Tonawanda is the name of both a city in the Northtowns of Erie County, New York, and the unincorporated suburban township that surrounds it. The incorporated village of Kenmore also makes up part of the Town of Tonawanda. All three of these places are covered in this article.
- Canal Fest. Held on the third full week of July in the twin cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda a short distance north of Buffalo, Canal Fest is the largest annual festival held along the banks of this historic waterway. The live music performances the festival holds yearly at Gateway Harbor are legendary; additionally, the eight-day run of Canal Fest 2011 boasted a parade, a boat-building competition, a sack race and other activities for kids, boat races along the canal, and a fireworks finale.
- GameOn, 3660 Delaware Ave, Kenmore, ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F 11AM-4AM, Sa 10AM-4AM. Video gaming center with 42 gaming PCs and a variety of consoles. They also have a basic cafe for refreshments, including Bawls energy drinks. $5/hour, $20-30/day.
- 1 Adventure Landing.
- La Divina Mexican Store, 2896 Delaware Ave., Kenmore, ☏ . M-F 11AM-9PM, Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-8PM. If you want to try your hand at cooking up your own versions of the same tasty foods they serve at their taquería, La Divina also doubles as an ethnic grocery store that stocks the same specialty ingredients, many of which you can't find anywhere else in town. $10-25.
- 1 Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs, 707 Kenmore Ave., ☏ . Daily 11AM-10PM. Like the still-popular food truck that has served as the original incarnation of the Tripi brothers' operation since 2013, Frank's newly-opened standalone restaurant is a place where the hot dog is reimagined into a bevy of truly creative, upscale concoctions. You start by choosing a sausage (pork, beef, or a vegetarian dog made from lentils and rice) and then choose from a wide range of specialty topping schemes to dress it up in. Witness the fiery "Holy Moly" where the heat of sriracha sauce and jalapeños is tempered just a bit by fresh guacamole, the sweet-and-savory "Violet Beauregarde" with cheese, crunchy French fried onions, and (you guessed it) blueberry glaze, and a faithful take on the Chicago hot dog. The unadventurous needn't worry, either: if you want to stick to the standard ketchup/mustard/onion/relish scenario, they'll serve you an "Original Frank" too. Whatever your pleasure, you can rest assured that you're enjoying high-quality fare made fresh in-house from locally sourced ingredients. $10-20.
- 2 La Divina, 2896 Delaware Ave., Kenmore, ☏ . M-F 11AM-9PM, Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-8PM. In the years since these folks started serving Western New York's first truly authentic Mexican food, many competitors of the same ilk have come and gone. The fact that there are now three La Divina locations in the metro area goes to show who still rules the roost, and the original location in Kenmore is still the odds-on favorite. Take a seat at the counter, choose from a menu of tacos (from familiar varieties such as beef, chicken, and carnitas to oddities like tongue, tripe, and cecina), tortas, quesadillas, and yummy sides, then wash it down with one of a wide variety of Mexican juices and soft drinks. If you're visiting on a Sunday, don't miss the delicious menudo, the only place in Buffalo that serves it. And if you want to try your hand at cooking up the same tasty foods at home, La Divina also doubles as a grocery store. $10-25.
- 3 Mississippi Mudd's, 313 Niagara St., ☏ . Daily 11AM-9PM, roughly late Mar-mid Oct. A full-fledged summer tradition in Western New York, serving up all-American favorites from off the grill (and, of course, yummy Perry's ice cream treats) since 1988. If it's been awhile since you last visit (or you were steered here by a local of whom the same is true), you might be surprised at just how lengthy and diverse the menu has become: alongside burgers, dogs, fries and other classics you'll now find local specialties like beef on weck, a creative selection of loaded fry platters, and other innovations. Order and wait for your food at the counter, then slather on your condiments and, for best results, head up to the seating area on the upper-floor deck and enjoy cool breezes and pleasant riverfront views while you eat. Mississippi Mudd's is always crowded, but the line moves briskly, and the food and ambience are worth it. $10-20.
- 4 Quick One, 359 Somerville Ave., ☏ . Daily 11AM-10PM. Tucked away in a drab-looking strip mall in an anonymous suburban neighborhood, your first impression pulling into the parking lot and walking through the door is of an ordinary Chinese takeout. And you wouldn't be completely wrong: if your tastes run more toward Americanized standards like chop suey, sesame chicken, and crab rangoon, Quick One has you covered. But it's in the "home style" menu where the place really shines: from ma po tofu to twice-cooked pork to fuqi feipian, you won't find better or more authentic Sichuan food anywhere in Western New York. Organ meats, dazzlingly vibrant flavors, and friendly customer service abound — and don't be misled by the low prices; portion sizes are huge. $10-25.
