Buffalo's Elmwood Village is aptly named: it is a delightful combination of the best aspects of urban life — world-class cultural institutions, fine dining, vibrant yet laid-back nightlife, and crowds and bustle — with the friendliness and charm of a small village. The main drag of this enchanting neighborhood, Elmwood Avenue, boasts Buffalo's largest, most diverse, and most longstanding collection of funky boutiques, bars, and restaurants, anchored at its north end by Buffalo State College and the Museum District.
Buffalonians often mention the Elmwood Village and Allentown in the same breath, and while there are indeed a lot of similarities between the two, the astute visitor to Buffalo who experiences both neighborhoods will notice some differences. In the Elmwood Village, the ambience is decidedly upscale, with little of the gritty feel of Allentown; Elmwood Avenue's shops and restaurants cater not to artists and bohemians but to well-heeled yuppies — and, at the north end near Buffalo State College, to the frat crowd. In short, while Allentown can seem like an area that is still on its way up, the vibe in the Elmwood Village is of a neighborhood already in full bloom.
Until 1868, Buffalo's northern boundary was located at North Street, and what is now the Elmwood Village was a rural area known as "Shingletown", traversed by a quiet country lane called Rogers Street. A tavern stood at the corner of Rogers and Utica Streets, serving as a way station for travelers between Buffalo and Black Rock; across the way stood a tiny chapel staffed by a preacher who traveled each Sunday from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Allentown. Other than that, however, Shingletown was little more than an expanse of apple orchards, pastureland, and forest. Elmwood Avenue itself existed only between Butler Street (now Lexington Avenue) and West Delavan Avenue.
Like the Delaware District immediately to its east, what is today the Elmwood Village sprang to life largely thanks to the extensive system of parks and parkways that Frederick Law Olmsted developed beginning in the 1870s in what was then the outskirts of Buffalo. The large Delaware Park, the centerpiece of that system, was placed there; to serve as grand entrances to the park, Olmsted designed a series of parkways: wide avenues that extended between the park and the city, lined on each side with great rows of shade trees to give visitors a prelude to the tranquil green oasis that awaited them (he also redesigned Rogers Street in the same manner, which would come to be renamed Richmond Avenue). Though these parkways ran through empty land at the time, Olmsted correctly assumed that as the city grew, they would attract the attention of the growing aristocratic class, who were already beginning to build ample estates on Delaware Avenue in order to escape the crowds and congestion of downtown. By 1890, Elmwood Avenue had been extended southward, a streetcar line had been established, side streets had been laid out with still more homes, and the neighborhood as it is today had begun to take shape.
Buffalo's shining hour came in 1901, when the Pan-American Exposition took place in and around Delaware Park. An estimated eight million people visited the Exposition between May and November of that year, in order to enjoy the pleasures of the midway, thrilling attractions such as "A Trip to the Moon", and the new phenomenon of electric light. The Exposition also served to attract development to the north end of the Elmwood Village, which was still somewhat isolated from the center of town. Immediately afterward, the Buffalo Historical Society set up its museum on the Exposition grounds, in the former New York State Building next to Hoyt Lake, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, which was intended to be open in time for the Exposition but was not completed until 1905, was nearby. For obvious reasons, this area is now known as the Museum District. Moreover, the more far-flung Olmsted parkways, such as Lincoln Parkway, began to see the same sort of ostentatious mansions as Delaware Avenue.
In 1931, the north end of the Elmwood Village became home to the new campus of the New York State Teachers' College, which moved from its cramped digs on the West Side to what was once the farm tended to by patients of the Buffalo State Hospital, a mental health facility that had been housed for years in a magnificent complex on Elmwood Avenue designed by H. H. Richardson and Frederick Law Olmsted. Together with the museums and the Olmsted parkways, the college was integral in the fact that the Elmwood Village not only held its own in the face of the decline of Buffalo after World War II, but actually thrived; as the school grew and expanded its scope, taking on the name Buffalo State College, Elmwood Avenue became a lively strip of bars, restaurants and shops serving the college students — and, more and more, the upwardly-mobile young adults that were attracted to the neighborhood by its liveliness and came to make their homes there.
Though both groups are still a ubiquitous presence in the area, today it's arguably the upscale urbanites, more than the college kids, who contribute the most to the neighborhood's identity. Recent years have seen an emphasis on the neighborhood as a multifaceted community rather than a collection of bars, shops and nightspots, down to a more-or-less official deprecation of the term "Elmwood strip" in favor of the "Elmwood Village". Front and center in this rebranding effort has been the Elmwood Village Association, which was founded in 1994 as a not-for-profit partnership of businesses and residents and which today has a hand in nearly every aspect of neighborhood life — from historic preservation, to promotion of local businesses, to political advocacy at City Hall, to operating the weekly Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers' Market in the warm months. The efforts of neighborhood boosters were rewarded in 2007, when the American Planning Association named the Elmwood Village one of "America's 10 Great Neighborhoods" for that year, and most recently in December 2012, with the inclusion of the Elmwood West Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places as a typical and relatively intact example of a late-19th Century streetcar suburb.
The Elmwood Village Association's office is located in the Lafayette Lofts at 875 Elmwood Ave. It contains a selection of visitor information about the neighborhood and Buffalo in general, as well as a small gift shop. On their website can be found a printable neighborhood guide with a map, descriptions of neighborhood attractions, information on accommodations and dining, half-day, full-day, and two-day itineraries for visitors, and driving directions to the Elmwood Village.
Get in and around
The Scajaquada Expressway (NY 198) is a short highway that parallels Scajaquada Creek at the northern border of the Elmwood Village, through Delaware Park and the Buffalo State College campus. The Scajaquada connects the Kensington Expressway on the East Side with Interstate 190 in Black Rock. Elmwood Avenue is the site of one of the Scajaquada's busiest interchanges; those headed for the Elmwood Village via the Scajaquada should exit via the southbound ramp (follow the signs for the Art Gallery and Buffalo State College). Also, there is an onramp to the eastbound lanes of the Scajaquada via Lincoln Parkway, just to the rear of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; however, the westbound lanes are not accessible in this way and there is no offramp from the expressway to Lincoln Parkway on either side.
The backbone of the Elmwood Village is Elmwood Avenue, which runs north-to-south through the entire length of the district. Understandably given its density of shops, bars and restaurants, traffic on Elmwood is often heavy. Those who want a quicker route will likely prefer Richmond Avenue, which runs west of and parallel to Elmwood Avenue from Forest Avenue southward. Though the two roads are of about equal width, Richmond runs through a comparatively quiet residential area and has only a few stop signs and lights, as opposed to Elmwood where the red lights are frequent and lengthy.
The parkways that make up such an integral part of Buffalo's Olmsted park system crisscross the Elmwood Village in the shape of an upside-down Y. Running south from Delaware Park is Lincoln Parkway; at its south end it splits into Bidwell Parkway and Chapin Parkway. Bidwell and Chapin Parkways end at, respectively, Colonial Circle and Gates Circle. In the center of the Y, where all three parkways and Bird Avenue converge, is Soldiers' Place, the largest of all the Olmsted circles in Buffalo.
Major east-west streets in the Elmwood Village include, from north to south: Forest Avenue, West Delavan Avenue, Lafayette Avenue, West Ferry Street, Lexington Avenue, West Utica Street, Bryant Street, Summer Street, and (at its southern edge, ironically) North Street.
It is perhaps harder to find parking in the Elmwood Village than any other neighborhood in Buffalo besides downtown. Visitors to the Elmwood Village should count on not being able to find an open parking spot anywhere within a block of Elmwood Avenue, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Parking meters line Elmwood Avenue, as well as many of the busier side streets. On the off chance that there are any open spaces, the rate is 50¢ per hour until 5PM, Monday through Saturday.
There are public parking lots on Forest Avenue, West Utica Street, and Bryant Street, each a short distance west of Elmwood; they charge the same rate as the parking metersr; parking is somewhat (but not much) easier to come by in these lots than on-street. Women & Children's Hospital's parking ramp can be accessed from Elmwood Avenue as well as Hodge Avenue; the rate is $1.75 for the first hour or less and $1.00 for each additional hour, up to a daily maximum of $3.75.
Visitors to Buffalo State College should take great care not to park in any lot signed "Student Parking" or "Staff Parking", or anywhere along Rockwell Road, unless they have a valid Buffalo State parking tag. Campus police are extremely vigilant about ticketing cars that are parked illegally. Metered parking for visitors ($1.00 per hour, 2 hours maximum) is available in Lot C, off Cleveland Circle next to Moot Hall, and also in Lot B-1, behind the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
A few businesses on Elmwood Avenue have parking lots of their own; however, these places will not hesitate to tow any cars parked there that do not belong to their customers. Pano's has gone so far as to post security guards at the entrance to their lot at peak hours. Less well-monitored private lots can be found next to Elmwood Taco & Subs and Starbucks at the corner of West Delavan Avenue, next to Panera Bread between Auburn and Cleveland Avenues, and at Stuyvesant Plaza at the southern end of the district. Regardless, park in private lots at your own risk!
By public transportation
Public transit in Buffalo and the surrounding area is provided by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA). The NFTA Metro system encompasses a single-line light-rail rapid transit (LRRT) system and an extensive network of buses. The fare for a single trip on a bus or train is $2.00 regardless of length. No transfers are provided between buses or trains; travelers who will need to make multiple trips per day on public transit should consider purchasing an all-day pass for $5.00.
The Elmwood Village is traversed by a number of NFTA Metro bus routes:
To and from downtown
NFTA Metro Bus #7 — Baynes-Richmond. Beginning at the Richardson-Olmsted Complex on Forest Avenue, Bus #7 proceeds southward on Baynes Street, then turning on West Ferry Street and continuing southward down Richmond Avenue to Symphony Circle, ending downtown. Bus #7 does not run Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.
NFTA Metro Bus #12 — Utica. Beginning on the West Side, Bus #12 proceeds along West Utica Street through the Elmwood Village, ending at the University Metro Rail Station.
NFTA Metro Bus #26 — Delavan. Beginning on the West Side, Bus #26 proceeds along West Delavan Avenue through the Elmwood Village, ending at the Thruway Mall Transit Center in Cheektowaga.
NFTA Metro Bus #32 — Amherst. Bus #32 traverses Amherst Street through Black Rock and North Buffalo, but dips into the Elmwood Village briefly, serving Buffalo State College and the Museum District via Elmwood Avenue.
By Metro Rail
The Metro Rail runs along Main Street, far east of here. However, the Elmwood Village is easily accessible from the Amherst Street, Delavan-Canisius College, Utica, and Summer-Best Metro Rail Stations by way of NFTA Metro Buses #32, #26, #12, and #22, respectively. Those traveling to the Elmwood Village by both bus and subway are strongly advised to purchase a day pass for $5.00.
Buffalo has been making great strides in recent years in accommodating bicycling as a mode of transportation, with recognition from the League of American Bicyclists as a Bronze-Level "Bicycle-Friendly Community" to show for its efforts — and there are few neighborhoods in Buffalo that are more bike-friendly than the Elmwood Village.
