best cakes and pastries in Buffalo, but utterly friendly and accommodating to their customers' individual needs. In addition to supplying desserts to some of the finest restaurants in the Buffalo area, Carriage Trade's retail store is a great place to pick up delicious pastry items made from scratch, such as cookies, brownies, cinnamon rolls, muffins, sticky buns, scones, and more, all at prices that are surprisingly affordable given their quality. Pies, cakes and other specialty items are available too, but as this is a small operation that custom-designs all their cakes, these must be ordered at least a day in advance. A lunch counter is also present where a few light items such as soups, meatless chili, and quiche are on offer.
- 75 Gatti Jewelers, 1598 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ . M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 11AM-3PM. This small, friendly neighborhood jewelry store has been on the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Amherst Street since 2003. Gatti Jewelers' selection of bracelets, necklaces, earrings, watches, and other pieces is curated by an owner whose knowledge of gold and silver jewelry is encyclopedic. As well, Gatti does an impressive side business dealing in used musical instruments as well as accessories such as amplifiers. Estate sales are also handled.
Parkside, Central Park, and the Vernon Triangle
Though these neighborhoods are primarily residential, their eastern boundary — Main Street — is a commercial strip of increasing vibrancy. The business district is mostly concentrated around the corner of Amherst Street and the few blocks to the south, in the Vernon Triangle. Property values along the Metro Rail corridor began rising rapidly when plans for the downtown Medical Corridor were revealed to entail a paucity of parking and an emphasis on alternative methods of transportation, so look for the current array of nail salons and prepaid cell phone outlets to be replaced by more upscale businesses over the next few years.
There's another cluster of shops and restaurants at the corner of Parkside Avenue and Russell Street, across from the entrance to the Buffalo Zoo.
- 76 Illos Piano Restorations & Music Center, 2940 Main St. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . M-Th 10AM-6PM, F 10AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-3PM. It's doubtful that a traveler would come to Buffalo specifically to avail themselves of the thing that is this company's primary raison d'être — tuning, rebuilding, and restoring pianos — but dedicated musicians might be interested in knowing that Illos also sells a wide variety of new and high-quality used pianos from such brands as Yamaha, Steinway, Firth & Hall, and Goulding, as well as harpsichords and player pianos, and can arrange to have them transported from their shop on Main Street in Central Park to anywhere in the United States. If not, Illos also sells a full line of beautiful, 36-inch hardwood piano benches in a variety of finishes, accessories such as piano covers and wheel and tripod casters, and — best of all — a huge selection of sheet music. Illos has been in business since 1961, and their reputation is such that they have sold or restored pianos for clients as prestigious as the Chautauqua Institution and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, as well as dozens and dozens of Western New York high schools and colleges.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
As might be expected in Little Italy, Italian restaurants predominate on Hertel Avenue (though the offerings have diversified considerably of late). Aficionados of fine dining won't have trouble finding a place here, but as a general rule, the cuisine tends toward the homestyle, humble, pasta-with-red-sauce variety. In addition, Hertel Avenue has many pizzerias that do mostly take-out or delivery business; these are listed below. Finally, the west end of the strip, near Delaware Avenue, boasts a handful of Middle Eastern groceries-cum-restaurants where shawarma, falafel, and other such dishes are served.
- 1 Bertha's Diner, 1430 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-Th & Sa 7AM-3PM, F 7AM-8PM, Su 8AM-3PM. Bertha's, which according to its slogan is "the diner that takes you back a few years", is a '50s-style affair that's located right next door to the North Park Theater. Open daily for breakfast and lunch and till 8PM on Fridays, Bertha's serves standard diner fare at unbeatable prices. The lunch menu is dominated by standard fare — burgers (monikers of selections such as the "James Dean", the "Davey Crockett", and the "Buddy Holly" continue in the '50s theme), club sandwiches, and similar items, as well as salads, wraps, and simple entrees. Full breakfasts comprise delicious omelettes, egg sandwiches, buttermilk pancakes and "Buffalo's best Belgian waffle", and weekly specials are offered. Cash only. $10-20.
- 2 Bob & John's La Hacienda, 1545 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight. A newly remodeled dining area boasting several high-definition flat-screen TVs which are inevitably tuned to the big game (this place is understandably popular during Bills and Sabres seasons) is the setting where patrons of Bob & John's La Hacienda enjoy simple yet delicious items such as subs, wraps, burritos, a small selection of salads, pizza, and stromboli. A particular specialty at Bob & John's is the chicken wings, which come in a wide variety of delicious sauces including classic Buffalo, barbeque, Cajun, and Jamaican jerk (boneless "wingdings" are also available). A modest range of simple entrees, comprising mostly pasta dishes as well as a locally renowned fish fry that's available on Fridays, is also on offer; at lunchtime, a buffet is offered featuring pizza, soup and salad. $10-25.
- 3 Café on the Avenue, 1240 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Daily 7AM-3PM. At the former home of Sister's African Cuisine, an interesting but ultimately failed experiment in acquainting Buffalonians with Liberian food has given way to one of the best breakfast joints on Hertel. The aptly named Café on the Avenue hops during the morning hours with a full menu of breakfast sandwiches and burritos (huge!), omelets, pancakes, French toast, and egg-and-breakfast meat platters, but the flagship item here is homemade donuts, prepared by what is proudly cited as "the first Donut Robot in the Buffalo area" and available in quite a few more varieties than you'll find at your average Tim Hortons or Dunkin' Donuts. At lunchtime, the slate of options transitions into classic American diner fare: no surprises on the menu, but everything's reliably good. Service can be hit-or-miss, but the price is right, plus the ambience is a solid improvement over the old days of Sister's: the reconfigured interior is spacious and airy, and the kitchen is open, with all the food prepared freshly before your eyes. $10-20.
- 4 Chennai Express, 1460 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-Th 11:30AM-10:30PM, F-Sa 10:30AM-11:30PM. Newly moved from the downtown Theater District to the former home of Taste of Thai on Hertel Avenue, the lion's share of the menu at Chennai Express is made up of vegetarian specialties of South India, including a wide variety of dosas (crêpes made with rice and lentil flour) stuffed variously with mashed potatoes, lentils, paneer cheese, and spices, as well as uttapams (somewhat similar to dosas, but thicker and doughier like pizza crust, with a variety of vegetable toppings baked right into the batter). Also on the menu are a variety of vegetable curries, rice-based dishes, pakora fritters, and a small selection of meat dishes which consist mostly of familiar North Indian standards such as vindaloo and butter chicken. Those who are familiar with authentic Indian cuisine will be pleased with the flavors at Chennai Express but will probably find the food less spicy than they're used to. Portions are generous and service is extremely friendly, if sometimes slow. $10-25.
- 5 Gramma Mora's, 1465 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-Tu 4PM-9PM, W-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-11PM, Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 2PM-9PM. Owned for over 30 years by the Mora family, Gramma Mora's has been a mainstay of Hertel Avenue since it moved here in 1996. Despite the legions of Buffalonians — including reviewers for Buffalo Spree and Artvoice — who sing the praises of this place's pleasantly mediocre Tex-Mex fare, it is undeniable that Gramma Mora's has been going steadily downhill for the past ten years or so. Still, the food is far from bad, and even by Buffalo standards, the portion sizes are very generous for the price. $10-20.
- 6 House of Hummus, 1150 Hertel Ave., ☎ . M-W 11AM-10PM, Th-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 10AM-7PM. House of Hummus launched in the summer of 2016 in the former home of like-minded establishment Manakeesh & More, and quickly took a place near the top of the echelon of the Middle Eastern restaurants and specialty grocers that have clustered around the west end of the Hertel strip. This family-owned eatery is headed by Ahmed Hamideh, a native of Palestine serving up Jerusalem-style specialties, and the keys to House of Hummus' greatness are time-tested old-world cooking techniques and flavors that are intricate, well-balanced, and above all, authentic. The menu is not the most extensive in the world, but it covers all the bases: the twin centerpieces are the titular chickpea dip (large platters come topped with tahini, garlic, olive oil, and — optionally — shawarma meat) as well as what the owner describes as "Western New York's fluffiest falafel" (the fluffiness is due to the absence of pine nuts, and the indelible aroma of fresh parsley elevates it a cut above what you can get elsewhere in Buffalo). For main courses, chicken and beef shawarma is the most popular item on the menu, marinated overnight in a mix of red wine, vinegar, olive oil, and a secret blend of spices and topped in a delicious house-special sauce; gyro, shish kebabs, and a variety of salads are also on offer. As you might imagine, vegetarians and vegans will find an uncommonly ample range of choices, and if you're not in the mood for Middle Eastern food, they also make a mean Philly cheesesteak. Portions are generous, service is attentive and brimming with old-fashioned friendliness, and the restaurant itself is clean but small, with only a few tables in the dining room (thankfully, take-out and delivery are offered). $10-25.
- 7 Joe's Deli, 1322 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-Sa 10:30AM-8:30PM, Su 10:30AM-4:30PM. Joe's Deli is the brainchild of Joseph Lyons, and is located in the handsome brick storefront on the corner of Hertel and Colvin that was formerly home to Mastman's Kosher Deli, a longstanding, iconic linchpin of the formerly burgeoning Jewish community in North Buffalo (the old Mastman's sign is still perched above the corner entrance). Though the business hasn't stayed completely true to its predecessor — this food isn't Kosher, and traditional Jewish sandwiches such as corned beef, pastrami, and Reuben are joined on the menu by a range of other sandwiches such as muffaletta, Cuban, and a concoction of grilled vegetables and herb cream cheese on a hoagie roll dubbed the Johnny Be Good — the emphasis on freshness and flavor at Joe's has inspired many locals to name it as the purveyor of the best deli sandwiches in Buffalo. Most interesting of all, however, are the wraps, whose variety is truly striking: a Thai chicken wrap, a Greek wrap consisting of feta cheese, olives, and fresh vegetables in Greek dressing, and a hummus wrap are among the offerings. $10-15.
- 8 La Kueva, 1260 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-W 11AM-9PM, Th-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-8PM. A small family-run restaurant with a modest menu, La Kueva nonetheless made a big splash in May 2013 when it became the latest in a long list of multiethnic eateries to chip away at the official designation of Hertel Avenue as Buffalo "Little Italy". Owner Luis Martinez's desire was to bring the subtle, delightful flavors of Puerto Rican cuisine out of the barrio and into the larger Buffalo restaurant scene; in a recent write-up on buffalo.com, he remarked: "My people... already know about [Puerto Rican] food. I want to attract the Italians, the white people of North Buffalo and introduce them" to it. La Kueva is already receiving rave reviews from Buffalonians for its take on Hispano-Caribbean favorites like pollo guisado, pastelones, and various tropical drinks, but for less adventurous diners, a range of sandwiches is available as well. $5-15.
- 9 Lone Star Fajita Grill, 1853 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . M-Tu 11AM-9PM, W-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-8PM. Lone Star Fajita Grill has been a North Buffalo institution for what seems like forever. Simple but excellent Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes at prices that can't be beat (nothing on the menu costs more than $3!) are served up at this sparsely decorated dive at the east end of the Hertel Avenue strip. Cash only. Under $10.
- 10 New Moon Café, 1685 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . Tu-Su 7:30AM-3PM. From Bertha's to The Kitchen Table to the Café on the Avenue, over the past few years Hertel has earned a reputation as one of the best places in Buffalo to enjoy a nice homestyle breakfast. Carrying that trend forward on the east end of the strip is the New Moon Café, a ski-season favorite among winter sports aficionados in Keystone, Colorado whose second, year-round location opened up concurrently with owner Barbara Blanchard's move back to her hometown in summer 2017. To be precise, both breakfast and lunch are served up with equal aplomb at this newly built place across from the Lexington Co-op: unpretentious yet subtly upscale café fare in a no-frills environment that's cozy and often cramped yet pleasantly airy and well-lit. You head up to the counter as soon as you enter, and if it's a morning pick-me-up you're after, the breakfast options display a pronounced debt to Southwestern cuisine: standouts include a selection of generously-proportioned breakfast burritos (cheese and black bean optionally topped with chili sauce; a combination of ham, bacon, and not-terribly-spicy chorizo sausage dubbed the "Hawg") as well as "Huevos de la Luna" (New Moon's take on huevos rancheros). Lunchtime, for its part, presents a menu replete with panini sandwiches named for the owner's favorite rock stars (i.e. the "Tina Turner" packs a delightful zing; turkey and provolone cheese topped with banana peppers, black olives, and mayo). Then take a seat and staff will deliver your food to you when it's ready. Service is friendly and the food is delicious, but prices are a bit steep for what you get, and they really nickel and dime you for extras and add-ons (the dollop of chili sauce on the breakfast burritos will set you back $2.50, for instance). $15-25.