- 5 Buffalo Roadhouse Grill, 1980 Niagara Falls Blvd., ☏ . Daily 11AM-11PM (bar open later). After Roadhouse Grill, the regional chain of steakhouses, went bankrupt in 2008, employees of the Tonawanda location decided to purchase the restaurant and re-open it in the chain's spirit. In doing so, they also added a bit of Buffalo, both to the name and to the menu (incorporating beef on weck and Buffalo wings).
- 6 Jay's Artisan Pizzeria, 2872 Delaware Ave., Kenmore, ☏ . Tu-F 4PM-9PM, Sa noon-9PM. The gold standard of wood-fired pizza on the Niagara Frontier is this little place in the heart of Kenmore. As you walk in the door at Jay's, you're confronted with a chalkboard menu listing about two dozen specialty pizzas served either Neapolitan-style or a style they call "Sicilian/Detroit" (square, thicker crust, with tomato sauce on top of the cheese rather than underneath), each further customizable with additional toppings for a nominal price each. Order at the counter, take a seat, and soon enough you learn the secret of this place's success: not only the quality of the ingredients (first-rate) and the crust (sturdy but not unpleasantly crunchy, with a toasted char on the outside yet pleasantly puffy on the inside) but also their signature ingredient of chili pepper-infused honey which adds an oddly tantalizing touch of sweetness to the flavor profile. The ambience is hip yet not pretentious, with an open kitchen that puts the pizza oven (imported from Italy!) on full display. $15-35.
- 7 Mandarin Garden, 1400 Niagara Falls Blvd., ☏ . Tu-Th 11AM-10:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-10:30PM. The building used to be a Pizza Hut, and from the outside it retains pretty much the same distinctive look. Inside is another story: the sparkling white floors, vases of red roses on the tables, and tinkly piano music create almost a "romantic night out" ambience. The menu is divided between competent-but-nothing-special American Chinese fare and a much more recommendable "authentic" menu that trends heavily toward fiery Sichuan cuisine, with a few Vietnamese and Thai specialties (pad thai, pho) thrown in for good measure. Service is a cut above what you'd expect, too. $10-30.
- 8 Sinatra's, 945 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 11), ☏ . Daily 5PM-10PM. The scion of a family that traces its roots back to Vallelunga, Sicily, John Sinatra opened his eponymous restaurant in 1981, serving family recipes handed down from generation to generation. Originally named Sinatra's Trilogy in honor of John's three sons who helped him run the business, the name was shortened to "Sinatra's" when the middle son, Michael, took ownership after his father's retirement. Though Sinatra's has remained true to its original dedication to delicious Sicilian and Southern Italian food, over the years it has become more known as an upscale destination serving an increasingly refined interpretation of that cuisine. A wide range of pasta dishes are on offer, made with fine ingredients imported from Italy; the pasta con sardi is an interesting choice in this regard, topped with fresh sardines, tomatoes, raisins, fennel and pine nuts. A range of seafood dishes is also available at Sinatra's, as well as chicken and veal served in milanese, marsala, piccata, parmigiana or diavolo style. Perhaps most impressive of all, however, is the wine list: a gargantuan slate of offerings that features whites, reds and reserve selections from Italy, France and the United States. Buffalonians absolutely rave about this place. $25-65.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
- Center Way Hotel (Formerly Microtel Inn Tonawanda-Buffalo), 225 Crestmount Ave., Tonawanda (I-290 exit 1 or 1B), ☏ . Fax/copy service, free continental breakfast.
- Super 8 Kenmore/Buffalo/Niagara Falls Area, 1288 Sheridan Dr., Tonawanda, ☏ . All rooms have coffee maker, hair dryer, cable TV with HBO. Continental breakfast.
- [dead link] Scottish Inn Kenmore, 1346 Sheridan Dr., Tonawanda, ☏ . Newly renovated. All rooms have microwave, and cable TV with over 60 channels including HBO. Coffee makers and irons/ironing boards available on request.
|Routes through Tonawanda|
|Niagara Falls ← Grand Island ←||N S||→ Buffalo → Cheektowaga|
|Niagara Falls ← North Tonawanda ←||N S||→ Buffalo → Warren|
|Niagara Falls ← Grand Island ←||W E||→ Amherst → Clarence|
|Buffalo via Black Rock Channel ←||W E||→ Amherst → Rochester|