There are two recreational bike trails in the Elmwood Village. The 1.1-mile (1.8 km) multi-use trail that circumnavigates Delaware Park's Hoyt Lake is an especially popular one among cyclists, affording them spectacular views of the lake and the historic Bridge of the Three Americas that carries Lincoln Parkway over it, as well as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Also, the Scajaquada Creekside Trail, also known as the Jesse Kriegel Bike Path, begins near the corner of Lincoln Parkway and Nottingham Terrace (a pedestrian bridge over the Scajaquada Expressway provides access from the Hoyt Lake trail) and proceeds 2.4 miles (3.8 km) along the north bank of Scajaquada Creek, passing the Japanese Garden, the Buffalo History Museum and Buffalo State College on its way into the West Side, where it ends at the Riverwalk in Black Rock.
Among the largest bicycle infrastructure projects in Buffalo in recent memory is located along Elmwood Avenue between the Scajaquada Creekside Trail and Forest Avenue, then proceeding westward on Forest as far as Richmond Avenue. The sidewalks along this stretch of road were completely removed and replaced with a wide asphalt pathway for bicyclists and pedestrians, completely removed from the road, which provides access between the Scajaquada Creekside Trail and Richmond Avenue. In turn, Richmond Avenue has also been altered to accommodate bicyclists, with "sharrows" (pavement markings on roads too narrow to accommodate dedicated bike lanes, indicating that drivers should be aware of bicyclists on the road) in place between Forest Avenue and Colonial Circle, and dedicated bike lanes from Colonial Circle south to Symphony Circle. Additionally, on Elmwood itself bike lanes have been put in place between Anderson Place and Bryant Street, with sharrows north to Forest Avenue and south past North Street into Allentown; sharrows also extend along all of North Street.
Quite frankly, even on streets without dedicated bike lanes or sharrows, the whole of the Elmwood Village is quite amenable to bicyclists — and perhaps just as important, drivers there are much more accustomed to sharing the road than in other areas of the city. Among other streets, the Olmsted parkways that run through the Elmwood Village are especially pleasant places for a leisurely ride on a warm day.
The stretch of Elmwood Avenue between Bidwell Parkway and North Street serves as a hub for Buffalo BikeShare. Members can sign in to the Social Bicycles mobile app to find available bikes there.
Elmwood Avenue is a street that is practically tailor-made for pedestrians. Travellers on foot can enjoy the pleasures of strolling alongside sidewalk cafés, detour into any number of charming shops and boutiques, and fully enjoy the sights and sounds of this delightful neighborhood — while also taking pleasure in not having to deal with slow-going traffic and ubiquitous red lights!
The quieter side streets of the Elmwood Village are no less pleasant to explore on foot than Elmwood Avenue itself. In particular, the Olmsted parkways are delightful places to stroll, with an abundance of mature trees and greenery alongside the roads and within their wide, beautifully landscaped central medians, and a bevy of elegant and historic mansions, each more palatial than the last.
The impressive and growing Museum District, situated at the northern end of the Elmwood Village adjacent to Delaware Park and Buffalo State College, boasts a number of facilities of interest to art lovers. As well, there are a few smaller galleries peppered along Elmwood Avenue.
- Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 882-8700, fax: +1 716 882-1958. Daily 10AM-5PM (F until 10PM). The centerpiece of the Museum District, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery boasts one of the premier collections of modern and contemporary art in the nation, with the impressionist, cubist, surrealist, abstract expressionist, and pop art styles — and artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol — all well-represented among its permanent collection. Works of other styles and periods are also on display, and the Albright-Knox plays host to travelling exhibitions on a frequent basis. The Albright-Knox is housed in a magnificent Neoclassical structure that is a work of art in itself — built in 1905 from a design by Green & Wicks, the greatest Buffalo architectural firm of all time, the building emulates the Erechtheion in Athens, with caryatids designed by eminent sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and, at the time of its construction, more columns than any building in the United States with the exception of the U.S. Capitol. $12, seniors/students $8, children 6-12 $5, free for children 5 and under, museum members, active military, and on first Friday of each month; $5 parking fee ($3 for museum members).
- The Benjaman Gallery, 419 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ +1 716 886-0898. Th-Sa 11AM-5PM, Su-W by appointment. The Benjaman Gallery has been operated since 1970 by Barry Johnson, a local artist, art expert, and a former instructor and advisor at Buffalo State College and the University at Buffalo. What began as part of the thesis Johnson completed to obtain his MFA from Buffalo State has grown into a family-owned and operated institution in Buffalo's booming arts community, situated in a gorgeous Victorian mansion on Elmwood Avenue whose exquisite architecture and decor make it a work of art in itself. The Benjaman Gallery's collection includes the works of Buffalo and Western New York artists such as Hal English, Milton Rogovin, Martha Visser't Hooft, and Barry Johnson himself, as well as nationally and internationally famous names such as Salvador Dalí, Peter Max, and Charles Burchfield, the renowned watercolorist who was a resident of the nearby suburb of Gardenville at the height of his career. The Benjaman Gallery also offers custom framing, restoration, appraisal, research, and design consultation services, and buys and sells antiques.
- Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 878-6011. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Th till 9PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Opened in 1966 and greatly expanded in the early '90s through the charitable largesse of Dr. Charles Rand Penney, the Burchfield Penney Art Center finally moved into its new museum building in 2008 after over a decade of planning and construction. An important addition to the Elmwood Avenue Museum District operated by Buffalo State College, the mission of the Burchfield Penney Art Center is to showcase the unique culture of Buffalo and Western New York and the vibrancy of its creative community with displays of works by local artists. The backbone of the Burchfield Penney's offerings consists of the world's most extensive collection of paintings by Charles Burchfield, a renowned watercolorist who spent most of his career living in or near Buffalo. Temporary exhibitions, often with a local flavor, are also frequently presented. The involvement of the Burchfield Penney Art Center in the community is exemplified by its Art On Wheels program, as well as Herd About Buffalo, a popular phenomenon whereby local businesses have displayed personalized papier-mâché buffaloes or bison as an expression of community pride. $10, seniors $8, students $5, Buffalo State College students and children under 10 free.
- Czurles-Nelson Gallery, Upton Hall, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 878-3549. M-F 9AM-4:30PM. Located at Upton Hall, on the Buffalo State College campus, the Czurles-Nelson Gallery was dedicated in 2009 in honor of Stanley Czurles, founder of Buffalo State's Art Education Department, and his daughter Barbara Czurles Nelson. Displayed here are works in a variety of media created by Buffalo State students, as well as regionally- and nationally-known professional artists. The Czurles-Nelson Gallery also hosts a slate of annual events, including student art shows and sales. Free.
- Filigrees Gallery & Boutique, 1121 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 400-3144. W-Su noon-8PM. Filigrees is an art gallery and multipurpose arts center that features in its display space a permanent collection of drawings, paintings, sculpture, and other works by artists from Buffalo, as well as monthly exhibits encompassing all of the foregoing as well as works by regionally famous artists and exhibits in more unusual media such as mosaic tiling. Handmade jewelry by local artisans, prints of many of the works displayed in the gallery, and a small selection of unique clothing and gifts are available at the gift shop, and Filigrees also hosts community art classes and events, especially during the annual Buffalo Infringement Festival.
- Fuse Salon & Gallery, 984 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 725-6954. M noon-6PM, Tu noon-8PM, W-Th 10AM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-4PM. Describing itself as a "fusion of aesthetic elements in an inviting and contemporary atmosphere", Fuse Salon & Gallery is quite an unusual concept: this full-service upscale hair and beauty salon does double duty as an art gallery that displays a rotating selection of works by local artists, all for sale at fair prices, as well as occasional temporary exhibitions. Guests can admire some of the best work of Buffalo's talented creative community while at the same time getting a manicure or having their hair styled and colored! As befits a full-service salon, locally produced soaps, lotions, massage oils, and sugar scrubs are for sale alongside the artwork. A truly one-of-a-kind experience.
- 1045 Elmwood Gallery for the Arts (Formerly ZGM Fine Arts), 1045 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 228-1855. Th-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-4PM or by appointment. The 1045 Elmwood Gallery is not only the working studio of photographers Don and Diann Zinteck, but also boasts a lovely gallery space that features a permanent collection as well as frequent temporary exhibitions of work by locally- and regionally-known artists in a variety of genres. Upcoming exhibitions as of this writing include an installation of textile sculptures, the annual springtime competition of the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society, and an exhibition of paintings by Pennsylvania native Loryn Spangler-Jones. The 1045 Elmwood Gallery also hosts the Blank Canvas Project, a series of drawing and painting classes for people of all ages and skill levels, and its gallery store sells original artwork, prints, and gifts. As a prominent supporter of the annual Garden Walk Buffalo event, related merchandise is also sold at the gallery's Garden Walk Buffalo Store.
- Buffalo History Museum (Formerly the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum), 25 Nottingham Ct. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 873-9644. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, W until 8PM, Su noon-5PM, Resource Center by appointment during business hours, Research Library W-Sa 1PM-5PM. Located just off Elmwood Avenue in the Museum District and adjacent to Delaware Park, the newly renamed Buffalo History Museum has by far the most extensive collection of artifacts relevant to the history of Buffalo and Western New York from pre-Columbian times to the present day. Originally built for the Pan-American Exposition in 1901, it is perhaps not surprising that the Exhibition is a particular focus of the exhibits at this wonderful museum. A Pierce-Arrow roadster built in Buffalo, the medal presented by George Washington to Chief Red Jacket, prototypes of the cardiac pacemaker invented by Clarence native Wilson Greatbatch, and artistic renderings of historical scenes and people flesh out the collection. Further historical records, manuscripts, photographs, and personal documents are housed at the Research Library. The Buffalo History Museum is also an invaluable resource for local residents interested in genealogy. $7, seniors and students 13-21 $5, children 7-12 $2, members and children under 7 free. Research Library $7, free to members.
- Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium, Buckham Hall D-Wing, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 3), ☎ +1 716 878-4911. F-Sa 7PM-8:15PM or by reservation. The original Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium was showing its nearly half-century of age when it was demolished in 2012 to make way for yet another round of new construction on the campus of Buffalo State College. The permanent replacement will be a state-of-the-art facility that will be a centerpiece of the new Science and Mathematics Complex whose opening is slated for 2019, but until then, programming continues on a temporary basis in a 24-foot (7-meter) inflatable planetarium in Buckham Hall. Though the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium gives you the opportunity to see pretty much any star, planet, constellation, galaxy, nebula, or other astronomical feature you could possibly imagine, it's not an observatory per se — it's actually a 70-seat indoor theater, with a 360°, dome-shaped overhead "screen" immersing visitors in a high-resolution digital image of the night sky that's displayed through a state-of-the-art projection system. General admission is available by reservation, but the majority of visitors to the planetarium come as part of special public programs and exhibits, where dazzling recorded programming educates the public in layman's terms on issues of astronomy. $6; seniors, children 5-17 and students $4; Buffalo State students free; children under 5 not admitted.