- 11 Shish Kabab Express, 1207 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . Daily 11AM-9PM. A simply magnificent place to eat. Buffalo's first Iraqi restaurant, Shish Kabab Express serves all the standards of Middle Eastern cuisine — shawarma, falafel, tabbouleh — as well as unusual specialties unique to the cuisine of Iraq, such as quzi and Iraqi-style kebabs. As well, Shish Kabab Express stands out among the crowd of similar places at the west end of Hertel by offering a small range of South Asian specialties such as beef and chicken tikka. The food here is fresh and authentic, with 100% halal meat, and all the bread served at Shish Kabab Express (including the samoon, a staple of Iraqi cuisine) is baked fresh on the premises. The kicker is the prices, which, according to one reviewer, are often "cheaper than a fast-food combo meal". $10-25.
- 12 Belsito, 1368 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-Tu 11AM-2PM, W-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 11AM-7PM. Striking a blow for the continuing Italian-ness of Little Italy — which is being gradually eroded by the diversification of dining options on Hertel — is Belsito, which opened up shop in late 2013 in the storefront formerly occupied by Gino's Italian Bakery, at the heart of the strip. Belsito's website loudly trumpets their "unique foods made from Italian cured meats and cheeses", which is an accurate description of its modest-sized, decidedly "lunchy" menu. A range of appetizer salads and cheese-and-cold-cut plates are on offer, the latter of which are served with fresh homemade bread and side salads, but the bulk of the menu consists of a mouth-watering selection of sandwiches and panini featuring various combinations of imported Italian charcuterie and cheeses of impeccable quality. Call the menu a one-trick pony if you want, but Belsito sticks to what it does well and earns raves from local foodies as a result. To drink is a dazzling selection of imported Italian wines, reputedly the best in the city, but the equally expansive beer list includes only a few imports — it's given over mostly to craft beers from regional microbrewers such as Southern Tier, Ellicottville, the Brooklyn Brewery, and Buffalo's own Flying Bison and Community Beer Works. Best of all, Belsito is far less crowded than it ought to be, which makes for excellent service and ample opportunities to chat up the friendly, ever-present owners. $15-40.
- 13 Burning Buffalo Bar & Grill, 1504 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . Su-Th 3PM-midnight, F-Sa 3PM-2AM. Almost inarguably the one event in Buffalo's history that's best-known to locals, that's most widely taught to area schoolchildren, is the Battle of Buffalo, which saw the then-frontier outpost burned to the ground by British troops during the War of 1812. Most locals consider this to be the darkest day in the history of the city. However, in naming his new Hertel Avenue restaurant after the battle, owner George Kotsis pays tribute to the proud, gritty determination of the villagers who hung tough and rebuilt Buffalo from the ground up — much the same as the current crop of Buffalonians who stuck it out during the decline of the last half-century and are now helping the city bring itself back from ruins once again. Speaking of rebirths, the Burning Buffalo team did a complete overhaul of the interior of the old Shadow Lounge — gone is the dim lighting, bright red wallpaper, and claustrophobic ambience in favor of a bright and airy dining room where white walls are accented by dark wood trim and flooring, for an end result that's equal parts Japanese tea room and where-everybody-knows-your-name neighborhood watering hole. Unfortunately, the place gets very loud when the crowds start coming in, so if you're looking for a quiet, intimate night out, this maybe isn't the place for you. The rule of thumb on the short but sweet menu is pub grub brought a bit upscale, but not too far — Burning Buffalo is not a dive by any means, but it's no cooler-than-thou "new Buffalo" hipster hangout either — with an emphasis on bison and other game meat. For example, check out the bison meatloaf, which comes in a delicious gravy made with stout beer and roasted asparagus and smashed potatoes on the side, and the build-your-own burger option, which is the most popular item on the menu and the place where the creativity of head chef Chris Silverstein (late of Allentown's Lagniappe's) comes out in full force: choose from over 20 cheeses, vegetable toppings, and condiments to go with a patty of either premium ground steak, ground bison, or a daily chef's selection of wild game (anything from alligator to wild boar to ostrich). On the appetizer list, fried pickles come with garlic mayo, and the caprese skewers are pretty much exactly what they sound like. Everything comes in generous portions, and prices are surprisingly reasonable. On the other hand, if you're just here for a drink, you've got a long beer list that keeps things a lot less pretentious than many of the new spots that have opened in Buffalo of late — the options are divided about evenly between run-of-the-mill domestics and imports, with a few craft beers to make things interesting — as well as some really nice upscale specialty cocktails. $15-40.
- 14 CRāVing, 1472 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-10PM. Situated at the heart of the Hertel strip at the former location of La Dolce Vita, CRāVing is a brand-new restaurant operated by Jennifer and Adam Goetz. Fans of the Goetz's former restaurant, Allentown's sadly missed Sample, will feel right at home here, with a creative menu whose accent, appropriately enough for "Little Italy", is on fresh and creative interpretations of Italian cuisine, including delicious homemade pizza. That's not to say that Italian food is CRāVing's sole focus by any means — selections here are as diverse as the German-inspired entrée of pork belly with mustard caviar and rye spätzle, and appetizers such as lobster poutine (!) and buttermilk-fried chicken with grits and sautéed collard greens. Lunch is a more easygoing affair, with a huge sandwich board hanging proudly on the wall. $15-55.
- 15 Deep South Taco, 1707 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F 11AM-midnight, Sa 10AM-midnight, Su 10AM-11PM. This second location of Richard Hamilton's taco emporium opened in January 2017 in a former oil-change garage on the up-and-coming east end of the Hertel Avenue strip, with the same menu of Mexican cuisine that splits the difference between authenticity and creative culinary fusion as the downtown location: a decent selection of tacos ranging from familiar but well-executed favorites (fish, carne asada, al pastor) to harder-to-find specialties (pork belly, guajillo-braised beef short rib, Yucatán-style pollo pibil steamed in banana leaf) to vegetarian options filled with potatoes or huitlacoche corn, and a smaller selection of other south-of-the-border favorites. As well, the decor is toned down quite a bit from Ellicott Street's psychedelic sensory overload, so if rotating lucha libre masks and LED light shows aren't your cup of tea, opt for Deep South Taco's North Buffalo location. $15-30.
- 16 Jewel of India, 1264 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Daily 11:30AM-2:30PM and 4:30PM-10PM. Given that Jewel of India is run by the same people who own India Gate on Elmwood Avenue and Taste of India in Amherst, patrons of this brand-new addition to the Hertel Avenue strip can expect the same healthy, high-quality fare here as at those other fine establishments. Jewel of India boasts an extensive menu featuring beef, chicken, lamb, shrimp and vegetarian entrees; diners enjoy their meal in a lovely, spacious, and impeccably decorated dining room. Lunch and dinner buffets are also available. $15-35.
- 17 Kostas, 1561 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . M-Th 6:30AM-midnight, F-Sa 6:30AM-1AM, Su 8AM-11PM. Of Buffalo's many, many Greek diners and family restaurants, Kostas has one of the most interesting and extensive menus. Since 1977, Kostas Family Restaurant has been serving familiar standbys such as souvlaki, gyro, and Greek salad, as well as harder-to-find Greek specialties such as tirokafteri and taramosalata. Sandwiches, burgers, pasta, and other such fare is also on offer, as is a modest selection of wines. $10-35.
- 18 La Tavola Trattoria, 1458 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM. "Tavola" in Italian means "table", and as the owners of La Tavola Trattoria like to say, "there's always something good on the table". The storefront at 1458 Hertel didn't miss a beat after the closure of longtime neighborhood fixture the North End Trattoria in late 2012, with its new owners setting up shop here not long afterward. La Tavola differentiates itself from the myriad other Italian restaurants on Hertel with a Creole-fusion style that owners Victor Cali and Pat Gentile refer to as "New Orleans Italian", with entrées such as shrimp, sausage and chicken in Cajun cream sauce over homemade pasta combining several meats and diverse flavors for a result that's often bolder and spicier than traditional Italian fare. The pride of La Tavola, their expansive 100% wood-fired pizza oven, turns out not only delicious homemade pizzas (which tend more toward the traditional Italian side of the spectrum, perhaps more so than any other place in Buffalo) but also other specialties such as stuffed peppers. Sandwiches and burgers are also available in an ambience that is airy, modern, and impeccably decorated. $20-45.
- 19 Lloyd Taco Factory, 1503 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-2AM. Lloyd's rise to the top of the Buffalo food truck heap was so meteoric that it was perhaps inevitable that they'd follow it up with a brick-and-mortar restaurant: in the five years before this über-popular Hertel Avenue spot's 2015 opening, Lloyd went from launching a struggling operation serving a citizenry who barely knew what food trucks were and where their legal status was uncertain, to a local culinary institution in a town where Mighty Taco long ruled the roost when it came to Mexican food. The "high-end food and service at street-level prices" credo under which Lloyd's trucks operate applies equally to the Taco Factory: the menu combines a curated selection of the most popular options from the truck (now if you want your fix of Tricked Out Nachos or the "Dirty South" dessert burrito, you know exactly where to find it on any given day) with some interesting new creations (the "El Hombre" quesadilla is probably the most popular of these, with chorizo lending a smoky aroma to a cheese-based filling that also includes potato, onion, and avocado crema, while the "Mexicali Spring Rolls" sees Lloyd dabbling in Asian fusion, stuffed with a cheese and mushroom mixture spiced up ever-so-slightly with charred poblano pepper with two different sauces for dipping). No matter what you order, you can be sure that it's done up right: everything is made with free-range, antibiotic- and hormone-free meats and locally grown produce and served on house-made corn tortillas made through the traditional nixtamalization process. There's also a full cocktail bar with the best selection of mezcal in town, plus a wealth of specialty cocktails that are a bit pricey but worth it. It bears emphasizing that this is one of the most popular new restaurants in Buffalo — waits of over two hours for tables are not uncommon at peak days and times, and reservations aren't accepted, so maybe save Lloyd for when you're hungry outside of normal lunch or dinner hours. $10-35.
- 20 Mac's, 1435 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Su-W 11AM-midnight, Th-Sa 11AM-2AM. Bucking the trend toward the upscale that Hertel's dining scene (and that of Buffalo as a whole) has seen lately, this new spot in the former Empire Grill is unpretentious and unabashedly party-oriented — with loud, thumping Top 40 music on the stereo, a huge oval bar ringed with big-screen TVs, and a menu consisting of largely of familiar pub grub with some local twists. At Mac's, you can indulge in some pretty well-executed burgers and hot sandwiches, chicken wings that tend to be a bit spicier than normal, and a range of "Trash Plates" — their Buffalo-ified version of Rochester-style garbage plates, with Sahlen's frankfurters taking the place of Zweigle's white hots, and Weber's horseradish mustard taking the place of the regular yellow stuff. If you're a bit hungrier, there's also a small selection of full-size mains that bring out a more refined touch: various steaks and chops including a chicken-fried Delmonico, fish and chicken dishes, and a Thai noodle bowl with your choice of meat. Mac's is a pretty huge place — with two floors of seating, you can take your pick of a view of Hertel Avenue out the picture windows at street level, a bird's-eye perspective of the revelry below on the upper balcony, and a pleasant second-floor patio that rivals the Pearl Street Brewery's in size and provides a welcome respite from the thundering din inside — and the impeccable service is more befitting a luxurious black-tie restaurant. $15-55.