More and more, Buffalo's exquisite and well-preserved architecture has grabbed the attention of locals and tourists alike. However, aside from the resplendent Olmsted park and parkway system that's described in more detail below, the Elmwood Village does not really boast the same caliber of architectural treasures as can be found in neighboring areas like Allentown and the Delaware District. Elmwood Avenue itself is largely made up of newer commercial storefronts of no architectural distinction; the side streets are characterized by ample two- and three-story wood-frame residences in styles popular just after the turn of the last century, such as the Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Shingle styles, and occasionally in older styles such as Italianate and Romanesque Revival. Though these houses are a good deal less elegant than the ones you'll see in the Delaware District, they're extraordinarily well-preserved — and that architectural integrity, recounting the history of the Elmwood Village as one of Buffalo's first "streetcar suburbs", is the rationale for the creation of the Elmwood West Historic District. Comprising essentially the entirety of the Elmwood Village west of Elmwood Avenue, the Elmwood West Historic District is, as of March 2013, the newest — and, at 275 acres (115ha) in area, by far the largest — historic district in Buffalo to be inscribed on the National Register of Historic Places. The proposed Elmwood East Historic District, whose nomination to the National Register is still pending as of this writing, is located on the other side of Elmwood Avenue and shares many of the same characteristics as its counterpart.
One place in the Elmwood Village where buildings of truly spectacular architectural distinction can be seen is Lincoln Parkway. The mansions located there are on average a few decades newer than the ones on Delaware Avenue's "Millionaire's Row", but no less grand and sumptuous: proud stone sentinels in the Beaux-Arts, Tudor Revival, and Colonial Revival styles standing guard over a tranquil, broad, and verdant thoroughfare just behind the Albright-Knox.
Also located near Lincoln Parkway is the William R. Heath House, at 76 Soldiers Pl. at the south end of the parkway. The Heath House is the first of several houses in Buffalo designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for top executives of the Larkin Soap Company; sadly, unlike its counterpart, North Buffalo's Darwin D. Martin House, the Heath House is privately owned and not open for tours.
Without a doubt the Elmwood Village's greatest architectural treasure, however, is the magnificent Richardson-Olmsted Complex, a Nationally Registered Historic Place and National Historic Landmark located adjacent to Buffalo State College. Situated on 91 acres (36ha) of land bounded by Elmwood Avenue, Forest Avenue, Rees Street, and Rockwell Road, the Richardson-Olmsted Complex consists of eleven edifices designed in 1870 by architect H. H. Richardson in red Medina sandstone, representing arguably the apex of his signature Richardsonian Romanesque style. The landscaping of the grounds was the work of Frederick Law Olmsted, fresh off the completion of the first phase of Buffalo's park system; a young Stanford White, later a partner in the illustrious New York City firm of McKim, Mead and White, also served as an associate architect on the project. For over a century, the complex was the home of the Buffalo State Hospital, an asylum for mentally ill people whose twin-towered Administration Building still looms 161 feet (49m) over the neighborhood; the Administration Building is flanked by ten residential buildings, five on each side. The operations of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center moved in 1994 to a modern building closer to Elmwood Avenue, leaving the historic buildings vacant; luckily, thanks to the preservation tax breaks available to National Register-listed properties as well as a grant of $100 million from the New York state government, these magnificent buildings are undergoing structural stabilization and thorough rehabilitation with an eye to redevelopment. Ideas that have been proposed for the complex, or parts thereof, include a luxury boutique hotel and a museum dedicated to the distinguished architecture of Buffalo and Western New York.
- Delaware Park, North end of Lincoln Pkwy., behind Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Metro Bus 8, 11, 20, 25, or 32; Metro Rail: Humboldt-Hospital), ☎ +1 716 838-1429. 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, and the renowned Shakespeare in Delaware Park outdoor festival, which takes place here each summer and which is described more thoroughly in the Festivals and Events section below. Hoyt Lake is surrounded by a lovely walking/biking trail and features rowboats and paddleboats for rent at the Marcy Casino during the summer months.
- Delaware Park Rose Garden (Metro Bus 20 or 32). Delaware Park's beautiful Rose Garden is located directly off Lincoln Parkway behind the Marcy Casino, and blooms in season with thirty-three beds of beautiful red, purple, yellow and white roses, many varieties of which have been honored in the past as All-America Rose Selections. The rose garden was not part of Olmsted's original design for the park, but was instead added to the park in 1912. Although its formality contrasts incongruously with the quiet, curvilinear naturalism of the park's original features, the Rose Garden is nonetheless lovely and renowned, and was recently subjected to a thorough restoration at the hands of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. The impeccably manicured garden also includes a working fountain and pyramidal trellises, and a grand pergola at its rear. The garden, and Delaware Park in general, is immensely popular with bridal parties during rose season; don't be surprised if you have to dodge gaggles of bridesmaids posing for endless pictures!
- Japanese Garden (Metro Bus 20 or 32). Inaugurated in 1974 as a gesture of friendship between Buffalo and its sister city of Kanazawa, Japan, Delaware Park's Japanese Garden is located on six acres (2.4ha) on Hoyt Lake, behind the Buffalo History Museum. This beautifully manicured oasis of greenery slopes gently down from Nottingham Terrace to the shore of the lake, also encompassing three small islands in the lake connected to the mainland by a lovely ornamental footbridge. Over the past years, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy has been hard at work restoring and maintaining the more than 1,000 plantings of ornamental trees, shrubs and plants in the garden, including a large stand of Japanese cherry trees, and also have added or will soon add a stone garden and an authentic karesansui waterfall. Amid it all there are many benches and other sitting areas perfect for serene contemplation of one's peaceful natural surroundings.
- Public art. There are a number of installations of public art peppered around the grounds of Delaware Park and in the adjacent parkways. These include:
- Birds Excited Into Flight (In the center median of Bidwell Parkway slightly southwest of Soldiers' Place; Metro Bus 20). Cast in 1981, this was the second commission of public sculpture in Buffalo for locally renowned artist Larry Griffis (his first, Spirit of Womanhood, is described below). Unlike the subsequent works listed here, it stands not in Delaware Park itself, but a short distance away. 20 feet (6 m) in height, Birds Excited Into Flight is sculpted in cold-rolled steel on a concrete pedestal and depicts seven human figures standing in a circle with upstretched arms, their hands metamorphosing into a pyramid of birds.
- David (Adjacent to Scajaquada Expressway and Lincoln Parkway, accessible from Hoyt Lake bike trail; Metro Bus 20 or 32). This bronze replica of Michaelangelo's iconic sculpture David is the work of the firm of Sabatino de Angelis and Sons, based in Naples, Italy. In 1903, three years after seeing it on display at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, Buffalo businessman Andrew Langdon purchased the statue from the firm, with the stipulation that no casts of the sculpture would be sold to any other American clients. Langdon donated the statue to the Buffalo Historical Society, and it has been on display near Hoyt Lake ever since.
- Spirit of Womanhood (Located along eastbound lane of Scajaquada Expressway near Delaware Avenue interchange, accessible from Hoyt Lake bike trail; Metro Bus 11 or 25). Another Larry Griffis sculpture, this 15-foot-tall (4.5m tall) bronze statue is a modernist, stylized rendering of a nude woman holding over her head a metal hoop six feet (1.8m) in diameter. The vertical orientation of the sculpture, and the upward gaze of the figure's head, are symbolic of optimism and hope, and the hoop represents the world, eternity, and the cycle of life. Griffis cast this sculpture in December 1962 in honor of Marian de Forest, the founder of Zonta International, a service organization dedicated to the advancement of women that traces its roots to Buffalo.
- Young Lincoln (At the front of the Rose Garden, facing the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Metro Bus 20 and 32). Located (appropriately enough) adjacent to Lincoln Parkway, this bronze statue depicts Abraham Lincoln seated on an oak log with an axe at his feet and a book on his right knee, symbolizing his transition in life from humble farm labor to the highest achievement of American statesmanship. The work of sculptor Bryant Baker, Young Lincoln was cast in bronze in 1935; on its pink granite base is inscribed a quote from poet James Russell Lowell: "For him her old world moulds aside she threw, and choosing sweet clay from the breast of the unexhausted west, with stuff untainted shaped a hero new."
- Delaware Park is far from the only Frederick Law Olmsted park in the city — on the contrary, all of Buffalo is crisscrossed by Olmsted's park and parkway system, designed by him in stages beginning in 1868, and part of which is found in the Elmwood Village. Olmsted's "parkways" are wide, verdant avenues modeled after the grand boulevards of Paris, and lined with multiple rows of large shade trees. They serve as approaches to the parks, or extend from one park to another, and were intended to enable visitors to travel between parks without ever leaving a green and natural environment (for a long time, automobile traffic was prohibited on the parkways). Running south from the entrance to Delaware Park are three parkways, two of which, Lincoln Parkway and Bidwell Parkway, are located in the Elmwood Village. Also included in the Olmsted parkway system are Soldiers' Place, the grand plaza where Lincoln, Bidwell and Chapin Parkways converge; Colonial Circle, where Bidwell Parkway meets Richmond Avenue and whose beautifully landscaped center island boasts a lovely equestrian statue of local Civil War hero Daniel Davidson Bidwell; and Symphony Circle, at the south end of the Olmsted-designed Richmond Avenue.
Festivals and events
Delaware Park serves as one of the busiest venues for Buffalo's huge and growing slate of annual festivals, with a wide range of activities taking place there year-round. Additionally, the Elmwood Village itself plays host to the upstart Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts each year at the end of August.
- Shakespeare in Delaware Park. Delaware Park's Shakespeare Hill has since 1976 been the setting of Shakespeare in Delaware Park. With a goal of enriching, inspiring and entertaining diverse audiences through performance and educational programming with a focus on the works of William Shakespeare, this not-for-profit professional theatre company performs two selected Shakespeare plays annually from June until August at their striking Tudor-style outdoor stage adjacent to Hoyt Lake, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and the Delaware Park Rose Garden. Performances are free of charge at this longstanding summertime tradition, though donations are greatly appreciated.
- Elmwood Village Summer Concert Series. On Tuesday evenings from early July through to the middle of August, the Elmwood Village Association presents performances on Bidwell Parkway that feature a wide range of Buffalo's most talented local musicians and groups, representing all genres. Best of all, enjoying these casual, family-friendly events is completely free of charge!
- Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Held for the past thirteen years on the final weekend in August, this two-day event is to the Elmwood Village at the end of summer what the larger, longer-standing Allentown Art Festival is to Allentown at the beginning of summer. The Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts distinguishes itself from its counterpart with a broader focus, including not only over 170 artists and artisans but also performances of live music by local bands, a dance tent, displays on such topics as environmental conservation and cultural awareness, and Kidsfest, where young people can participate in hands-on activities and march in the Kidsfest parade.
- Music Is Art Festival. The brainchild of Robby Takac, longtime bass guitarist for Buffalo-based rock band The Goo Goo Dolls, the Music Is Art Festival was founded in 2004 and originally was held in Allentown in June to coincide with the Allentown Art Festival before moving to Delaware Park in 2008, where it now takes place in mid-September. The Music Is Art Festival "celebrates all that is weird and wonderful about [the] arts scene in Western New York" (in the words of a recent feature article in the Buffalo News) by presenting a constant stream of creative performances of live music of all genres by artists of local provenance, on several stages.
- Buffalo Porchfest, ☎ +1 716 881-0707. Modeled after similar events in Ithaca, Cleveland and Somerville, Massachusetts, Buffalo's first annual Porchfest took place in October 2013. This new festival sees local residents in and around the Elmwood Village convert their front porches into impromptu stages for an afternoon, where a range of local musical acts put on free shows for festival attendees. Best of all, Buffalo Porchfest serves as a community-builder, providing an occasion for neighbors to meet up, socialize, and enjoy city life.
- Buffalo State Bengals, Buckham Hall, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 3, 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 878-6533. The Buffalo State Bengals are part of the NCAA's Division III State University of New York Athletic Conference. Outdoor sports, including Buffalo State's football and soccer teams, are held at Coyer Field, while the Buffalo State Sports Arena hosts the home games of the basketball and hockey squads. Tickets to Bengals football, basketball and hockey games cost $5 (free for Buffalo State students); admission to all other sporting events is free.
- Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 878-3005. A wide range of theatrical performances are put on by Buffalo State College. Each year, the performing arts center at Rockwell Hall plays host to Artsploration, a live performance series whose intent is to educate and entertain area students and other youngsters. In addition, Buffalo State's Theater Department presents a range of plays, musicals, dance performances, stand-up comedy acts, improvisational workshops, and other shows at various locations on campus as part of its Mainstage Productions and Bengal 'Plause performance series. Tickets are reasonably priced and can be purchased through the Rockwell Hall box office.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Elmwood Village's live music scene is miniscule compared to other hip Buffalo neighborhoods like Allentown. However, there are a few places there to catch performances.
- Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Cir. (Metro Bus 7 or 22), ☎ +1 716 883-3560. Designed by the internationally-famous father-and-son team of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Kleinhans Music Hall is among the most architecturally distinguished buildings in Buffalo (it has served as a model for Festival Hall in London, among other venues), and boasts world-renowned acoustics. Aside from the several-times-weekly performances of the Buffalo Philharmonic itself, Kleinhans also features performances by other orchestras, small theatrical shows, and popular music acts — which have included Natalie Merchant, Johnny Mathis, and the Indigo Girls — performing either on their own or backed by the Philharmonic as part of the BPO Rocks! concert series.
- Milkie's On Elmwood, 522 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 882-5881. The Elmwood Lounge may have a new name now, but it still presents live shows by local jazz, rock, and blues bands every Friday and Sunday night, as well as a raucous open-mic stand-up comedy showcase every Wednesday night that features the best and brightest of the local scene.
- Rockwell Hall, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 878-3005. As part of its Great Performers Series, Buffalo State College's Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall stages frequent concerts by nationally-known musicians and bands ranging in genre from rock, to folk, to jazz, to R&B, and everything in between. As well, Rockwell Hall is the place to go to see performances by student musicians including the Buffalo State choir and jazz, wind, and percussion ensembles.
Buffalo State College is the raison d'être of the Elmwood Village, the vim and vigor of its 11,000-strong student body having infused new life into Elmwood Avenue in the second half of the 20th Century even as the rest of the city was in decline. Founded in 1871 and moved to its current location in 1931, the school was once known as the New York State Teachers College at Buffalo with a mission of training teachers to work in Buffalo's then-fast-growing public school system; Buffalo State still has arguably the most robust such curriculum in the SUNY system, offering 19 teacher certification programs. Moreover, Buffalo State also offers over 200 additional undergraduate and graduate programs in such fields as arts and humanities, natural and social sciences, business, criminal justice, and the professions. The commitment of Buffalo State College to the Elmwood Village's identity is exemplified in myriad ways: beginning at its inception in 1982, campus radio station WBNY has been a national pioneer in the alternative rock format, and the school's commitment to the arts is exemplified by its Burchfield Penney Art Center and the performance series that are regularly staged at Rockwell Hall and elsewhere on campus.
Clothing and accessories
- Anna Grace, 799 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 332-7069. M 11AM-6PM, Tu-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. This small shop in the heart of the Elmwood Village is where owner Joanne Dina sells contemporary women's clothing, jewelry, handbags and accessories at good prices. The style at Anna Grace is casual yet sophisticated — fashionable without pretension — and the gamut of brands that is represented ranges from the work of upstart independent designers to such nationally known names as Alternative Apparel and Tag Jeans.
- Atelier, 820 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 332-6935. Tu-Sa 11AM-2PM & 3PM-6PM. A love of fashion flows through the veins of Atelier's Italian-born owner, Sebastiana Piras, who arrived in Buffalo after many years spent honing her craft all over Europe, working in all areas of fashion and design. Despite describing the name of her charming shop as sounding "a bit pretentious to [her]", Piras hit on a perfect description for it with this French word that signifies a workshop or studio used by an artist or designer. Indeed, among the exquisite dresses, coats, belts, hats, handbags and other accessories that she imports exclusively from Italy can be found clothes of Piras' own design, handmade with imported fabrics of the utmost quality. Visitors to Buffalo who seek upscale, high-fashion, one-of-a-kind items that can be found nowhere else can scarcely do better than this lovely boutique in the heart of the Elmwood Village.
- Blush, 1005 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 768-0110. Tu-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su noon-4PM. Blush's founder and co-owner, Lexie Furlong, a recent graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology who cut her teeth working at similar clothing boutiques in New York City, took inspiration from the already vibrant array of small clothing stores on Elmwood, but synthesized a distinct style all her own — "bringing the glam back to Elmwood" is how a recent write-up in Buffalo Spree worded it — regaling Buffalonians with chic yet affordable clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty products that are tasteful yet whimsical and really make a bold statement. A special point of distinction at Blush is the interior, where ornate mirrors, chandeliers, silver mannequins, a fireplace, and a huge flat-screen TV playing chick flicks all come together in a truly one-of-a-kind shopping space.
- Buffalo Fleece & Outerwear, 758 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 883-4380. M-Tu 11AM-6PM, W-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-4PM. For over 10 years, Buffalo Fleece & Outerwear has been seeing Western New Yorkers through the harsh winter months with a bevy of fashionable, durable, and high-quality outdoor apparel, activewear, shoes and accessories. Buffalo Fleece & Outerwear has been repeatedly honored in the annual "Best of Buffalo" competition in Artvoice as the Best Outdoor Apparel Store, and proudly sells such well-known brands as UGG boots, SmartWool socks, and Patagonia jackets and fleeces. Also, a wide range of gear is available for adventurous youngsters, as well as a modest selection of other clothing items.
- Bureau, 830 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 259-8141. Tu-Sa noon-7PM, Su noon-4PM. Elmwood's newest purveyor of menswear is more boutique than emporium — the range of inventory available here is relatively circumscribed. But what the folks at Bureau do, they do well, and the stock in trade here is made-to-measure suits in a variety of fabrics, patterns and styles, plus fitted dress shirts and men's accessories such as ties and cufflinks. There are items here that can't be found anywhere else in Buffalo — up-to-the-minute styles sourced from clothiers in places like London and New York. In a recent write-up in Buffalo Rising, co-owner Joseph Stocker describes being inspired to open an upscale menswear store by the timeless style of French singer Serge Gainsbourg, and that old-fashioned approach shines through in Bureau's use of traditional tailoring techniques and attentive nurturing of their relationship with their customers to carefully craft a refined, customized look for each individual client. If that sounds expensive, you're in for a surprise — the items at Bureau are surprisingly affordable; two-piece suits start at $650.
- Cool Hand Clothing, 1068 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 445-8592. Tu-W 2PM-7PM, Th-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 10AM-2PM. "Some men simply do not conform" — that's the motto here, and it's a phrase that's as applicable to Cool Hand Luke himself and the other macho icons of '60s and '70s cinema as it is to the offerings on the racks at this new Elmwood Avenue menswear boutique. Owner Andy LoTempio curates a selection that may not look like much at first blush — flannels, casual button-down shirts, fleece zip-ups, sweater vests, and men's accessories such as aviator shades and belts predominate, and pretentious designer duds are pointedly excluded from the mix — but that's kind of the point; these clothes go together to create an understated look of effortless cool that's perfect for the aspiring Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, or Jack Nicholson on your list. Cool Hand Clothing even carries locally-produced beard oils (courtesy of Rust Belt Barbering just down the street), cologne wax packed in what look like chewing tobacco tins, and beer-infused organic soaps. Prices won't break the bank, either.
- Get Dressed, 576 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 885-6214. M-F 11:30AM-6:30PM, Th till 8PM, Sa 11:30PM-5:30PM. Established in 1973, the stock in trade at Get Dressed is the same fine menswear you know and love from such world-famous designers as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Zanetti, offered at discounts of up to 50% off the national retail price. Customers in search of suit jackets, shirts, ties and accessories flock to Get Dressed not only because of their emphasis on style at affordable prices, but also because they are the only menswear shop in the city to offer free alterations — Get Dressed even keeps its customers' measurements on file so alterations can be made sight unseen!
- Half & Half Trading Company, 1088 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 881-4147. M-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5:30PM, Su noon-5PM. In business since 1973, Half & Half is a dignified old commercial block at the north end of the Elmwood Village that's chock full of unique women's clothing, hats, outerwear, jewelry, and other accessories. At Half & Half, the range of items on offer is diverse enough to cover any need its customers may have, from the boardroom to formal events to everyday attire — yet it's united by a quirky style-consciousness that's a testament to the unique identity of the business. Best of all, the prices here are far more reasonable than similar Elmwood Village boutiques, and the laid-back yet chic ambience is complemented by the helpful service provided by its friendly staff.
- Head Over Heels, 754 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 655-1811. M-Th 11AM-6PM, F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 11AM-5PM. Even though folks loved the original enough that they generally didn't seem to mind the trip out to East Aurora, owner Rachele Pfister has nonetheless heeded the call of her many fans in the city and northern suburbs, opening in July 2015 a second location of Head Over Heels conveniently located in the center of the Western New York boutique shopping universe: on Elmwood Avenue, in the former home of Artisans' Hands. As always, the full name of the shop ("Head Over Heels in Love with Shoes") is accurate but only tells part of the story — while the stylish ladies' footwear sold here is indeed impressive, you'll find an almost equal variety of clothes and accessories as well, including comfy wool sweaters, graphic tees with cute quotes emblazoned across the front. stylish leggings, and the like. The house style is a rustic yet urbane, casual yet sophisticated take on "boho chic" — if you're familiar with Robert Redford's Sundance line of clothing, you're in the right ballpark but picture something a bit trendier — with a definite Western flair to some of the shoes, jewelry, and other accessories. Keep in mind that the Elmwood Avenue Head Over Heels is much smaller than the East Aurora location, so selection leaves a bit to be desired, but on the other hand, as Elmwood Village clothing boutiques go you'd be hard-pressed to find better bargains. Extra bonus points as well for creative merchandising — one reviewer noted seeing "scarves sticking out of beautiful vintage dressers and rings displayed in between pages of big books" on a recent visit!