- 21 Més Que, 1420 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 5PM-10PM. Opened in April 2012 with a name that echoes the slogan of FC Barcelona, Més Que is the first establishment of its kind in Buffalo: a sports bar and restaurant dedicated entirely to soccer. The owners of Més Que, whose other businesses around town include the longstanding West Side fine dining destination Left Bank, have been fans of Buffalo's NPSL club since its foundation, and the state of affairs at this official soccer bar of FC Buffalo is lively and crowded — never more than during one of the soccer matches shown frequently on the flat-screen TVs behind the bar. You'll swear you were in Europe. The menu is small in size but outstanding in quality, with elegant pizzas, panini, pasta dishes, cheese and charcuterie plates, and heartier entrees that represent the cuisine of the Mediterranean, and Spain in particular. Even more impressive are the offerings at the bar, with a wine list of impressive size and a beer selection that draws heavily on imports and local and regional microbrews. $20-30.
- 22 Public House of Buffalo, 1206 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . Tu-Su 11:30AM-11PM. In 2014, when Frank and Sara Testa were finally ready to strike out on their own after years spent working their way up the rungs of the Buffalo restaurant scene, they happened upon the Hertel Avenue storefront most recently occupied by the short-lived Canvas @ 1206, and the Public House of Buffalo was born (just in time for the Italian Festival that year!) They really did a spectacular job remodeling the place, installing a bar whose top is made from wood salvaged from wharf piers that were excavated during the construction of Canalside and hanging works by local artists on the wall for a finished product that's cozy yet airy, classy yet unmistakably pub-like. What's served at the Public House of Buffalo is, first and foremost, a huge selection of beer, available on draft as well as in cans and bottles — microbrews dominate some 80 entries on the beer list, including locally-produced craft beers from Flying Bison and the Resurgence Brewery. If you're overwhelmed by all the choices, never fear: the bartenders are helpful and knowledgeable about their stock, and will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. As for the food, they describe it as "elevated pub fare" — classic bar food kicked up a notch with creative gourmet twists. For example, chicken fingers come milanese style and are served with a side of pesto aioli — and what would a Western New York bar be without chicken wings, tossed in barbeque or classic Buffalo sauce as well as options like Sriracha sesame sauce or Chiavetta's marinade. Owner Frank's roots as a Chautauqua County farm boy come out in his emphasis on locally-sourced farm-to-table produce, so if you're in the mood for a salad, expect to see seasonal ingredients and enjoy farm-fresh flavors. $10-30.
- 23 Romeo & Juliet's Caffe and Bakery, 1292 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Tu-Th 10:30AM-9PM, F-Sa 10:30AM-10PM. The owners of Romeo and Juliet's are a family of first-generation immigrants who have many years of experience working in genuine Italian bakeries and kitchens, and with this charming restaurant that's been open on Hertel since 1998, they've recreated that experience to the delight of Buffalonians who flock here to enjoy light Italian fare such as pizza, panini and simple entrees, and a range of fresh, flavorful appetizers. The menu is filled out with such delightful selections as a wide and interesting gamut of salads and bruschettas and a small range of pasta dishes; the panini are especially good, a slate of delectable and creative options whose names, appropriately enough, are tributes to some of the great painters of Europe (check out the Picasso, described on the menu as "an artwork of prosciutto crudo, soppressata, capicolla, salami and mozzarella"). Also, don't forget to visit the bakery, where cannoli, gelato, tiramisu, and other marvelously prepared Italian pastries and desserts are sold. $15-25.
- 24 The Sterling, 1487 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . M-F 4PM-3AM, Sa-Su noon-4AM. The old Sterling Place Tavern was reborn in July 2015 under new ownership — namely Kevin Brinkworth, also known as one of the duo behind Elmwood Avenue's sorely missed Blue Monk — and there are more than a few cues taken from the Blue Monk experience at this brand-new North Buffalo destination. For instance, the popular duck fries appetizer — hand-cut French fries cooked in duck fat — was imported lock, stock and barrel from Elmwood, and the several dozen local and regional craft beers available on tap and in bottles mines much the same territory as well. However, by and large the focus on the menu here is not the Belgian and Northern French gastropub fare that was Blue Monk's stock in trade, but rather an eclectic selection of homemade, gourmet sausages. Featured sausage selections at The Sterling change periodically, but typically include such offbeat, exotic "rare game" blends as wild boar with cranberry and red wine, smoked bison with Burgundy and thyme, and duck with foie gras and Sauterne wine. Elsewhere on the small but impressive menu is a slate of combo platters of locally-produced, somewhat less hoity-toity (but still delicious) Wardynski's sausages with various toppings and sides, a selection of mac & cheese mains with a variety of toppings, and familiar yet well-executed pub grub such as wings, sandwiches, and burgers, the latter of which are especially accoladed. Perhaps most impressive of all, though, are the renovations that have been done here: far from the dank dive it used to be, The Sterling of today boasts a fully redone interior decorated with a copious collection of antique "breweriana" and mementos from the Brinkworth family's nearly century-long tenure in the local restaurant industry — check out the 1901 Ludwig & Company piano that was originally commissioned for the Pan-American Exposition, and the circa-1890 back bar that the owner purchased from the hosts of the A&E television series American Pickers. $15-30.
- 25 Wing Kings, 1281 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-11PM, Sa 12:30PM-11PM, Su 12:30PM-10:30PM. Here in Buffalo's Italian-American stronghold, it's no surprise that pizza fanatics have their choice of a multitude of places to call out for delivery of a steaming-hot pie — and of course, chicken wings are (locally, at least) the classic side dish that's always ordered alongside delivery pizza. But, in this birthplace of the chicken wing, why has there never been a takeout-and-delivery outfit that specializes in wings? Maybe one that doesn't even have pizza on the menu at all? That's precisely the niche that was filled in October 2016 with the opening of Wing Kings on Hertel Avenue. You might think of this place as the Baskin-Robbins of chicken wings, because they offer 31 flavors of deliciousness, each of which is further customizable in that all sauces, not just classic Buffalo-style, come in your choice of mild, medium or hot. (Fans of that smoky char you sometimes see can also order them finished on the grill for a $1 upcharge.) There are quite a few places in Buffalo that try to put their own stamp on the well-worn concept of the chicken wing by offering specialty flavors of their own creation, but none of them can touch Wing Kings for sheer creativity: whether it be the unusual sweet-and-savory flavor combination of the loganberry wings, the Puerto Rican aroma of the adobo, or the slate of Asian-inspired sauces such as General Tso, sweet and sour, and orange, these are taste sensations you'll find nowhere else in Buffalo. The most popular options seem to be the lemon pepper and Jamaican jerk, but you really can't go wrong no matter what you choose. Elsewhere on the menu there's a selection of specialty burgers and grilled chicken sandwiches, baked mac & cheese available as a side order, and surprisingly authentic pastelillos; afterthoughts for sure, but tasty nonetheless. And if you're still hungry after the main course, you might try their out-of-this-world banana pudding, but a more thematically appropriate choice would be — yes — their selection of "dessert wings": choose between peanut butter & jelly, Nutella, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, sweet & salty, Fluffernutter, s'mores, and Captain Crunch-berry. $15-30.
- 26 Ristorante Lombardo, 1198 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM; lunch F 11:30AM-2:30PM. At the center of the action on Hertel Avenue, Ristorante Lombardo calls their food "the best Italian in Buffalo", a claim that is hard to refute given the extensive menu of elegant and authentic Italian dishes served to patrons in a setting that is among the most exquisite and upscale on Hertel. Ristorante Lombardo boasts a full bar and patio and an expansive wine list. $15-65.
The following local chains have locations on or near Hertel Avenue. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.
- 27 Louie's Texas Red Hots, 2350 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ .
- 28 Marco's Italian Deli, 1518 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . M-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 11AM-4PM.
- 29 Vasilis Express, 1900 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . Daily 10AM-9PM.
2017 will go down in North Buffalo history as the year when Hertel Avenue became the premier summertime destination in Buffalo for aficionados of ice cream and other frozen goodies, with two new shops opening within a couple weeks of each other and a third one just a few months later.
- 30 Churn Soft Serve, 1501 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . Daily 8AM-11PM. Celebrating its grand opening in June of that year, this newest of Hertel Avenue's trio of 2017-vintage ice cream shops serves as a sort of "sister brand" to Lloyd, the longstanding taco truck mini-empire whose flagship brick-and-mortar restaurant is located just next door. Unlike at its competitors listed below, soft serve is the specialty of the house at Churn: unlike anywhere else in Western New York, the base is made entirely from scratch using locally-sourced milk and cream, then flavored in both standard (vanilla, chocolate) as well as creative (matcha, vegan coconut) varieties, and finally served in your choice of a paper cup or a house-baked waffle cone. If you're after something a bit more elaborate, Churn's menu also boasts a range of specialty sundaes (the "Gramma Angie" — vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate chips, cookie crumbles, and cream cheese icing — is an early favorite) as well as "Churned Ups", which are basically the house version of Dairy Queen's "Blizzard" treats; four perennials plus a special mix that changes weekly. And on rainy days, Churn has its customers better covered than the competition, with an ample-sized dining room cheerily decorated in bright pinks and yellows.
- 31 Hertel Avenue Poutine and Cream, 1488 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-Sa 11:30AM-midnight, Su 11:30AM-11PM. In tandem with the opening of Lake Effect Ice Cream's second location at the east end of the strip, the owners of the Allen Street Poutine Company in Allentown inaugurated their own second location in May 2017, next door to Family Video in the heart of the Hertel action. As the name Hertel Avenue Poutine and Cream attests, the accent here is not only on the original's titular Canadian fast-food specialty but also on a selection of high-quality, homemade ice cream treats. The poutine selection will delight fans of the Allentown location: you'll find most of the same varieties (the General Tso's, for instance, and the ever-popular Montreal smoked meat), some new creations exclusive to Hertel, and even some poutines that were discontinued from the old location only to be revived here (namely the gargantuan "Boss Poutine" topped with steak, chicken, pulled pork, ground beef, and bacon). In all cases, the execution is with the same aplomb as always. Where it goes awry, specifically in terms of the price point, is with the ice cream: $8-9 for a heaping, filling bowl of poutine made with high-quality ingredients remains as good a deal as ever, but to charge equally as much for a milkshake (even if served in a Mason jar with a selection of creative toppings; these guys call them "Freak Shakes") will perturb those accustomed to the budget prices at Allen Street. Elsewhere on the dessert menu you'll find "creamy buns" (one of North Buffalo's own Famous Doughnuts hollowed out and stuffed with your choice of ice cream) as well as regular old ice cream by the (disappointingly small) scoop. As well, the lack of outdoor seating makes the postage-stamp size of the indoor dining room all the more problematic — takeout would perhaps be a wise choice for those interested in patronizing this place. $10-25.
- 32 Lake Effect Ice Cream, 1900 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle). Daily 11AM-10PM. It's a testament to the quality of the product that Lake Effect co-owners Jason Wulf and Erik Bernardi have sold since 2008 that their original ice cream shop in historic but out-of-the-way downtown Lockport consistently drew a huge crowd of folks from Buffalo. Matters were helped somewhat when pints of their locally produced artisanal ice cream began to appear in the freezer sections of local supermarkets, but all the same, the announcement that the old Vasilis Express at the far east end of the Hertel strip would soon become the second Lake Effect location came as welcome news to locals who could now enjoy their sweet summer treats some 30 minutes closer to home. Was the anticipation worth it? Judging from the lines that have continued to snake out the door onto the sidewalk ever since their Memorial Day 2017 opening, locals certainly think so. Unlike its Hertel Avenue competitors, Lake Effect doesn't divert away any of its attention to poutine, tacos, or any other interloping foodstuff: here it's all ice cream, all the time — some two dozen varieties thereof, all locally made at their own facility in Lockport with ingredients sourced from Western New York farms, and many of which draw on the unique elements of local cuisine for inspiration (the Paula's Glazed Donut flavor incorporates chunks of its namesake ingredient into a honey glaze-flavored ice cream, the Loganberry ice cream reflects Buffalo's soft drink of choice, and the delectable Icewine Sherbet is an homage to the famous specialty of the vintners of the nearby Niagara Peninsula). For something completely different, try the ineffable Black Sesame flavor, though don't wear a white shirt while doing so! Ice cream comes in one, two, or three scoops, is served in generous portions in your choice of a dish or waffle cone, and comes with all the standard toppings. For those in search of something more elaborate, homemade ice cream sandwiches and cannoli, build-your-own and specialty sundaes, floats, and other options are available (no milkshakes, though). For best results, order at the indoor counter rather than the walk-up window on the patio; however, seating is outdoor only — not so good for rainy days. $5-10.