- Her Story Boutique, 779 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 886-6457. M-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-4PM. The ambition of Her Story Boutique's owner, Sue Morreale, is no secret to those who have followed the Elmwood scene lately — although its original incarnation, Lotions & Potions, was hidden away on a side street off the main drag, its selection of fragrances, women's clothing, lingerie, jewelry, and accessories, curated by its passionate, friendly and inimitable owner, made such an immediate splash that she was able to expand only four years later into the recently vacated former location of Plum Pudding. All of what was on offer at Lotions & Potions is still stocked at Her Story, with a few added twists: Morreale's daughter Ciara is on board with Cici's Closet, a store-within-a-store whose fashions reflect the youthful aesthetic favored by a new generation of fashionistas, while the ever-enterprising owner has crafted a whimsical, one-of-a-kind interior incorporating an antique armoire, claw-foot bathtub, and a striking tin ceiling accentuated with crystal chandeliers that are original to the building.
- MS Eye Candy Boutique, 292 W. Utica St. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 240-9961. Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM. Since 2011, MS Eye Candy has offered contemporary and fashionable women's clothing in this charming little shop in the heart of the Elmwood Village. Co-owners Siobhan Taylor and Miranda Evans select merchandise — from an eclectic mix of independent local designers and up-and-coming names in the fashion world — with an eye for subtle yet eye-catching details that make MS Eye Candy's dresses, blouses and other pieces stand out from the mall brands.
- Pasteurized Tees, 795 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 885-8337. M-W 11AM-5PM, Th-Sa 11AM-10PM. Pasteurized Tees' Facebook page implores you to "imagine a tattoo shop for a t-shirt", and that's essentially the idea here: owner Michael Bowen will take unique designs conceived by his customers, draw them, and print them on a personalized, custom-made t-shirt or sweatshirt — all on the same day! The printing process, which utilizes a custom ink gel, is professional-looking and durable; Bowen was quoted in Buffalo Rising as saying that the print was so permanent that it would outlast the shirt itself. Pasteurized Tees is the place to go for visitors who want to remember their trip to Buffalo with a one-of-a-kind souvenir.
- Rumpelstiltskins, 571 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 883-4145. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. A childrens' consignment shop, Rumpelstiltskins is a great place to buy and sell gently used clothes, shoes, toys and other goods for girls, boys and babies from newborn to age 12 — as well as new items, many of which are locally sourced. Incredible bargains are available on designer clothes and brand-name items from such names as Gap, Ralph Lauren, Old Navy, and Gymboree. Clean and stain-free items in reasonable condition can be consigned by appointment; the consignment period is 90 days; 40% of the proceeds from all items sold within that period (50% for non-clothing items) will be returned to the consignor.
- Scoop Shop, 648 Auburn Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 885-2306. Tu-Sa noon-5PM, F till 6PM. Located just off Elmwood Avenue behind TreeHouse Toys, the Scoop Shop is a consignment store that features stylish and chic vintage clothing, shoes and jewelry for women, at prices that can't be beat (look for the $5 rack located outside on the sidewalk most days!) The vivacious and interesting owners always take good care of their customers, which has earned the Scoop Shop a growing and loyal fanbase in Buffalo.
- Second Chic, 810 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 882-8222. M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su noon-5PM. Second Chic opened on Elmwood Avenue in 2010, and owner Annie Adams' peerless eye for stylish, contemporary secondhand and consignment clothes immediately made a splash with locals. In addition, Second Chic is the only store of its kind in the city that sells contemporary menswear. Though prices aren't the best in the city, customers can count on finding really unique and high-quality items here. Every week from Tuesday through Friday, consigners are on hand at Second Chic to accept gently used ready-to-wear clothing from high-quality brands with good resale value.
- ShoeFly, 801 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 886-3595. M 11AM-5PM, Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM, Th till 7PM, Su noon-5PM. One of the most popular shoe stores in Buffalo, ShoeFly presents visitors with the total package: a combination of great merchandise, great customer service and great prices. In addition to the wide selection of mens' and womens' shoes, including unique styles not found anywhere else in the city (brands such as Frye, Poetic License, Toms, and Matisse are well-represented), a variety of handbags and other accessories can also be found here. ShoeFly is also well-known for its active involvement in community causes and charitable efforts, raising money for causes such as People United for Sustainable Housing and hosting the annual 500-meter Stiletto Run to benefit research into ovarian cancer.
- Sole High, 569 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 248-1345. M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su 12:30PM-5PM. If you're in the market for a new pair of sneakers and you're in the mood to splurge, Sole High is the place for you. But these are no ordinary shoes — with an inventory described in the pages of Buffalo Rising as "like the Albright-Knox of sneakers", what you're buying is as much a work of art as something to wear on your feet. Owner Polo Gerber has contacts throughout the industry, consigning sneakers from collectors around the world to display in the store, then placing custom orders for his clients directly through the designers — designers that include high-fashion nameplates like Versace as well as celebrities like Kanye West, whose "Red October: Yeezy 2" retails for a cool $5,500. Whatever you buy, you can be assured that you'll be owning the topmost quality in urban-styled wearable art, with an upscale yet street-level aesthetic.
- Turnstyle Designs, 298 Ashland Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 362-0790. M-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-6PM. Located at the corner of Lexington and Ashland Avenues a block from Elmwood, Turnstyle Designs is the brand-new boutique where Stephanie Robb, also a founder of the local jewelry store Wild Things that's located around the corner, sells the unique clothes, hats, jewelry, handbags and accessories she designs herself, both solo and in collaboration with other local designers and artisans. Also on staff is aromatherapist Frann LaRocca, offering incense, custom blends of essential oils, and other such goods for sale.
- Urban Leisure and Luxury, 736 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 884-9145. M 11AM-6PM, Tu-Sa 11AM-7PM, F till 8PM, Su 11AM-5PM. This longstanding Elmwood Village institution is a hip boutique that furnishes stylish and active urbanites with contemporary clothing, jackets, boots and accessories. Designer items are the order of the day at Urban Leisure and Luxury, with shelves and showcases stocked with Levi's, Buffalo David Bitton, and French Connection jeans, Freestyle and Nixon watches, and designer sunglasses by Oakley, Ray-Ban, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Versace. Urban Leisure and Luxury is also Buffalo's foremost source for high-end snowboards and other winter sports gear, and happily tunes up or repairs customers' snowboards and skis.
- Vania & David, 1007 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 480-6021. In October 2014, a happy coincidence led to the opening of this charming Elmwood Avenue accessories shop: owner Vania Escauriza Gagliardone was a victim of her own success after fourteen years of selling her custom-designed high-fashion handbags and accessories to stores around the country, followed by two months operating a "pop-up boutique" at Ashker's Juice Bar, but the storefront across the street that she and her partner David Martinez had their eyes on for a long time was snapped up by furniture purveyor sSet shortly after Vania's opening. As if by magic, the shop became vacant again just when it seemed their little space at Ashker's was going to burst at the seams. The stock in trade at Vania & David falls into two categories: leather goods such as handbags, wallets, clutches, and even iPad cases come in brightly colored yet understanted designs and are sourced from traditional artisans in Vania's home country of Paraguay, while the unique and beautiful locally-crafted jewelry that makes up the other half of the equation tends toward the bold and chunky. Vania & David's designs have been featured in GQ magazine and the British versions of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, so you know you're getting nothing but the best here in terms of fashion (with prices to match).
- Village Designs, 448 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 881-7800. M-Th 11AM-7PM, F-Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. A seasoned veteran of the Buffalo retail scene for over a decade, it was almost inevitable that Michelle Voit would eventually open up a shop of her own, and that's exactly what happened when she snapped up this storefront near the southern end of the Elmwood Village in May 2014. Voit has found a niche that fills a void in the Elmwood Village: unlike other stores in the neighborhood that cater to high-school, college-age and young adult women, Village Designs seeks to sell designer clothing, in styles that are trendy yet not overly bold, to fashionable thirtysomethings. This is a large store — the better to accommodate a huge and diverse inventory — and it's got pleasant decorative flourishes like hanging chandeliers and expertly arranged window displays. Jeans are a specialty at Village Designs, but the selections encompass a range of t-shirts, sweaters, dresses, and accessories such as hats, head wraps, scarves, jewelry, and clutches in upscale styles (and for upscale prices) that are more typical of New York or Los Angeles than flyover country.
- Inlight Art Glass, 565 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 881-3564. M-F 9AM-4:30PM or by appointment. Julian Deganis, the founder of Inlight Art Glass, is affiliated with the Roycroft Movement, a community of artisans located in the nearby village of East Aurora that was an important part of the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts Movement, and whose influence in American architecture and design can still be felt today. The Roycroft Community has accorded Deganis the title of Master Craftsman, and his work is truly of peerless quality — a variety of brilliantly colored lamps, light fixtures, and windows, often boasting geometric designs reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's work, are available for display and sale in the shop. Deganis also gladly accepts commission consultations.
- Poster Art, 1055 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 883-3034. M 11AM-4PM, Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM. Located since 1988 at the corner of Elmwood and Bird Avenues, Poster Art is Buffalo's one-stop shop for new, old and rare posters, postcards and collectibles, with thousands of designs available in-store and through special order. A centerpiece of Poster Art's slate of merchandise is what may be the largest selection of vintage and contemporary images of Buffalo and Western New York in existence, many of which were taken by the store's resident photographer, Joe Cascio. As well, visitors can see and purchase locally-themed memorabilia such as rare original promotional posters and flyers for Buffalo-based rock band The Goo Goo Dolls, as well as Buffalo Sabres memorabilia and jigsaw puzzles featuring a variety of local scenes. Poster Art will also plaque-mount and frame your poster; a wide variety of wood and metal frames in all sizes are stocked.
- Six Dimension Design, 241½ Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 881-5251. M-Sa 9AM-5PM or by chance. The art glass workshop owned by the energetic, passionate, and endlessly interesting Jim Sawyer has been likened in Buffalo Rising to a "parallel universe... right out of some underground science-fiction novel". The shop is appropriately named: Sawyer crafts stained glass geodes in "six-dimensional" geometric designs based on crystal formations and atomic structures. His shop is filled to overflowing with pyramids, tetrahedrons, and geodesic-dome shapes produced using the finest stained and leaded glass and other artistic elements. Aside from selling arguably the most unique gifts in Buffalo, Six Dimension Design also repairs stained glass and, interestingly, sells flowers.
- Thin Ice, 719 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 881-4321. Su-M 11AM-6PM, Tu-Sa 10:30AM-7PM. A steadfast supporter of Buffalo's arts community, Thin Ice is a charming boutique that sells handcrafted pottery, glassware, jewelry, textiles, and creations in metal and wood, all of which are made in the USA and the vast majority of which are the work of local artists and artisans. Thin Ice is centrally located at the heart of the action on Elmwood and is the perfect place for those in search of one-of-a-kind gifts, as well as visitors who would like to give back to the Buffalo art scene.
- Abraham's Jewelers, 798 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 873-0734. Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-4PM, evenings by appointment. Abraham's Jewelry was founded in 1982 by a group of jewelry professionals that already boasted 48 years in the industry. Today, Abraham's Jewelers is well-known to locals as a great place to buy quality jewelry — pre-made items as well as custom-designed and manufactured pieces in gold, silver, and platinum, and with a full range of diamonds and other gemstones. In addition, Bullova, Carvel, Wittnauer, and Accutron brand watches are also for sale. Abraham's Jewelers will also gladly repair, restore, or reset your jewelry, and buys old and unwanted jewelry (individual pieces as well as estate sets) at fair prices.