The following pizzerias are located on or near Hertel Avenue. 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.
- 33 Avenue Pizza, 1116 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . M-Tu 10AM-11PM, W-Sa 10AM-midnight, Su noon-11PM.
- 34 Daddio's, 1247 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-Th 10AM-2AM, F-Sa 10AM-3AM, Su 10AM-10PM.
- 35 Just Pizza, 2350 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM.
- 36 La Pizza Club, 1511 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F 11AM-midnight, Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-9PM.
- 37 Zip's Wiseguys Pizza, 1341 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Daily 11AM-3AM.
- 38 Dash's, 1770 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . Daily 7AM-10PM.
- 39 Dollar General, 1336 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Daily 8AM-9PM.
- 40 Family Dollar, 1000 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . Daily 8AM-10PM.
- 41 The Globe Market, 1416 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . M-Sa 9AM-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.
- 42 Lexington Co-op, 1678 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . Daily 7AM-11PM. The much-anticipated second location of Elmwood Avenue's beloved upscale specialty grocer finally opened its doors in July 2017, with the same range of items on its shelves: if you're an aficionado of things organic, locally-sourced, gluten-free, non-GMO, or pretty much anything Gwyneth Paltrow might be into, the Lexington Co-op is your promised land. If not, it's still a friendly and pleasant place to shop for products that other area grocery stores usually don't carry. And if you're planning on staying in town for awhile or being a repeat visitor, consider purchasing an annual co-op membership to get access to special discounts and promotions.
- 43 North Buffalo Farmers' Market (At Holy Spirit RC Church, Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25). Th 3PM-7PM Jun-Nov. What was once a dream in the mind of Buffalo locavore Patricia DiFrancesco Banning has now come to fruition: the North Buffalo Farmers' Market kicked off in 2014 with an impressive range of organic fruits and vegetables, breads and baked goods, artisanal pasta, coffee, organic honey, fresh-squeezed juices and delicious smoothies, and even bath and body products — all grown or manufactured locally. This is a true community partnership, with the Hertel-North Buffalo Business Association lending its support and a myriad of local businesses, including North Buffalo's own House of Olives and Gino's Italian Bakery, turning out weekly to sell their wares. Best of all, you don't have to get up early on a weekend morning to attend — the market runs on Thursday evenings, perfect for folks looking for a healthy and affordable alternative to another restaurant dinner.
- Winter Market on Hertel, 1547 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Sa 9AM-1PM, late Nov through early Apr. You can take Eric and Andrea Amodeo out of Horsefeathers Market, but apparently you can't take Horsefeathers out of the Amodeos: just a few months after moving to their new joint location on Hertel, the owners of The Pasta Peddler and Blackbird Sweets sought to replicate a wintertime institution at their old home on Connecticut Street by welcoming to their ample retail space a small but diverse range of Western New York farmers and artisans, anchored by the Pasta Peddler and Blackbird Sweets themselves, which stay open for business during market times. At the Winter Market on Hertel, you can get everything from locally-raised meat, dairy, eggs and greenhouse produce to jams and jellies, baked goods, bath products, and even gourmet dog treats and hand-crocheted plush toys and accessories — at a time of year when most farmers' markets close up shop. Caffeinated pick-me-ups are also available courtesy of Public Coffee.
Delaware Avenue, Elmwood Avenue, and West Hertel
In addition to the restaurants listed here, the suburban-style shopping plazas in this area include a number of chain restaurants, notably 44 Applebee's, 45 Boston Market, 46 Denny's, 47 Five Guys, and 48 Moe's Southwest Grill.
- 49 Fenglin Buffet, 1999 Elmwood Ave. (At Regal Elmwood Center; Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ . Su-Th 11AM-9:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM. There's really nothing remarkable or out of the ordinary about this Chinese buffet at the Regal Elmwood Center (not that there ever is with this kind of place — if you've seen one, you've pretty much seen 'em all). But they keep the steam trays consistently stocked with a good selection of Americanized Chinese specialties, and service is efficient and usually friendly. $10-15.
- 50 Frank's Sunny Italy, 2491 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . Daily 11AM-11PM. Hearty, unpretentious Italian meals at a reasonable price are the stock in trade of Frank's Sunny Italy. Though the menu is not groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination, familiar Italian standbys such as veal parmigiana, chicken cacciatore, lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, and pizza keep Buffalonians coming back for more. Portions are notoriously massive at this family-style Italian eatery. $10-25.
- 51 The Kitchen Table, 690 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ . M-F 8AM-3PM, Sa-Su 8:30PM-4PM. The Kitchen Table moved in July 2014 to a larger location in West Hertel, but otherwise it's the same deal as before: they still serve up classic, unpretentious, all-American comfort food in a downhome atmosphere described in Buffalo Rising as "a mix between a greasy spoon and a country kitchen". Burgers (served with heaping sides of fresh-cut fries that customers rave about), club sandwiches, fish fry, and multitudinous flavors of Turkey Hill ice cream can be had, but the Kitchen Table's true claim to fame is their hearty, homestyle breakfasts, which are served all day. The staff here really goes out of their way to please, and they treat customers like family. $10-15.
- 52 Linda's Café and Smoothie Bar, 426 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 3 or 23), ☎ . M & W-Th 11AM-10PM, Tu 11AM-5:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight. Linda's is where the West Side meets North Buffalo both literally and figuratively: this humble little storefront in West Hertel does double duty as a place to get not only a variety of healthy and delicious upscale smoothies and protein shakes, but also some of the tastiest and cheapest homestyle Puerto Rican food in town. Let's talk about the latter first: the menu includes not only all the usual suspects like bistec encebollado, pernil (the specialty of the house), and tostones (fried crispy and with a flavor that boasts a delightful hint of garlic), but also several harder-to-find specialties you can't get anywhere else in Buffalo, like octopus salad and piononos (breaded and fried sweet plantains stuffed with a ground beef-and-potato mixture). As for the smoothies, they're carefully constructed concoctions where a large variety of fruits, berries, herbs, and other ingredients carefully chosen for their health properties are mixed, blended, and infused together to delicious results. Best of all, the folks at Linda's are dedicated to the community they call home: when they're not serving their delicious food to diners at the restaurant (for, it should be noted, great prices), they're just as likely to be catering a community event or giving it away for free at a local homeless shelter or food bank. $15-20.
- 53 Sophia's, 749 Military Rd. (Metro Bus 3 or 5), ☎ . Tu-Su 7AM-3PM. This humble establishment operated by Sophia and Sam Ananiadas serves some of the best (and biggest) breakfasts in Buffalo — so good, in fact, that they caught the attention of celebrity chef Guy Fieri, who dedicated a segment of his Food Network series "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" to the place. In addition to the usual lineup of pancakes, omelettes, French toast and the like, the Mediterranean flair of Sophia's cuisine is on full display in the giambotta, their signature breakfast platter of eggs, home fries, homemade Italian sausage, peppers, onions, and garlic. For lunch, an array of burgers, club sandwiches, and salads are on offer, as well as what may be the best souvlaki in Buffalo. Best of all, customers rave about the genuine warmth and friendliness of Sophia's staff that keeps them coming back. $10-15.
- Roaming Bison Tavern, 732 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ . Su-W 4PM-midnight, Th 11AM-midnight, F 11AM-2AM, Sa 4PM-2AM. West Hertel lost a bona fide neighborhood landmark in 2016, when the Nor-Tel Grille closed its doors. Sure, the place had seen better days, but it had been an integral part of the fabric of the community since the Depression, and its passing through successive generations of the same family provided neighborhood old-timers with an island of comforting continuity in the midst of a sea of changes. So when Greg Herzog, a restaurant industry veteran coming off years of experience at downtown spots such as 67 West and the Pearl Street Grill, chose the building as the site of his new venture the following year, two obvious requirements were a sensitivity to the long and storied history of the old Nor-Tel and a customer experience outstanding enough to earn the trust of a perhaps skeptical community. And Herzog knocked it out of the park with the Roaming Bison Tavern, the combination bourbon bar and restaurant he turned the place into. You walk into the place and there's the same warm, cozy neighborhood vibe folks have enjoyed for years, but now with some subtle modern touches and improvements — not the least of which is the revamped food menu, a short but sweet roster of well-executed pub grub whose Southern barbecue influences are a perfect match for the wide-ranging selection of bourbon available at the bar. Favorites on Roaming Bison's menu include the Nashville Chicken Sandwich (a juicy breast deep-fried to perfection, served barbecue or Buffalo-style with lettuce, tomato, onion, and blue cheese dressing), the ingenious "mac-ancini" appetizers (macaroni and cheese coated with crispy panko breading, rolled into balls and deep-fried golden brown, arancini-style; they also come stuffed with pulled pork), and — most popular of all — huge platters of apple- and cherrywood-smoked chicken wings coated with a savory-sweet blueberry-bourbon barbecue glaze and then charred crispy on the grill. Better even than the food is the service — with his penchant for visiting his customers tableside not only to make sure their experience was up to snuff but also just to shoot the breeze, in the words of one reviewer Herzog "makes you feel like you've been friends for years". And he knows the menu inside and out — whether it be the barbecue fare the kitchen dishes out or the bourbon selections at the bar, he's the man to turn to if you're undecided. $15-30.
- 54 Taj Grill, 2290 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . Daily 11:30AM-2:30PM and 4:30PM-10PM. Though it's located in one of the sterile, monotonous plazas that line Delaware Avenue north of Park Meadow, the Taj Grill lauds itself as "the finest Indian restaurant in Buffalo". Though that claim is certainly up for debate — opinions seem to be divided evenly between this place and the Elmwood Village's India Gate — customers unanimously praise Taj Grill's extensive menu, which boasts a huge selection of all the traditional curries known by lovers of Indian cuisine available with chicken, beef, lamb, seafood, and even tofu and goat, as well as myriad options for vegetarians. The food here caters more to the Indian palette than the Americanized version of the cuisine available elsewhere in the region, to the delight of traditionalists. Best of all is the service, which is unfailingly friendly and upbeat. $15-35.
- 55 Tokyo II Japanese Seafood and Steakhouse, 2236 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-10:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-11:30PM, Su noon-10PM. Tokyo II is Buffalo's newest hibachi steakhouse and Japanese restaurant. Steak, seafood, rice, and other entrees are prepared for diners before their eyes on the hibachi in an entertaining spectacle. In addition, a wide range of sushi and sashimi is available, as is other Japanese fare, a small selection of Thai entrees, domestic and imported beers including Kirin, Asahi, and Sapporo, wine, and sake. $15-40.
The following local chains have locations on Delaware and Elmwood Avenues in North Buffalo. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.
- 56 Anderson's, 2634 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 25), ☎ . Daily 11AM-9AM.
- 57 Jim's Steakout, 2611 Delaware Ave. (At Delaware Place plaza; Metro Bus 5 or 25), ☎ . Daily 10:30AM-5AM.
- 58 Mighty Taco, 2363 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . Daily 10AM-midnight.
A location of 59 Little Caesar's can be found on Delaware just south of Hertel.
- 60 Aldi, 2090 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 20). M-F 9AM-8PM, Sa-Su 9AM-7PM.
- 61 Dollar General, 1843 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ . Daily 8AM-9PM.
- 62 Family Dollar, 1700 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 20), ☎ . M-Sa 8AM-9PM, Su 9AM-9PM.