- Aurum Jewelers, 487 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 886-1300. Tu-Sa 10AM-6:30PM or by appointment. Opened in 1964, Aurum Jewelers is the longest-established jeweler on Elmwood. At Aurum, owner Paul Michaels matches the quality of his jewelry — rings, bracelets, pendants, cufflinks, timepieces and even tableware in sterling silver, gold and platinum, inlaid with a wide variety of precious and semiprecious stones — with personalized service that takes into account his customers' individual personality, needs, and budget. Aurum Jewelers is also happy to appraise, clean or repair your jewelry. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are also welcome. Aurum Jewelers is proud to have been named Best Jewelry Store in Artvoice's "Best of Buffalo" poll for 2010.
- The Silver Kaleidoscope, 515 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 885-7279. M-Sa 11AM-6PM. In business for 35 years at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and West Utica Street on the first floor of the Elmwood Square Building, The Silver Kaleidoscope boasts the area's largest selection of sterling silver jewelry. The Silver Kaleidoscope offers traditional as well as custom designs, gold and silver jewelry repairs, and even ear piercing.
- Wild Things, 224 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 882-3324. M-Sa 11AM-6PM. Opened by four Buffalo State College art students in a humble Lexington Avenue storefront with a cigar box as a cash register, Wild Things has grown into one of Buffalo's best-known and best-loved purveyors of handmade original jewelry by local artisans, as well as fine linens, ceramics, and other crafts. Wild Things' stable of designers includes six jewelers working with a variety of materials including silver, gold, enamel, and pearls and gemstones, but the specialty here is custom-designed bridal jewelry. Wild Things' dedication to the betterment of Buffalo has gone beyond supporting local designers to being a driving force behind the foundation of the Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts.
- Inspiration Point, 483 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 883-8670. Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM. Inspiration Point is a modest but charming bookshop that stocks literature on such esoteric subjects as Eastern spirituality, yoga, metaphysics, meditation, natural healing, astral travel, and psychic phenomena. In addition, a wide range of music, greeting cards, and gift items such as candles, crystals, totems, and incense is on offer, and classes and workshops are held frequently.
- The Mezzanine Book Shop, 633 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 883-6651. M & Th noon-7:30PM; Tu, F & Sa 10AM-5:30PM. The Mezzanine Book Shop is located on the second floor of the Crane Branch Library, and sells donated books in good condition, including an especially large selection of children's books. All hardcover books are $1.00 and all paperbacks are 25¢, with proceeds going to support the Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries. The Mezzanine Book Shop is a great place to donate your used books.
- Talking Leaves Books, 951 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 884-9524. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-6PM. Talking Leaves Books is Buffalo's oldest independent bookstore; its original store in University Heights dates back to 1971, with a second location in the Elmwood Village opened in 2001. To quote from the store's website, the name Talking Leaves "derives from a recurrent conceptualization of books by peoples who were unfamiliar with print; book pages were seen as 'leaves' that 'talked,' imparting wisdom and knowledge and spirit... an intriguing way of keeping track of the treasures of the people: their minds and their ways of being in, and understanding, the world." True to that philosophy, offered here is a vast selection of the sort of books that expand people's consciousness, with an especial emphasis on unusual and oft-neglected topics that reflect the unique identity of Elmwood Villagers. But what Buffalonians love most about Talking Leaves is the staff, who take sincere pleasure in customer service whether it be special-ordering books not currently in stock, making interesting recommendations, or attending to any problems customers may have. Talking Leaves is a true Buffalo gem.
Chocolate and candies
- Fowler's Chocolates, 746 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 885-2183. M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. For over 100 years, Fowler's Chocolate Company has been satisfying Western New Yorkers' sweet tooth with a full range of exceptionally high-quality chocolates that are manufactured locally at their own factory. Among the delightful confections available at Fowler's seven retail stores (among the most popular of which is their Elmwood Avenue location) are pecan caramel clusters, chocolate-covered pretzels, and a range of European-style truffles — but the specialty at Fowler's is sponge candy, a perennial favorite among Buffalonians. Fowler's employees can assemble a wide variety of custom-made gift boxes and other assortments, including a "bouquet" of a dozen long-stemmed solid chocolate roses. Fowler's also boasts an ice-cream counter in the summer, and serves fresh hot chocolate in colder weather.
- Watson's Chocolates, 738 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 884-3216. M-W 10AM-5:30PM, Th-F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. In business since 1946, Watson's Chocolates is often regarded by locals as the yin to Fowler's yang. However, Watson's distinguishes itself from its longtime rival a few doors down Elmwood with its status as a larger operation with more locations, and a correspondingly wider range of products sold at its stores. In addition to fine chocolates — including a line of sponge candy that Buffalo Spree has honored as the best in Western New York — Watson's Chocolates also sells other sweet treats such as hot fudge sauce, English toffee, and a selection of praline and fudge, as well as a larger and more exquisite range of gift baskets.
- Spiral Scratch Records, 1109 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 882-3200. M-Sa noon-8PM, Su noon-5PM. One of Buffalo's last remaining independent record stores, Spiral Scratch moved in 2015 from their former home on Bryant Street up north to the storefront next door to their spiritual predecessor, the sorely missed Home of the Hits. As always, the specialty here is an encyclopedic collection of new and used vinyl records, spanning old-school and new-school punk, hardcore, heavy metal, indie rock, soul, and exotica. A modest selection of CDs, cassettes and DVDs are in stock, as well as a bevy of other related items such as stickers and buttons, record cleaning supplies, T-shirts, books and magazines. As well, the curators of this amazing emporium of music are always looking for used records or CDs to purchase.
- The Bavarian Nut Company, 822 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 983-8275. Su-Th 1:30PM-7PM, F-Sa 1:30PM-8PM. In operation in since 1994, the Bavarian Nut Company is one of the first manufacturers in the United States of cinnamon-glazed nuts of the type sold by street vendors and snack shops in Bavaria. Almonds, pecans and cashews are roasted in-house in the authentic Bavarian style. Other products sold at the Bavarian Nut Company include dry-roasted mixed nuts, pistachios, "Buffalo Hot Nuts" (peanuts rubbed with spicy Cajun seasoning), smoked almonds, chocolate-covered nuts — and, since moving to the Elmwood Village from their former base of operations in Clarence, they've further expanded their inventory to include a variety of bubble teas and delicious macaroon cookies.
- Blue Mountain Coffees, 509 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 883-5983. M-F 8AM-6PM, Sa 8AM-5PM, Su 8AM-2PM. Located on Elmwood Avenue near the corner of West Utica Street, Blue Mountain Coffees is a one-stop shop in the Elmwood Village for all things caffeinated. Not only does Blue Mountain serve up some of Buffalo's best fresh-brewed coffee, as well as biscotti and other delightful accoutrements, but it is also a great place to pick up a dizzying variety of whole coffee beans in such unusual flavors as Banana Nut Crème, German Chocolate Cake, Blueberry Muffin, and Tanzanian Peaberry. The dark roasts are especially good. A variety of other items are available, including teas, fine tobacco, a huge selection of greeting cards, scented candles, and various other gifts. Visitors can also chat with Blue Mountain's interesting and personable owner, Jim Greer, or simply bask in the intoxicating aroma of the different coffee beans.
- D'Avolio, 814 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 783-9977. M-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 11AM-5PM. D'Avolio Olive Oils, Vinegars & More originated in Lewiston in 2010, and soon afterward opened a second location in the Elmwood Village. Here is sold a wide selection of over fifty handcrafted, uniformly high-quality extra-virgin olive oils, including both plain varieties and oils infused with such additional ingredients as garlic, peppers and herbs. A somewhat smaller selection of balsamic vinegars is also on offer, as well as other gourmet oils such as truffle, chili and almond oil. Though imported oils from places such as Italy, Greece and Australia are on offer, the bulk of D'Avolio's merchandise comes from Veronica Foods, the California-based outfit that has been recognized as the producer of the highest-quality extra-virgin olive oils in the United States. D'Avolio prides itself on its ability to provide friendly and personal service to its customers, matching them to a product that is right for them based on their extensive knowledge of their products, the individual needs of the customer and the recommendations and comments of other customers — something a supermarket just can't do.
- The Farm Shop, 241 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 256-8235. F noon-7PM, Sa 9AM-7PM. Aside from the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmer's Market, this tiny, out-of-the-way store a block from Elmwood Avenue is the sole local retail outlet for White Cow Dairy, a 200-acre (81 ha), fourth-generation family farm situated in the verdant hills of Cattaraugus County. What this store lacks in size (its entire inventory is contained in four coolers and a freezer) is more than made up for by the quality of what's on offer — everything sold at The Farm Shop is produced in the farm's onsite kitchen only a few steps away from the stables and fields, and White Cow Dairy's cows are fed exclusively on 100% wild grass, making for delightfully nuanced, old-fashioned flavors you can't find at the supermarket. Farm-freshness is what's emphasized here above all else, meaning that the shop's stock changes week-to-week as well as seasonally, depending on what the farm has freshly made at any given time. What folks flock to the Farm Shop for above all is yogurt; whether it be standard-issue varieties like vanilla and raspberry or more unusual flavors like gingerberry, this stuff will knock your socks off. Loyal customers also rave about the unique whey and other dairy tonics available here, as well as homemade puddings and custards, artisan cheese, "yogonaise" (White Cow's own yogurt-based sandwich spread with olive oil, sea salt and fresh chives), and Amish-style brown eggs. As well as dairy products, there's a modest range of other locally-sourced goodies too: maple syrup harvested from a forest adjacent to the dairy, produce from Buffalo's own West Side Herbs and Alliums, artisanal chocolate from Dark Forest Chocolates out of Lancaster, and more.
- Nickel City Cheese & Mercantile, 423 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ +1 716 882-3068. M-Sa 11AM-6PM. Nickel City Cheese & Mercantile opened in March 2012 in the shadow of Women and Children's Hospital at the south end of the Elmwood Village, and immediately became Buffalo's favorite purveyor of "udderly unique" cheeses and other gourmet edibles. Though a wide variety of specialty foods such as jams, chocolates, coffees, pasta, and crackers are on offer at this charming European-style shop, clearly the star of the show is a selection of domestic and imported cheeses that is second to none in the local area, all cut to order. Nickel City Cheese also boasts a take-out counter serving soups, sandwiches and other light fare, and their custom-made gift baskets and cheese-and-charcuterie platters are popular gift items. Simply put, Nickel City Cheese is a can't-miss for foodies in Buffalo.
- Zetouna Olive Oil, 818 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 837-3858. M-F 11AM-7PM, Su 11AM-5PM. Located in the heart of the Elmwood strip across from the Lexington Co-op, the retail outlet for Zetouna brand olive oils is a foodie's dream come true: the owners import from Tunisia a wide variety of cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oils, hand-harvested by local farmers in a method that dates back to the 8th-century BC, directly to the store — eliminating the middleman and providing Buffalonians with access to some of the finest olive oil in the world at relatively affordable prices. Tunisia's long growing season means the harvest can be delayed until the olives are fully ripe, making for a robust flavor that has won Zetouna olive oils a number of international awards. Zetouna's flagship extra-virgin olive oil is joined on the store's shelves by an organic version of the same, a gourmet olive oil that is produced annually in limited quantities, orange- and basil-infused olive oils, other gourmet foods, and tableware and other items handcrafted from Tunisian olive wood.
Tattoos and piercing
- Dead Man's Hand Tattoo & Piercing, 561 Forest Ave. (Metro Bus 7 or 20), ☎ +1 716 783-7541. M by appointment, Tu-Th noon-8PM, F-Sa noon-9PM. Opened in 2008 on Forest Avenue in the shadow of the Richardson-Olmsted Complex, the little tattoo shop owned by Rob Pawlewski and Matt Rich has been described by its growing legion of loyalists as a "hidden gem". Quite simply, the tattooists at Dead Man's Hand, all art-school graduates dedicated to the highest expression of their craft, do some of the finest work, at some of the most reasonable prices, in Buffalo. More than that, the friendly and helpful service provided here is a testament to the pleasure Dead Man's Hand takes in building personal relationships with each customer. Financing plans are offered, as well as special deals for college students, birthdays, and other occasions. Dead Man's Hand also offers body piercing, and a modest range of jewelry.
- Hand of Doom Tattoo, 734 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 881-4424. M-Th noon-8PM, F-Sa noon-10PM. In 2009, when Artvoice readers voted Hand of Doom Tattoo to the coveted status of Best Tattoo Shop in its annual "Best of Buffalo" poll, locals in the know weren't surprised in the least: for a long time, the work of Chris Lombardi, Jon Mirro, and Josh Schlageter — comprising everything from traditional designs to tribal and Eastern tattoos, and everything in between — has been admired by appreciative locals as a gold standard among local tattoo artists. To match their skill as artists, H.O.D.'s tattooists pride themselves on the accommodating, truly friendly service they provide to customers in their clean and comfortable studio.
- Hardcore Tattoo, 902 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 885-8282. M-Th 1PM-9PM, F-Sa 1PM-11PM. Located on Elmwood near West Delavan Avenue, Hardcore Tattoo is a giant among Buffalo tattoo parlors: in addition to the custom tattoos proudly designed by their staff for their customers, the artistic prowess of Hardcore's tattooists is on full display in the tens of thousands of existing designs available, representing a full range of old-school and new-school styles. Among Hardcore's immense stable of artists, customers seem to hold Danny "Phatboy" Lazi — a true prodigy who designed his own homemade tattoo machine at the age of 16 — in the highest esteem. Touch-ups are provided free of charge (M-Th only), and Hardcore Tattoo will also gladly enhance and elaborate — or cover up — your existing tattoos. Several piercing artists are also employed here; though the piercings done here are not lauded as highly as the tattoos, Hardcore Tattoo does stock hundreds of high-quality pieces of body jewelry at fair prices.
- MaddTat2, 1115 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 602-7441. M-Sa noon-8PM. This tattoo parlor and piercing studio is located at the far northern end of the Elmwood Village, in the former Guerrilla Gallery just south of Forest Avenue. In their own words, MaddTat2 "strive[s] to be THE BEST tattoo shop in Buffalo" — a tall order to be sure, given the competition, but the award-winning work of the talented artists here truly speaks for itself. A specialty here is airbrush tattoos; MaddTat2's status as the best place in Buffalo for designs of this type is almost undisputed among tattoo fans in Buffalo. The staff here is held in high esteem by his shop's rabidly loyal cadre of fans for the personal touch in their interaction with customers, their patience with those who are new to the tattoo experience, and their fair prices. MaddTat2 also doubles as a piercing studio.
Furniture and home decor
- Blue Sky Design Supply, 978 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 852-1680. Tu-F noon-6PM, Sa 10AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM. Tyra Johnson is a Milwaukee native whose remarkable career arc took her from the University at Buffalo, where she earned MBA degrees in environmental and civil engineering, to a plum position as a project manager in a major local construction firm, to — of all places — a little Elmwood Village boutique. In point of fact, Blue Sky Design Supply got its start in the Cobblestone District in 2010, only moving to Elmwood five years later, but the purview is the same as always: housewares, decorative baubles, and interior elements of diverse descriptions thoughtfully crafted from salvaged and/or environmentally conscious materials. Johnson takes the "upcycled" goods these products are sourced from and reuses them in truly creative ways — unique items that have been featured in the past include rubber doormats fashioned out of used flipflop sandals, as well as serving spoons made of aluminum salvaged from a recently demolished house — and, best of all, you don't have to sacrifice visual appeal to consume in a sustainable way, as Blue Sky's inventory is an expert blend of practical eco-consciousness with attractive style. Staff is even happy to offer helpful hints and suggestions about your own home renovation and how best to reuse the wood, metal, and other materials you might otherwise end up putting in the dumpster.
- OffBeat Emporium, 507 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 885-5077. Su-M noon-5PM, Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM. The spark that led to the founding of this Elmwood Avenue housewares store occurred when owners Brandon Tallau and Samantha Tagliarino were purchasing a new home and discovered that the furniture their neighbors had thrown in the trash was of better quality than the new items they saw in stores. Accordingly, OffBeat Emporium reconditions and repurposes used furniture and home decor, repairing them and infusing them with new, one-of-a-kind personalities, and sells them to a large stable of loyal customers at affordable prices. An integral part of OffBeat Emporium's mission is promoting an ethos of sustainability, reducing the amount of waste dumped into landfills and saving money for their customers in the process.
- The Peddler, 656 Elmwood Ave. (At Parish Commons; Metro Bus 12 or 20). Sa 8:30AM-4PM, mid-Apr through late Oct. The Peddler is more than just a flea market — it's a neighborhood institution, a social gathering place, and a real slice of Elmwood Village life and point of community pride. Founded in 2012 by Newell Nussbaumer, better known as the head honcho of Buffalo Rising, every Saturday morning in the warm months The Peddler brings life to an underutilized parking lot with an emporium of vintage, retro, and antique furniture, home decor, and clothing. The design of the market takes its inspiration from the Chelsea Flea Market in New York City, and though it may not be the biggest such place in the world (though it's getting bigger every year), a surprisingly diverse variety of wares are packed into its confines. The Peddler's vendors — some steadfast regulars, some more itinerant ones — offer an interesting selection of upscale goods to a wide variety of customers, from hipsters to families with kids to old folks to a growing legion of visitors who come from places like Toronto and Rochester in search of bargains. In the winter, The Peddler moves indoors to The Foundry on the East Side.
- Ró, 732 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 240-9387. Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-4PM. Reimagine, the vintage furniture store owned by Cortney Morrison-Taylor and Hayley Carrow, had spent the three years since its opening steadily growing and expanding its oeuvre with new products, so it was perhaps no surprise to Elmwood Villagers when, in October 2013, the store culminated its continuous metamorphosis with a new name. Though the "Reimagine" moniker is still used to refer to the line of Mid-Century Modern furniture that has always been the store's main focus, the name Ró (which means "tranquil" in Danish) was chosen to emphasize the store's expansion into sleek, stylish Scandinavian furniture and housewares, and to encapsulate its new identity as "a concept of calm living through functional design". Other new items you'll find here, many of which aren't available anywhere else in Western New York, include specialty housewares from a range of emerging design firms, many of which are based in Brooklyn. As a continuation of its commitment to ecological sustainability, Ró also deals in reclaimed items sourced from abandoned industrial sites and other places around Buffalo. Art shows are also held on a bi-monthly basis, where the work of local artists is exhibited.
Liquor, beer and wine
- Hodge Wine & Liquor, 463 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 884-6669. M-Sa 9:30AM-9PM, Su noon-5PM. For over 80 years, Hodge Wine & Liquor has been regaling Western New Yorkers with a bevy of vintages and spirits sold in a friendly environment brimming with old-Buffalo character. Owner James Pepe stocks his store with a good selection of wines that relies more heavily on imports (including what may be the finest selection of Spanish wines in Buffalo) than the local vintages that other stores in Buffalo tend to showcase, and staffs it with some of the most knowledgeable folks in the area, who know wine through and through and are eager to direct customers to a vintage that matches their taste and budget. A decent range of spirits are also sold at Hodge Wine & Liquor.
- Village Beer Merchant, 547 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 881-1080. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-6PM. The Village Beer Merchant is, to put it succinctly, heaven for Buffalo beer snobs. As is perhaps obvious, the specialty here is a slate of brews that gives the perennial favorite local beer store, Premier Gourmet, a run for its money: a dizzying gamut of imports, local and regional microbrews, and seasonal selections curated by a knowledgeable and friendly staff eager to direct customers toward the beer that's right for them. More than that, though, the Village Beer Merchant is a destination for those in search of a wide variety of gourmet specialty foods, with a range of artisanal cheeses, fine olive oils, chocolates, teas, Boar's Head deli meats and other charcuterie, and other upscale edibles. The setting for all of this is an impeccably decorated store that does justice to the historic character of this old commercial block.
Toys and gifts
- Candles by Christina, 1006 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 887-8365. Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa noon-8PM, Su noon-4PM. West Side native Christina Fernandez founded this new Elmwood Avenue boutique to provide scented-candle aficionados like her with an alternative to big-box candle stores and shopping-mall outlets that is more affordable, healthier to breathe, and safer for the environment. This is because all the candles sold at Candles by Christina are made with soy wax, rather than paraffin, a petroleum derivative — Christina has been crafting them in her own kitchen since 2009. Into the wax are infused a range of two dozen different blends of essential oils, making for "decadently fragrant" (in the words of one reviewer) scents such as Coconut Lime, Oakmoss and Amber, and "Jamaica Me Crazy". At holiday time, a range of seasonal scents make an appearance too. At Candles by Christina you can get the usual jar candles as well as tea candles and accessories such as candlestick holders and burners; the shopping experience is cozy and fragrant, with dark wood paneling on the walls lending the space real character.
- Everything Elmwood, 740 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 883-0607. M-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. In this charming boutique's name, the word "everything" is no exaggeration: a mind-boggling variety of upscale and unique gifts are sold here. The constantly changing gamut of merchandise at Everything Elmwood comprises greeting cards, housewares, pottery, toys, decorative items, jewelry, handbags and other accessories, and many other trinkets and baubles that are not available anywhere else in the area. Visitors to Buffalo who are on the lookout for that one-of-a-kind gift will be in heaven here — and the spectacular gift wrapping that Everything Elmwood's loyal customers rave about is the icing on the cake!
- Fern + Arrow, 773 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 882-5858. M 11AM-6PM, Tu-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Positively Main Street may be no more, but you'd be forgiven for forgetting that fact if you were to walk into the doors of its former home today: not only was the transition remarkably seamless (the owners of the successor business even helped out the retiring Linda Matt with Pos' "store closing" sale!), but the goods sold by the newly-opened Fern + Arrow are not very different from their predecessor either. Here you'll find a selection of high-quality gifts with an emphasis on housewares and decorative items — to be fair, a lot of what Positively Main Street carried was souvenir-store schlock, but Fern + Arrow dials down the kitsch factor in favor of things like ceramic kitchenware, linens and table service, scented candles, greeting cards, inexpensive yet stylish designer jewelry, and coffee table books. This eclectic inventory is yours for the browsing on an open, airy sales floor that's a breeze (literally and figuratively) to shop in!