- 63 Gordon Restaurant Market, 1959 Elmwood Ave. (At Regal Elmwood Center; Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ . M-Sa 7AM-7PM, Su 8AM-6PM. Opened in 2016 in the former Office Depot at the Regal Elmwood Center, this big-box store is mainly in the business of selling wholesale groceries and food service supplies to local restaurants and banquet caterers. However, if you're a visitor to Buffalo looking to self-cater as a more budget-friendly alternative to eating out all the time, and especially if you don't mind buying in bulk, Gordon is a place where you'll find name- and store-brand foods at prices that are a fraction of what you'd pay at a normal supermarket and oftentimes even comparable to Aldi and other discounters. Those in search of a genuine taste of Buffalo will find a decent selection of locally-manufactured products here — king-size tubs of Weber's horseradish mustard and fresh-baked Costanzo's sandwich rolls are hot items — but even if not, you've got a full range of canned and packaged groceries, frozen foods, condiments, spice mixes, and even meats, cheeses and produce (customers rave about the house-made sausages!) arranged in a warehouse-style environment (think Sam's Club or Costco, except no yearly membership fee is required!)
- 64 PriceRite, 1716 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 20), ☎ . M-Sa 8AM-9PM, Su 8AM-8PM.
- 65 Target, 2626 Delaware Ave. (At Delaware Consumer Square plaza; Metro Bus 5, 20 or 25), ☎ . M-Sa 8AM-11PM, Su 8AM-10PM.
- 66 Tops, 2101 Elmwood Ave. (At Tops Plaza; Metro Bus 5 or 20), ☎ . Daily 24 hours.
Visitors to Buffalo in search of a late-night snack can scarcely do better than University Heights — an unusually large proportion of eateries there stay open late, catering to midnight oil-burning UB students.
As above, it's to be noted that the entire north side of Main Street east of Kenmore Avenue is technically part of the Town of Amherst.
- 67 Amy's Place, 3234 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . Daily 7AM-9PM. A popular dive where the latest indie tunes can be heard on the soundsystem and people-watchers can enjoy a clientele that trends heavily toward bohemian urbanites and other alternative types (not to mention students of UB's nearby South Campus), Amy's Place is among the hippest eateries on Main Street. By day they serve a range of Lebanese and other Mediterranean fare of respectable quality, including abundant options for vegetarians and vegans. However, Amy's Place is perhaps best known for their substantial, delicious and reasonably priced breakfasts. Cash only. $10-25.
- 68 Doctor Bird's Caribbean Rasta-Rant, 3104 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . M-F 11:30AM-10PM, Sa 11:30AM-10:30PM. This humble take-out (with a few tables for indoor seating) offers what is by far and away, without a doubt, the best Jamaican food in Buffalo. The jerk chicken, rotis, curry goat, and oxtail are all simply fantastic, and are universally served with a side of fried plantains and rice and beans. Wash your food down with a bottle of strong ginger beer. Reggae, calypso, and soca records are also for sale at the counter. $10-20.
- 69 Dosa Place, 3500 Main St., Suite 370, Amherst (At University Plaza; Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . Daily 11AM-9:30PM. Amherst's Palace of Dosas may have flown under the radar of the local restaurant scene, but even so, lots of local aficionados of South Indian cuisine were disappointed when it closed in 2013. They can rest easy: its owner Nick Emmanuel, a Sri Lanka native now in the midst of his third decade in the local restaurant industry, has reemerged at the University Plaza with the matter-of-factly named Dosa Place, which boasts exactly the same menu as its predecessor. Said menu is comprised of 100% vegetarian fare — one of the few places in the Niagara Frontier that can make that claim — prepared fresh everyday from all-natural ingredients. The place's namesake, and the star of the show, is the dosa: about two dozen different variations of this light, airy lentil-based crêpe, either plain with butter or stuffed with various fillings such as onions, potatoes, paneer cheese, or vegetables, as well as a mix of spices. Utthappam also make an appearance, the dosa's thicker, doughier cousin that's been described as an "Indian pizza", with onions and other ingredients baked right into the crust. Rounding out the menu are a range of spicy vegetable curries, naan and chapati breads, and (as appetizers) battered vegetables, pakora, iddly (fluffy rice- and lentil-based buns with various toppings and spices), and vadai (savory doughnut-shaped lentil fritters). Best of all, prices are a good sight lower than they were at Palace of Dosas, which themselves weren't too bad. $10-25.
- 70 Kalypso, 12 Winspear Ave. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . M-Th noon-9PM, F noon-11PM, Sa 1PM-11PM. Buffalo's newest Jamaican restaurant may not have had its Grand Opening until February 2013, but it's already earning rave reviews among locals. Located just off Main Street in the former Fast Frank's, Kalypso serves up a range of Caribbean specialties that is surprisingly ample given the relative humbleness of its appearance from the outside. Among the usual suspects — jerk chicken, curry goat, oxtail — can be found several delectably prepared selections available nowhere else in Buffalo, such as brown stew chicken, Jamaican pepper steak, and escoveitch fish. A small selection of vegetarian options is also offered. $10-25.
- 71 Lake Effect Diner, 3165 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . Daily 7AM-10PM. Lake Effect Diner is a '50s-style affair located in one of the last remaining "diner cars" in America, carefully restored under the direction of local restaurateur Tucker Curtin. With oldies on the jukebox and waitresses dressed in '50s-style pink skirts, Lake Effect Diner is as authentic as it gets. Decent diner fare — burgers, club sandwiches, french fries, milkshakes and malts — is available here for reasonable prices. Lake Effect Diner has been featured on Guy Fieri's Food Network television series, "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives". $10-25.
- 72 Richie's Soul Food Restaurant, 3199 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . M-Th 10AM-10PM, F-Sa 10AM-midnight. "Soul food" is the proclamation built into the name of the pint-sized eatery Richard Wagstaff opened in 2017 at the former Molly's Pub in the heart of the Heights, and indeed, the "meat and three" setup on the dinner menu should be instantly familiar to any aficionado of the working-class barbecue joints of the American south: combo platters with your choice of meat (roasted or grilled chicken, meatloaf, various types of fish) and three Southern-style side dishes. But let's not sell Richie's short: it's no one-trick pony. Dinnertime also sees heaping plates of pasta on offer, and — as if to atone for the recent local trend of Jamaican restaurants closing and being converted to soul food eateries (Island Taste on Fillmore Avenue, Taste of the Caribbean on William Street) — curry chicken and jerk-spiced perch figure among the meats on offer in the dinner specials. Meanwhile, on the breakfast and lunch menus, a lackluster rendition of chicken and waffles is the sole default option for soul food aficionados, who will otherwise have to make do with well-executed non-Southern standards like omelettes and breakfast sandwiches, hot and cold subs, burgers, tacos, and chicken wings in ten different varieties. $10-25.
- 73 Venus, 3500 Main St., Amherst (At University Plaza; Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . M-F 11AM-11PM, Sa noon-midnight, Su noon-10PM. Located in the University Plaza, Venus is a friendly restaurant serving simple Greek and Lebanese foods. By comparison with Amy's Place, University Heights' better-known, longer-standing Mediterranean restaurant, at Venus most of the bohemian ambience is sacrificed, but is made up for with food that, on the whole, is a good deal tastier than the sometimes lackluster fare served at Amy's. Shawarma, falafel, shish kabab and kofta, and gyros are available as either platters or wraps, and delectable Greek salads and fatoush are available for those in search of greener options (tabouli is on the menu as well, but never seems to be available). Though a good deal of the business done here is take-out or delivery, those enjoying their food at one of Venus' handful of tables are treated to a neverending stream of delightfully cheesy Lebanese music videos on the satellite television — a part of the Venus experience that's as integral as the food itself, in this author's opinion. $10-15.
- 74 Wholly Crepe, 3292 Main St. (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . Tu-F 8AM-4PM, Sa-Su 8AM-3PM. Western New York pancake aficionados can stop mourning the demise of Parkside Avenue's crepe-focused satellite location of Sweetness 7: this cheekily-named new establishment in University Heights is now at their service with both sweet and savory variations of their foodstuff of choice. Owner Kamalie Liyanage has lofty goals for Wholly Crepe: this young public defender newly returned to her hometown after several years in Manhattan envisions it as not only a place for "friends, tasty food, [and] great locally-roasted coffee" but also "intellectually stimulating conversation" in "a safe space where freethinkers can connect and comfortably hang... while attempting to solve humanity's surmounting problems." The setting is certainly conducive enough to that kind of thing: the space is airy, brightly lit, and comfortably furnished, with walls decorated by local street artist Shepard Fairey and bookshelves stocked with political literature and biographies of some of Liyanage's personal heroes: Angela Davis, Malcolm X, and Che Guevara (a friendly "take a book, leave a book" policy applies). But even if you're not a radical leftist intellectual looking to network with like-minded comrades, there's still the matter of the delicious food whipped up in the kitchen. You start with the crepes themselves: a delicious batter that's made in-house from scratch every morning using fresh ingredients (and 100% cage-free eggs!), then ladled out in huge portions on the griddle to cook up to a light, airy consistency, with a delightful crispness around the edges — which go on to form the basis of a goodly-sized menu of breakfast and lunch options (favorites include the Turkey Club crepe, where chunks of juicy free-range turkey are topped with tomatoes, spinach, and your choice of cheese, as well as the gooey-sweet "Monkey Business" with banana and Nutella). Everything is made to order, so service can be slow, but this is the kind of place where stopping and lingering is part of the appeal. And you couldn't ask for friendlier folks behind the counter or in the kitchen. $10-15.
- 75 May Jen, 47 Kenmore Ave., Amherst (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-10:30PM, Su 4PM-9:30PM. Owned since 1981 by the Leung family, and before that for some time in a previous incarnation on Elmwood Avenue, May Jen is the oldest continually operating Chinese restaurant in Buffalo. Though extensive, the menu is not what you would call groundbreaking — the entree of prawns with glazed walnuts, a dish unique to May Jen, is the only eye-catcher in a sea of kung pao chicken, moo goo gai pan, General Tso chicken, and other standards. But the ambience is serene and pleasant, prices are reasonable, and the quality of the food is high enough for Artvoice readers to have voted May Jen the Best Chinese Restaurant in several annual "Best of Buffalo" readers' polls. Beer and wine are served. $15-35.
- 76 Ming Café, 3268 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . M-Sa 5PM-9PM. Make no mistake about Ming Café — from the exterior it may look like just another unassuming hole-in-the-wall in University Heights, but what is served here is high-quality, gourmet Chinese food that is priced accordingly. Ming Café's menu is dominated by interpretations of classic Chinese standards — Szechuan chicken, kung pao shrimp, moo shu pork — that are fresh, flavorful, and prepared to order with an uncommonly refined elegance. The hot and sour soup is particularly good. But it's in the "signature dishes" section of the menu where Ming Café's true culinary stars come out to shine — a diverse array of delectable upscale options that can be best described as "Asian-influenced" rather than a strict interpretation of Chinese cuisine. The icing on the cake is the huge selection of authentic imported Chinese teas, as well as a variety of coffee. Cash only. $15-40.
- 77 Sato Ramen, 3268 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F 11:30AM-11PM, Sa noon-11PM. Opened in fall 2015, the satellite location of Satomi Smith's somewhat eponymous Elmwood Avenue noodle shop is actually a solid improvement on the original, with a considerably expanded selection of noodle bowls and small plates on the menu (they make up for this by not including any sushi or sashimi, as at Elmwood), and a youthful, funky vibe that's much more suited to its college-student clientele than the trendy but staid original location. At Sato 2.0, the three flagship ramen selections of the original restaurant are joined by Buffalo Chicken Ramen (the titular meat with corn, scallions, carrots, and black garlic oil in chicken broth), as well as Kimchi Ramen in a mixed pork and chicken broth. Donburi bowls and Japanese curry are also offered, but the pièce de résistance on the small plates section of the menu is the huge appetizer of Okonomiyaki Fries — sort of a Japanese take on poutine, smothered in mayo and okonomiyaki sauce and topped with dried bonito flakes, nori seaweed, green onions, and pickled ginger. There's a short drink list that prominently features local and regional craft brews as well as a variety of different sake selections, and for dessert there's green tea or ginger ice cream courtesy of Williamsville's own Sweet Jenny's. $15-30.
- 78 Shango, 3260 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM, Su brunch 11AM-3PM. Though bouillabaisse, crawfish, po' boys and bananas Foster feature prominently on the menu, it would be a disservice to pigeonhole the lovely bistro run by owner and head chef Jim Guarino as simply a "Creole" or "Southern" restaurant. Instead, the cuisine offered at Shango is as diverse as it is high-quality. Additionally, the wine list is one of Buffalo's most extensive and has been honored with an award by Wine Spectator magazine; a carefully selected variety of import beers and microbrews is also available at Shango. $20-40.
- 79 The Steer, 3151 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . Daily 11AM-4AM. The Steer is best known for its sometimes rowdy bar frequented by students from the nearby South Campus of the University of Buffalo, but let's not forget that it is also a restaurant that serves pizza, burgers, sandwiches, and — as the name suggests — mouth-watering steaks and chops. The Montana Room, located on the second floor of this unmissable Main Street landmark, is a banquet room equipped for up to 60 guests. $10-45.
The following local chains have locations in University Heights. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.
The following pizzerias are located in University Heights. 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.
- 81 Just Pizza, 3172 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . Su-W 10AM-midnight, Th-Sa 10AM-4AM.
- 82 Slice of Italy, 3500 Main St., Suite 150, Amherst (At University Plaza; Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-10PM.
- 83 Aldi, 3060 Main St. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle). M-F 9AM-8PM, Sa-Su 9AM-7PM.
- 84 Dollar General, 338 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 34; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . Daily 8AM-10PM.
- 85 Tops, 3500 Main St., Amherst (At University Plaza; Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . Daily 6AM-midnight.
Kenmore Avenue area
- 86 Curry's, 864 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5), ☎ . M-Sa 11:30AM-midnight. Those who are expecting Indian cuisine will be disappointed — there's nothing exotic about the menu at Curry's. Rather, the sandwiches, entree salads, meat and pasta dishes served up here match the workmanlike reliability evoked by the humble exterior of this Kenmore Avenue restaurant. What is special about the heaping portions of classic American comfort food offered up at Curry's is the friendliness with which it's served — this is a real "where everybody knows your name" type of place — and its surprising quality. Beer-battered fish fry, a well-known Buffalo specialty, is served with aplomb on Friday nights. $10-30.
- 87 Yummy Thai, 914 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 11), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-9:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-9PM. Opened in 2013, the second location of Yummy Thai has a menu that's identical to the original restaurant in North Tonawanda, but at a much more convenient and centralized location. Here you'll find the usual lineup of Westernized Thai dishes that Stateside fans of the genre are familiar with — pad thai; red, green and penang curries; pad kee mow and tom yum soup for those who like it spicy (unlike many Thai places, Yummy Thai doesn't blandify the food for the American palate; when they say "spicy", they mean it!); chicken and beef satay as appetizers. Portions are ample, but the quality of the food is as middle-of-the-road as the selection. If you're in the mood for something a bit more offbeat, though, you're not completely out of luck at Yummy Thai, especially if you peruse the house-special stir fry mains. These aren't the most authentic things in the world, but they make up for it with creativity: the "Peanut King" features mushroom, bell peppers, baby corn, broccoli, and napa cabbage in a light peanut sauce, and in the "Healthy Garlic" the same vegetables are combined with fresh garlic and served in Yummy Thai's special garlic sauce; these along with most entrees are served with your choice of meat, seafood, or tofu for vegetarians. If you're in town on a busy Friday or Saturday night and don't feel like arriving at a restaurant for dinner only to wait an eternity for a table, the perennially uncrowded Yummy Thai may be the place for you, but don't expect that to necessarily translate into fast or attentive service, which is a weak spot here. $15-40.
The following pizzerias are located on or near Kenmore Avenue. 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.
- 90 Vino's, 1652 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ . W-Sa 5PM-9PM. Vino's is a small restaurant, easily missable and in a fairly out-of-the-way location, with a limited menu and seemingly never open — and Buffalonians can't get enough. They crowd into the place whenever it's open, and many of them call it the best Italian restaurant in the city. Why? Simply put, what is served here is authentic homestyle Italian cuisine that is absolutely delicious and available for unbelievable prices. Entrees emphasize pasta dishes; particular favorites among Vino's regulars are the spaghetti with pesto sauce, lobster ravioli, and the spicy "Charles diavolo". Appetizers and desserts are equally lauded, and true to the restaurant's name, a small but delightful selection of wines and sangrias are also on the menu. But perhaps the thing about Vino's that is loved most warmly by locals are the owners, Kathleen and Tony, who truly go the extra mile to ensure that guests are welcomed and attended to with the sincerest regard. $15-25.
- Nye Park Tavern, 1672 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ . Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM. With Nye Park Tavern, owner Mark Hutchinson — otherwise famous for his somewhat eponymous Delaware Avenue fine dining destination, Hutch's — takes his signature upscale template and adapts it to pub grub, with a local twist of course. There are no real surprises on the menu, but you'll sure get one when your food comes out: the quality of the ingredients and presentation are head and shoulders above what you'll get at your average Buffalo gin mill (for instance, the "steak in the grass" sandwich is a full-size New York strip smothered in fresh-cut, unprocessed provolone), which goes a long way toward justifying the price point. The signature item at Nye Park Tavern, though, are the so-called "West Side spare ribs", a smoky concoction inspired by the ones served at the long-gone Arkansas Lounge off Grant Street. The interior's been spiffed up nicely, too, while retaining the cozy homeyness of Papa Jake's, which preceded it in this location. $15-40.
- 91 Oliver's, 2095 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 25 or 32), ☎ . M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-midnight, Su 4:30PM-9:30PM. "Fine Dining in the Old-School Tradition" is Oliver's credo, and true to form, it is one of the most elegant restaurants in Buffalo, with prices to match. With myriad different permutations of Continental cuisine present on the menu, Oliver's is a foodie's dream come true, with veal milanese, strozzapreti, and foie gras torchon among the most popular delicacies on offer. The wine list is, to quote the restaurant's website, "deeper than deep". Oliver's also prides itself as one of Buffalo's best caterers. $25-75.
The following local chain restaurants have locations in Park Meadow. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.
- 92 Bagel Jay's, 2130 Delaware Ave. (At Marshall's Plaza; Metro Bus 25 or 32), ☎ . M-F 6:30AM-5PM, Sa-Su 7AM-4PM.
The following pizzerias are located in Park Meadow. 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.
- 93 Jet's Pizza, 2165 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 25 or 32), ☎ . Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight.
Parkside, Central Park, and the Vernon Triangle
- 94 Fairy Cakes, 289 Parkside Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 32), ☎ . W-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Located right across the street from the Buffalo Zoo and a couple doors down from Sweetness 7, Fairy Cakes Cupcakery is a cute little café that features a fireside lounge and a cupcake bar and that differentiates itself from Buffalo's other cupcake outfits with flavors that are even more creative than its competition (their "Pancakes and Bacon" cupcake is topped with maple buttercream and real bacon, and their "Original Buffalo Hot Wing Cake" is a seductive marriage of rich chocolate and spicy cayenne pepper), a selection of "adults only" cupcakes whose recipes incorporate rum and other alcoholic ingredients, and, interestingly enough, a beverage selection which includes no fewer than 30 varieties of loose-leaf tea. A modest selection of other desserts are available. The consensus on Fairy Cakes is that the cupcakes are not quite as rich and flavorful as Firefly's are, but if nothing else, this place is worth a visit if only to experience the whimsical decor: an almost dollhouse-like setup in cheery pastel colors, you'd expect nothing less from a place named "Fairy Cakes"! $5-15.
- 95 Shawarma City, 285 Parkside Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 32), ☎ . Tu-Su 10AM-10PM. Shawarma City got its start on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Tonawanda, and soon enough expanded to this second location on Parkside Avenue across from the Buffalo Zoo. Like the original, Parkside's iteration of this Iraqi-owned, family-run new local favorite is a no-frills, all-business affair — that business being delicious Lebanese cuisine, served up at lightning speed and with an unfailing smile. It's a pretty standard Lebanese menu that you have to choose from, without any real surprises — shawarma (chicken, beef, or mixed), kebabs (chicken or lamb), and a few other options come either as pita wraps or combo platters, with larger portions of meat and a salad or rice pilaf on the side. Appetizers include all the usuals: hummus, baba ghanouj, falafel salad, and tabbouleh. You get the feeling that this is the Middle Eastern equivalent of homestyle comfort food — filling, served in copious portions, and perfectly spiced without concessions to the dumbed-down American palate. And, if you're lucky, you might happen in on a day when the owner has brought in some of his homemade baklava for dessert. $10-25.
- 96 Parkside Meadow, 2 Russell St. (Metro Bus 11 or 32), ☎ . M & W-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su brunch noon-3PM. In the words of Buffalo Rising, "dinner with a side of nostalgia" is the order of the day at the Parkside Meadow. Let's talk nostalgia first: this place opened in September 2015 on the site of the similarly named Park Meadow bar, but those who may be familiar with that longtime neighborhood stalwart can be reassured that they're in for a much more relaxed experience than the rowdy frat-boy hijinks they may remember. Owners Nancy Abramo and Len Mattie had their work cut out for them when they bought the place — it had been vacant since 1991 and had seen better days — but not only did they painstakingly restore the building to its former glory, but they filled the interior with such a vast collection of old-Buffalo postcards, photographs, and artifacts that it may as well be considered a satellite location of the Buffalo History Museum. As for the food, head chef Stephen Dulanski, fresh off the success of his run at new downtown hotspot Toutant, has created a menu that is informed but not confined by the classic Buffalo pub grub that defines those bygone days, yet has improved on that template with food impeccably crafted using high-quality ingredients. Sandwiches rule the roost at Parkside Meadow: the reuben features tender, rosy corned beef piled high on thick-sliced, griddled-to-perfection rye, with Russian dressing and sauerkraut that add balanced notes without overpowering the flavor of the meat; meanwhile, in the pulled pork sandwich the spicy and peppery barbecue sauce that the meat is cooked in is tempered with cool, crunchy coleslaw. There are some creative touches too: the shaved lamb sandwich comes on toasted sourdough with melted Havarti cheese and spearmint aioli, for example, and the roasted leek and shiitake farfalle with Madeira cream sauce shows that Parkside Meadow can do more than just sandwiches. Service is excellent even when they're busy (which is pretty much all the time), and the downhome neighborhood friendliness of the staff is yet another reminder of olden times. $15-35.
- 97 Main Amherst Fillmore Market, 2580 Main St. (Metro Bus 8, 23 or 32; Metro Rail: Amherst Street). Sa 10AM-2PM in season. Launched for the 2016 season with funding from the Participatory Budgeting Buffalo program, the Main Amherst Fillmore Market sets up shop every Saturday morning and afternoon in the Vernon Triangle, in the parking lot next to International Wine & Spirits, with a mandate of providing an outlet for fresh, healthy, locally-sourced foods in a part of town where the only food shops within walking distance are corner bodegas. In addition to farm fresh vegetables, at MAF you'll also find a small selection of baked goods and other prepared food items, as well as handcrafted jewelry and other baubles.
The popular Hertel Avenue strip can be seen as a middle ground between the upscale, relaxed Elmwood Village and the rowdy, (some might say) seedy Chippewa Street. Aside from the ubiquitous Italian restaurants that line Hertel Avenue, visitors to the bars in "Little Italy" will definitely meet their share of Jersey Shore types.
- Bob & John's La Hacienda, 1545 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ .
- Burning Buffalo Bar & Grill, 1504 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ .
- 1 Colonie Lounge, 1795 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . Bar, gentlemen's club, cigar bar.
- 2 Del's, 1553 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ .
- 3 Gabels, 1285 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ .
- 4 Gecko's Bar & Grille, 1464 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ .
- 5 Joey's Place, 1122 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ .
- 6 Mo's Place, 1316 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ .
- 7 M. T. Pockets, 1519 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ .
- Public House of Buffalo, 1206 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ .
- 8 Sidebar, 1459 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ .
- The Sterling, 1487 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ .
- 9 Wellington Pub, 1541 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ .
- 10 Wine on Hertel, 1370 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ .
Along with Hertel Avenue's emergence as a strong second-place on the list of lively commercial strips in Buffalo has come the emergence of a robust coffee culture, with a wide and growing range of options available up and down the strip.
- Bella Mia, 1096 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-8PM, F-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su noon-7PM.
- 11 Daily Planet Coffee Company, 1862 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . M-Th 7AM-9, F 7AM-10PM, Sa 8AM-10PM.
- 12 SPoT Coffee, 1406 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Su-Th 6AM-11PM, F-Sa 7AM-midnight.
- 13 Sahara Hookah Lounge, 1177 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . M-Th 4:30PM-1AM, F-Sa 4:30PM-2AM.
Delaware Avenue, Elmwood Avenue, and West Hertel
If you're in the mood for a less prefab bar experience than Applebee's, there are also a number of lively neighborhood watering holes lining Delaware Avenue, as well as a small cluster in West Hertel near the corner of Military Road.
- 14 Amity Club, 340 Military Rd. (Metro Bus 3 or 23), ☎ . A "non-alcoholic bar" serving soda, energy drinks, juice, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate as well as simple food from the grill. The $6 monthly membership fee entitles you to 25% off drinks.
- 15 Dill's Military Road Tavern, 362 Military Rd. (Metro Bus 3 or 23), ☎ .
- 16 Kelly's Korner, 2526 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ .
- 17 KO Bar & Grill, 2263 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ .
- 18 Maggie's, 715 Military Rd. (Metro Bus 3 or 5), ☎ .
- 19 Murray's Tavern, 2455 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ .
- 20 Roaming Bison Tavern, 732 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ . The old Nor-Tel Grille in West Hertel is now the place to go for bourbon aficionados in Buffalo, with over 100 varieties of Kentucky's favorite spirit poured at the bar, and a food menu of Southern barbecue specialties to go with. If the selection is a bit overwhelming, never fear — the ever-personable owner and his staff know the selection inside and out — and if you'd rather knock back a beer, the Roaming Bison has you covered with a decent selection of options from the local craft microbrew scene.
The closure of Surrender in early 2017 was pretty much the final death knell of the once-vibrant University Heights bar scene, which had spent the past few decades being slowly suffocated by competition from places like Chippewa and Allentown, as well as sharply increased enforcement of underage drinking laws by the Buffalo Police. The Steer, covered above in the "Eat" section, still draws in its share of the frat crowd, but that's about all the action you'll find on Main Street these days. It's a different story if you're looking for a coffeeshop or hookah bar instead — read on.
Sadly, the coffeeshop scene in University Heights is dominated by national chains — the dueling powerhouses Tim Hortons and Dunkin' Donuts both do an extremely brisk business at their respective locations just across from the South Campus. However, caffeine aficionados in search of something more distinctive do have a couple of options in the area: a similar, but locally-owned, coffee-and-doughnut operation at the far end of the strip, as well as a micro-roastery catering to the hipster crowd.
- 21 Famous Doughnuts, 3043 Main St. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . M-F 6:30AM-6:30PM, Sa 6:30AM-2PM, Su noon-4PM.
- 22 Grateful Grind Coffee, 3225 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . M-F 8AM-8PM, Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 9AM-5PM.
- 23 Nye Park Tavern, 1672 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ .
- 24 Pierce Pub, 1680 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ .
Coffee shops and juice bars
- 25 Ashker's in the Park, in Delaware Park, at the corner of Meadow Rd. and Nottingham Terr. (Metro Bus 11, 25 or 32). Daily 9AM-10PM in season.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
For those who absolutely need to sleep in North Buffalo, the options are quite limited. However, there is a much wider range of lodgings in the nearby towns of Amherst (a variety of mostly mid-range chain properties around Exits 6 and 7 of Interstate 290) and Tonawanda (some budget motels of varying quality near I-290 Exit 1 and I-190 Exit 15).
- 1 Foundry Suites, 1738 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. "Industrial chic" is the name of the game at the former General Railway Signal Company factory, a Nationally Registered Historic Place that's been thoroughly renovated into a mix of offices, apartments and this little boutique hotel. The Foundry Suites has only ten rooms, but they're all beauties: one- or two-bedroom suites custom-decorated in Mid-Century Modern style by the staff of Buffalo's own CooCooU, with full-kitchens, floor-to-ceiling windows (the best of which look on to a beautiful tree-lined courtyard with a fountain in the middle), flat-screen HDTVs, and what must be the most luxurious bedding and linens you can find in Buffalo. By day, the "Foundry Lounge" downstairs features coffee in a relaxing ambience; by night you can enjoy a rousing game of pool while bartenders whip you up an upscale mixed drink. The Foundry Suites also provides guests with free parking, free concierge service, free passes to LA Fitness, and a 24-hour business center. Also, the location, while it may seem out-of-the-way at first glance, is quite convenient: the boutiques and restaurants of the Elmwood Village and Hertel Avenue, the greenery of Delaware Park, and the cultural attractions of the Museum District are all within easy striking distance. $189/night in high season.
- 2 University Manor Inn, 3612 Main St., Amherst (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Continental breakfast, fax service. All rooms contain coffee maker; suites with kitchens and microwave available on request. Convenient to University at Buffalo South Campus and multiple public transit lines; shuttle to UB North Campus and airport available on request. $109-149/night in high season.
- 3 The Parkside House, 462 Woodward Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 32), ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Christopher Lavey, Johnny Mora, and their three dogs operate the Parkside House, one of Buffalo's most charming B&B's, in a restored Queen Anne-style house from the 1890s. Located on the curving, leafy streets of the historic neighborhood of Parkside, within walking distance of Delaware Park, the Buffalo Zoo, and Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural masterpiece, the Darwin D. Martin House, the three units of the Parkside House are large and airy, and boast comfortable yet contemporary furnishings, plasma televisions, and full private baths. Common areas include the dining room, where a sumptuous breakfast is served daily, and a front porch. Wireless Internet access is available throughout the property. Limited off-street parking. $140-160/night.
The 8 North Side Post Office is at 725 Hertel Ave., just west of Elmwood Ave.
The 9 North Park Branch Library is located at 975 Hertel Ave., a few doors down from Hippodrome Billiards in the plaza at the southwest corner of Hertel and Delaware Aves. In addition to free Wi-Fi, the library contains a 15-seat computer lab with Internet access, as well as three "Internet Express" computers in the main part of the library.
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. That being the case, North Buffalo is generally among the lowest-crime areas of the city. In particular, for a district with as active a nightlife scene as Hertel Avenue, the bars are laid-back and draw a much more sophisticated crowd than Allentown and what remains of the old Chippewa Strip, and drunken violence is nearly unknown.
University Heights is an exception to this rule, with a crime rate that is above average even by Buffalo standards. The bars there, while far fewer in number than those on Hertel, are noticeably rowdier and grittier. However, crime in University Heights is mostly characterized by muggings and home burglaries, with violent crime comparatively rare. West Hertel is another minor area of concern, especially the closer you get to Military Road. The same as any urban area, visitors to any part of North Buffalo should use common sense — lock car doors, keep valuables out of sight, keep your wits about you in general.
Compared to other crowded shopping and dining areas, Hertel Avenue is almost completely free of panhandlers — this author would be hard-pressed to name a single time he has been solicited for spare change on Hertel. Beggars do turn up occasionally in University Heights, especially the closer you get to the University Metro Rail Station, but even there the situation is nothing like the Elmwood Village or Allentown. If you do encounter a panhandler, there is little to fear — they are rarely aggressive. If you don't want to give, a firm "no" almost always suffices.
Published every Thursday, the North Buffalo Rocket is a weekly source for neighborhood news, editorials, classified ads, a police blotter, and other matters pertaining to North Buffalo.
For medical emergencies that most travelers may encounter, the nearest hospitals are Sisters of Charity Hospital at 2157 Main St. in Hamlin Park, and Kenmore Mercy Hospital at 2950 Elmwood Ave. in Tonawanda.
- 10 Buffalo VA Medical Center, 3495 Bailey Ave. (Metro Bus 12, 13, or 19; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . Opened in 1950 in the wake of World War II, the Buffalo VA Medical Center is affiliated with UB Medical School and provides medical, surgical, mental health, and long-term care services to veterans of the United States military under the aegis of the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Buffalo's medical center is the VA system's main place of referral in Upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania for veterans in need of cardiac surgery, cardiology, and comprehensive cancer care.
For non-emergency situations, 11 WNY Immediate Care has a location at 2497 Delaware Ave., two blocks south of the Delaware Place shopping plaza.
Laundry and dry cleaning
Delaware Avenue, Elmwood Avenue, and West Hertel
- 13 Becker EZ Wash Laundry, 2412 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . Laundromat daily 24 hours, dry cleaner daily 7AM-10PM.
- 14 Military Laundry & Lounge, 346 Military Rd. (Metro Bus 3 or 23), ☎ . Daily 11AM-2AM.
- 15 Campus Laundromat, 3130 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle). M-F 8AM-9PM, Sa-Su 7:30AM-9PM.
- 16 College Laundry, 3218 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . M-Sa 8AM-6PM.
Kenmore Avenue area
- 17 Corvette Cleaners, 530 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5), ☎ . M-F 7AM-6PM, Sa 7:30AM-3PM.
- 18 The Laundry Basket Too, 860 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5), ☎ . M-F 8AM-10PM, Sa-Su 7:30AM-10PM.
- 19 Wesselmann Cleaners, 564 Colvin Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 11), ☎ . M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa 7:30AM-5PM.
- 20 Dial Cleaners, 2496 Main St. (Metro Bus 8, 23 or 32; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ . M-Sa 7AM-7PM.
Places of worship
Mirroring the demographics of the Niagara Frontier as a whole, religious life in North Buffalo is dominated by the Roman Catholic church, with no fewer than five parishes located within its bounds. Far from the aging, moribund congregations to be found in other parts of the inner city, North Buffalo's Catholic churches retain a remarkable degree of vitality.
- 21 Holy Spirit RC Church, 91 Dakota St. (Metro Bus 11, 23 or 25), ☎ . Mass Su 11AM, Sa 4PM, Tu & F 8AM, W 6:15PM. Founded in 1910, Holy Spirit Catholic Church was for many years the site of a shrine to Saint Rita, a pilgrimage site for local faithful who came to venerate her as the "patron saint of lost and impossible causes".
- 22 St. Joseph University Parish RC Church, 3269 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . Mass Su 8:30AM, 10AM, 11:30AM, also 8PM when school is in session at UB; Sa 4:30PM; M-F 8:30AM in chapel. Founded in 1850 as a country church in what was then a rural area, St. Joseph University Parish actually predates by over half a century the UB South Campus, next to which it is located today. With an identity that fundamentally emphasizes the welcoming of visitors and new members to its flock, St. Joseph mirrors the constitution of the University Heights neighborhood as a whole, with a congregation that is surprisingly progressive and diverse given the traditional reputation of Buffalo's Catholic community.
- 23 St. Margaret RC Church, 1395 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Mass Su 8AM & 9:30AM; Sa, M & Th 8AM. Serving the Catholics of North Buffalo from its location in the center of the Hertel Avenue strip (its slogan, the "Heart of North Buffalo", is an apt one), St. Margaret Church was named after the late sister of former Buffalo bishop Charles Colton, a personal friend of its founding priest, Rev. Thomas Timmons. It remains one of the most active Catholic congregations in the City of Buffalo.
- 24 St. Mark RC Church, 401 Woodward Ave. (Metro Bus 32), ☎ . Mass Su 9AM & noon; Sa 4PM; M, W & F 7AM. Parkside's Catholic congregation meets in a robust English Gothic-style church whose bell tower rises 88 feet (27m) above Amherst Street. Linked since 2010 with St. Rose of Lima Church a short distance to the north, the vitality of parish life at St. Mark is attested to by the activity among the congregation of such organizations as the Boy Scouts, the Legion of Mary, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Visitors are always welcome at this friendly faith community.
- 25 St. Rose of Lima RC Church, 500 Parker Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . Mass Su 7:30AM & 10:30AM, Sa 5:30PM, Tu-Th 8AM. The youngest Catholic congregation in North Buffalo, St. Rose of Lima was founded in 1926, with a school staffed for many years by the Sisters of Charity of Montréal — the famous Grey Nuns. Always an active force in the surrounding neighborhood that grew up alongside it, St. Rose of Lima remains a vibrant congregation that's engaged in the community.
Protestant churches in North Buffalo are most concentrated in Parkside and Central Park, whose populations still include a considerable number of old-money WASPs. Similarly, the Protestant congregations in University Heights draw a good deal of their parishioners from similarly affluent nearby suburbs such as Eggertsville, Snyder, and Kenmore.
- 26 Central Park United Methodist Church, 216 Beard Ave. (Metro Bus 8, 23 or 32; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ . Services Su 10:30AM. Headquartered in a lovely English Gothic edifice with exquisitely ornate art-glass windows, Central Park United Methodist Church is considered the cathedral church for Methodism in Buffalo. A diverse and welcoming congregation, Central Park Methodist Church truly lives out its mission of outreach to the community through its mentoring program for at-risk students at nearby Bennett High School, its partnership with the Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida in service to the Spanish-speaking community of Buffalo's West Side, and its support for worthwhile organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous, and Journey's End Refugee Services.
- 27 Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 96 Jewett Pkwy. (Metro Bus 8 or 11; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ . Services Su 8:30AM & 10:30AM. Founded in 1888 on land donated by Elam Jewett, the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd is a longstanding cornerstone of the Parkside neighborhood. An architectural wonder, this stout Romanesque edifice was designed by the Syracuse-based architectural firm of Silsbee and Marling and boasts several lovely stained-glass windows designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Darwin D. Martin, whose Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house is located kitty-corner from here, was a parishioner in the early days. With the Reverend Catherine Dempesy-Sims at the helm, the Church of the Good Shepherd, like many of Buffalo's Protestant congregations, is a progressive, diverse and accepting faith community (describing itself as "a place of welcome to all, no exceptions") which is active in a wide range of charitable and neighborhood-improvement organizations and initiatives.
- 28 North Park Lutheran Church, 310 Starin Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ . Services Su 10:45AM. North Park Lutheran Church has traditionally been a congregation whose outsize sense of community — both within the congregation and as a component of the larger community — belies its small size. A choice of traditional and contemporary worship services are held by this church whose zeal for sharing their faith and love for the community is really remarkable. Visitors are welcomed with open arms.
- 29 Parkside Lutheran Church, 2 Wallace Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 32), ☎ . Services Su 10AM. Founded in 1912 as a mission of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church on the Near East Side, the congregation of Parkside Lutheran Church met for several years in the building later known as the Fairfield Branch Library before the construction of the stately Tudor Gothic stone church in Central Park in which it is currently situated. Today, Parkside's energetic young pastor, Nate Preisinger, leads a progressive and inclusive congregation that is as dedicated to reaching out to the larger community as it is to rolling out the welcome mat to regular parishioners and first-time visitors alike.
- 30 St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 3107 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ . Services Su 8AM & 10:30AM. St. Andrew's describes itself aptly as a "spiritual oasis", warmly opening its doors to visitors of all stripes. Founded in 1875 as an anomaly — an English-speaking Episcopalian congregation on the East Side, which in those days was largely German and Catholic — St. Andrew's has been a University Heights landmark (and, in fact, a Nationally Registered Historic Place) since the construction half a century later of the elegant Gothic Revival building it currently calls home. St. Andrew's pastor, Ellen Brauza, leads a faith community which is, in the words of the church itself, "friendly, diverse and inspirational". Two types of services are held each Sunday: a modern, simplified one bright and early, then traditional "high church" later in the morning.
- 31 University Presbyterian Church, 3330 Main St. (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . Services Su 10AM. University Presbyterian Church was founded at an opportune time — almost simultaneous to the purchase of the old Erie County Alms House across the street by the University of Buffalo for use as their new campus. A longstanding neighborhood landmark, University Presbyterian is a gorgeous Colonial-style church building whose 70-foot (21m) bell tower stands sentinel over Main Street. Its identity bears many similarities to that of the college across the street, providing a caring, tolerant, diverse, and intellectually stimulating environment for worship, public service, and loving outreach to university students as well as other members of the community.
- 32 The Church in Buffalo, 2540 Main St. (Metro Bus 8, 23 or 32; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ . Meetings Su 10AM (English) & 11AM (Mandarin). The oldest extant building in North Buffalo — the Washington Russell House on Main Street in the Vernon Triangle — is now the meeting hall (don't say "church"; which, according to the website, is a word reserved for the congregation itself) of The Church in Buffalo, a nondenominational, heterogeneous community of Bible-believing born-again Christians who hold one service each on Sundays in English and Mandarin Chinese. Visitors are welcome to those "Lord's Day meetings" as well as special weekly functions for young people (Saturdays) and UB students (Wednesdays).
- 33 Evangelical Christian Church of Buffalo, 351 Tacoma Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Services Su 11AM, W 7PM, Sa 6PM. Though multiethnic today, the Evangelical Christian Church of Buffalo was founded in 1990 by a motley group of newly landed refugees from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and other regions of the soon-to-be-former Soviet Union, led by pastor Leonid Ostrapovich. Today, Pentecostal services and Sunday school classes for children are held in English and Russian in the former Ahavas Achim Lubavitz Synagogue on Tacoma Avenue, the church's home since 2002. Visitors, Slavic and otherwise, are welcomed enthusiastically.
- 34 New Bethel Community Church, 175 Englewood Ave. (Metro Bus 5), ☎ . Services Su 10:30AM. The former Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church — a handsome English Gothic church erected in 1928 — is now home to this similarly-named, nondenominational congregation headed up by William T. Clark, Jr., who, as Bishop, Apostle, and Senior Pastor, draws from his experience conducting missionary work in countries around the world to lead a diverse, friendly and welcoming congregation that's uncommonly engaged in the community.
Parkside is home to a majority of North Buffalo's black churches — particularly the blocks close to Main Street, which serves as the district's boundary with the East Side, long a stronghold of Buffalo's African-American community. There are perhaps half a dozen of these churches in the area; listed here are two of the largest.
- 35 Gospel Temple Church of God in Christ, 143 Beard Ave. (Metro Bus 8, 23 or 32; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ . Services Su 11:05AM & 7PM. The former home of the Parkside Baptist Church, a stout Romanesque edifice in handsome stone that dates to 1894, is now the home of the Gospel Temple Church of God in Christ. Led by Pastor Willie James Flurence, the Gospel Temple's services, which take place on Sundays at 11:05AM and 6:45PM as well as Friday nights at 7PM, are a mélange of traditional and contemporary styles of ministry and music. Special ministries for children and young adults also take place on a weekly basis.
- 36 North Buffalo Community Church, 350 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 34; Metro Rail: University), ☎ . Services Su 10:30AM. Kenmore Avenue in University Heights is where this small but tight-knit community of believers, led by Pastor William H. Smith, has been situated since its foundation in 1994. With services every Sunday at 10:30AM, small-group ministries catering to young people, men, and other specialized sectors of the church population, and extensive community outreach programs, the primary dedication of the North Buffalo Community Church is evangelism. Affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the North Buffalo Community Church is a friendly congregation that, while primarily African-American in constitution, is multiethnic and welcomes all to its lively services.
- 37 St. George Orthodox Church, 2 Nottingham Terrace (Metro Bus 32), ☎ . Services Su 10AM. St. George Orthodox Church began its life in 1913 in Black Rock, serving a small enclave of immigrants from Romania, and found strength in 1963 through its merger with a Russian Orthodox congregation whose struggle with small size and declining membership mirrored its own. An affiliate of the Orthodox Church in America, St. George describes itself today as a "pan-Orthodox" church that is a syncretic combination of the traditional liturgies of many Eastern faiths. The Rev. Jason Vansuch leads services in their modern building in Park Meadow, immediately adjacent to Delaware Park, where worshipers of all stripes are enthusiastically welcomed.
Though it's not the hotbed of Semitic culture that it was 50 or 75 years ago, Hertel Avenue and the adjacent side streets retain a pair of synagogues that primarily deal in the same strain of Orthodox Judaism that has always characterized Jewish North Buffalo.
- 38 Congregation Achei T'mimim (Saranac Synagogue), 85 Saranac Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ . Describing its approach as "a fresh take on traditional Jewish values", Congregation Achei T'mimim was founded in 1911 as among the first of what would soon be many synagogues serving a thriving Jewish community in North Buffalo — in point of fact, it is the only remaining unaffiliated Orthodox shul in the entire city. Though it is Ashkenazi Orthodox in constitution, Achei T'mimim welcomes Jews of all stripes, regardless of ethnic or denominational differences, to their still-vibrant services which take place Fridays at sundown as well as Saturday mornings at 9:30AM.
- 39 Knesset Center (Bais Haknesset Hagadol), 500 Starin Ave. (Metro Bus 5), ☎ . Shachrit M-F 7:30AM, Sa 10AM, Su 8AM; mincha and maariv daily 15 minutes before sunset. This Orthodox synagogue on Starin Avenue just south of Kenmore Avenue is operated by Chabad, an Orthodox ministry connected with the University of Buffalo. Here two Shabbat services are held weekly: the small, intimate Saturday morning services (followed by a hearty lunch!) provide a quieter counterpoint to the busy, lively Friday evening ones. Midweek services are also held.
- 40 Masjid At-Taqwa, 40 Parker Ave. (Metro Bus 8, 23 or 32; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ . Located in Central Park, At-Taqwa is a traditional Sunni mosque, including formal jum'a, with a multicultural congregation and services in English. The building was a private residence before being purchased in the 1970s by the Islamic Society of the Niagara Frontier and is now a mainstay of the local Muslim community. It's still easily mistakable for an ordinary house, however, and there's no real exterior signage.
Are you a fan of the mansions in Park Meadow and Central Park, and thirsty for more? In the Delaware District, Millionaire's Row (located along Delaware Avenue between Bryant and North Streets) and Lincoln Parkway (just south of Delaware Park) are a pair of National Historic Districts that boast mansions even more luxurious than the most palatial ones in North Buffalo. Architecture buffs will marvel at these beautifully preserved examples of turn-of-the-century upper-class residential design.
Like the shopping and nightlife on Hertel Avenue? The Elmwood Village centers on a 1.8-mile (3 km) stretch of Elmwood Avenue that's even more densely packed with boutiques, bars, and restaurants than Hertel. In contrast to the antique shops and trendy furniture galleries of Hertel, the Elmwood Village's stock in trade is high-end, fashion-forward clothing boutiques catering to hip, upscale urbanites — alongside which are found some of Buffalo's most cutting-edge restaurants.
Located immediately north of the city, Kenmore was Buffalo's first real suburb: its history can be traced back to 1889, when real estate speculator Louis P. A. Eberhardt purchased a tract of farmland at the corner of Delaware Avenue and Town Line Road (today's Kenmore Avenue), at the center of which the National Register-listed Eberhardt Mansion still stands. But Kenmore is far from the faceless tract of cookie-cutter housing most people picture when they hear the word "suburb" — Delaware Avenue, the main drag through the village, is a lively strip of shops and restaurants that combines urban hipness (in an accessible, Hertel Avenue way; not a pretentious, Elmwood Village way) with small-town charm.
Eggertsville and Snyder are two more of Buffalo's earliest suburbs, centered along Main Street between University Heights and Williamsville and with a history that dates back to the 1910s and '20s. Those who noticed the verdant streets and ample houses in North Buffalo's University Park Historic District will find more of the same here — the homes in Eggertsville and Snyder have mostly retained their comfortable middle- and upper-middle-class luster, and seven of the distinctive stone gates that stand at the entrances to the side streets off Main have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Eggertsville is also the site of the Museum of disABILITY History, an uplifting collection of exhibits focusing on the accomplishments of Americans with disabilities.