- Froggy, 289 Bryant St. (Metro Bus 12, 20 or 22), ☎ +1 716 622-0858. W-Sa noon-7PM, Su noon-5PM. Froggy is a brand-new store on Bryant Street that sells a wide range of retro goods for nostalgic Buffalonians eager for a trip down memory lane. Vintage dolls, toys and collectibles are the centerpiece of the store's inventory, as well as clothes, vinyl albums, and repurposed furniture. The well-organized merchandise and jubilant decor make browsing Froggy's shelves a true joy. According to a recent write-up in Buffalo Rising, owner Mario Campana named the store after a stuffed animal he owned as a young boy, going on to explain that it is "dedicated to those people who still relish possessions they have lost along the way".
- NEO Gift Studio, 512 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 884-1119. M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. If you're looking for that perfect, one-of-a-kind gift for someone who may be hard to buy for, NEO Gift Studio is the place for you. This immense store in the heart of the Elmwood Village has gifts of all descriptions, both whimsical and practical, for all ages, women as well as men — candles and candleholders, home decor, office items, fine tableware, lamps, gag gifts, a wide selection of flowers, picture frames, and much more. As well, NEO's friendly employees live out the cliché of "service with a smile", and provide one of the highest-quality gift-wrapping services in Buffalo: a perfect finale for your experience at this one-stop gift shop.
- Spoiled Rotten, 831 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 884-3883. M-Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 11AM-5PM. If you want a unique gift that brags loudly and proudly about how much you enjoyed your trip to Buffalo, look no further than Spoiled Rotten. This cute little store sells, in its own words, "everything Buffalo": a wide variety of gifts, trinkets, t-shirts and seasonal items with a local theme, in a pleasantly laid-back atmosphere. Spoiled Rotten's friendly staff is the icing on the cake: they'll go the extra mile to attend to customers' individual needs — whether it be advising curious visitors on what to see and do around town, or with their complimentary gift wrapping service of exceptionally high quality — and they have an extensive knowledge of the products stocked there.
- TreeHouse Toy Store, 793 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 882-1322. M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Th & F till 7PM, Su noon-4PM. The Elmwood Village's neighborhood toy store, on offer at the TreeHouse is a huge, handpicked selection of toys, games, dolls, stuffed animals, and childrens' books and gifts that comprise classic favorites as well as the hottest new items, and which emphasizes educational toys and games that inspire the creativity and imagination of young people.
- The African Market, 224 Elmwood Ave. #3 (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ +1 716 882-1424. M-Sa 11AM-7PM. Buffalo's African Market opened in its current location in 2007, after a number of years in business at the Broadway Market on the East Side. This fascinating store features "Designs by Dovi & Girls", referring to its owner Dovi Tsofamo, a Togolese refugee who arrived in Buffalo with her daughters in 1999. At the African Market can be bought a dizzying array of items — everything from distinctive and brightly colored clothing, jewelry, and accessories in authentic African styles, to mudcloths and tapestries, to all natural shea butter, oils and other beauty products, to unique gift items such as djembe drums and fair-trade baskets made in Uganda, Rwanda and South Africa, and even a modest selection of West African grocery items.
- Allentown Music, 1113 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 883-2341. M-F noon-7PM, Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. There is much about Allentown Music that is unexpected. First of all, it is no longer located in Allentown as it was originally, but at the north end of the Elmwood Village within easy walking distance of Buffalo State College. Secondly, though it may look small from the outside, Allentown Music is actually a one-stop shop for Buffalo musicians of all stripes that's packed with a vast array of musical instruments: popular favorites like electric, acoustic and bass guitars (including Fender, Yamaha, Danelectro, Ibanez, and Gibson models), drum kits, keyboards, violins and brass instruments, as well as unusual and exotic instruments such as dulcimers, bagpipes, and ukuleles. Supplies such as amps, strings, drumsticks, picks, and the like are also available, as well as a selection of instructional books and videos for the beginner musician. Though Allentown Music is not the place to go for aficionados of high-end gear, the instruments (mostly used) sold here are generally mid-range pieces in decent condition offered at affordable prices. Allentown Music also rents out and repairs instruments and speakers, and offers a great deal on guitar re-stringing: $1.00 per string plus free fretboard conditioning, cleaning and polishing.
- Animal Outfitters, 986 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 884-2420. M-F 10AM-7PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Animal Outfitters' website is mastheaded by as apt a decription as any of this unique, locally-owned shopping destination: "a specialty pet store for dogs and cats and the people who love them". Animal Outfitters recently moved from its cramped former home on Bryant Street to its current location to better accommodate its vast array of specialty products, which comprises premium natural and holistic pet foods and treats, collars, leashes, coats and sweaters, premium kitty litter, toys, gifts for pet lovers, and such ephemera as bath and body items for pets and a line of pet aromatherapy products. The high-quality items sold by Animal Outfitters and the friendly and knowledgeable service provided by its staff — especially the affable owner, Omar — have earned the store unanimous praise. Animal Outfitters is also happy to special-order for its customers any items that may be out of stock.
- Campus WheelWorks, 744 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 881-3613. M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Campus WheelWorks is a haven for cyclists — sold here are a range of high-quality products at fair prices that attracts a colorful diversity of Elmwood Villagers and that is curated by a friendly staff that knows their products well. The centerpiece of Campus WheelWorks' body of merchandise, obviously, is bicycles — the accent here is on racing bikes from such brands as Jamis, Felt, Bianchi, Surly, and Redline, which can be purchased from what's in stock or special-ordered to accommodate customers' particular body shape and specifications. Campus WheelWorks' employees pride themselves in repairing or tuning up customers' bikes in a friendly and skillful manner. Skis and snowboards are a secondary focus here, with cross-country skis available for rent during the winter months, and waxing, tuning and repair of skis and snowboards available. Campus WheelWorks also sells a wide range of name-brand sportswear and accessories such as bicycle shorts, helmets, jerseys, winter jackets, and boots.
- Elmwood Pet Supplies, 706 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 883-1377. M-F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 10AM-4PM. An Elmwood Avenue institution for over sixty years, Elmwood Pet Supplies is a modest storefront from the outside, but inside it's packed to the rafters with high-end yet reasonably priced pet foods, treats, toys, beds, collars, and other supplies such as cat litter, bird feeders, and aquariums. Elmwood Pet Supplies boasts a friendly and knowledgeable staff, a personal and local approach to business that sees it support worthy causes such as the Buffalo Animal Shelter, and a selection that emphasizes foods free of dyes, corn, wheat, and other by-products. Perhaps best of all, Elmwood Pet Supplies also has a small parking lot at its rear for the convenience of its customers.
- Mother Nature Plant Emporium, 712 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 881-1575. M-Sa 10AM-6PM, F till 7PM, Su 10:30AM-3:30PM. The only store of its kind on Elmwood Avenue, Mother Nature Plant Emporium's stock in trade is an excellent selection of fresh-cut flowers, shrubs and other plants, made available to you by a friendly, eccentric and knowledgeable owner (who can be found sipping coffee at the adjacent Acropolis restaurant as often as in the store itself!) Elmwood Villagers rave about the reliably fresh and beautiful bouquets available here.
- Renew Bath & Body, 927 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 881-0177. M-F 10AM-7PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Opened in June 2014 at the former location of Homeward Bound, the selection at Renew emphasizes quality over quantity: the range of sugar scrubs, moisturizing creams, face masks, body oils and other skin care and toiletry products on the shelves here is not the largest, but it's uniformly upscale and high-quality, marrying time-honored traditional knowledge and the latest developments in skin-care science into the same natural, eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and often vegan-friendly products. When you step through the doors into the pleasant and aromatic sales floor and talk to owner Tom Akers or another member of Renew's knowledgeable staff, it becomes obvious that they're dedicated to connecting customers of all skin types and ethnicities with the hydrating, exfoliating, and rejuvenating products that are the best fit for them and their skin — much more so than making a quick sale; the ambience here is decidedly laid-back and low-pressure. And if you're a fan of the Japanese Konjac sponge, you're in luck: this is the only place in Western New York that stocks it!
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
The Elmwood Village boasts a range of dining options that is almost inarguably the most eclectic in the city. On Elmwood Avenue, trendy bistros with creative and upscale cuisine stand shoulder-to-shoulder with lively pubs, pizza parlors and greasy spoons that cater to the college crowd (understandably, the latter become more numerous as one travels from south to north, toward Buffalo State). Travellers who want to try out one of the Greek diners that are ubiquitous in the Niagara Frontier can scarcely do better than Elmwood Avenue, where they are numerous and reliably good.
- Blue Monk, 727 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 882-6665. M-W 11:30AM-2:30AM, Th-Sa 11:30AM-3:30AM, Su 11:30AM-midnight. Buffalo's first European-style gastropub, Blue Monk finally opened in October 2010 after months of red-tape limbo and, by all accounts, the hype was 100% justified — in fact, this place won acclaim from ratebeer.com in 2014 as New York State's best beer restaurant. In addition to the dozens and dozens of domestic and imported beers and microbrews available on tap and in bottles, Blue Monk has a menu that relies heavily on gourmet Belgian-style pub fare such as pommes frites, beer-steamed mussels, and (as an entree) carbonnade flamande. More conventional sandwiches and burgers are also on offer, as is Buffalo's only authentic Québec-style poutine. $10-25.
- Elmwood Taco & Subs, 937 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 886-4953. Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F-Sa 11AM-5AM. Since 1978, Elmwood Taco & Subs has served tasty and cheap fast food that's popular with Buffalo State College students and other on-the-go Elmwood Villagers. In addition to the items that gave the place its name — tacos, burritos, chimichangas, nachos and other simple yet hearty Mexican fare, and an assortment of hot and cold subs — ETS also serves chicken fingers and wings slathered in its own homemade "Diavolo" hot sauce, and a few other items as well. Drive-thru service is available, too. $5-15.
- Erbert & Gerbert's, 484 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 884-0788. Su-W 10:30AM-midnight, Th-Sa 10:30AM-2AM. In the little storefront that used to house Bistro Europa is found the sole New York location of this Wisconsin-based sandwich-shop chain, offering up decent-quality light meals for budget prices of the kind that are getting rarer and rarer these days along the Elmwood strip. The ambience at Erbert & Gerbert's is whimsical, service is friendly, cheerful and lightning-fast, and the sandwiches come with inscrutable names — witness the "Narmer", the "Comet Candy", and the "Bornk" — but behind the facade there's really not much to this place. At the end of the day, these sandwiches are pretty standard-issue constructs of cold cuts, veggies and other rather ordinary ingredients, nothing you couldn't get at Subway or Jimmy John's and a good sight smaller than the gargantuan sandwiches served up at DiBella's and Wegmans — for example, the aforementioned "Narmer" is just turkey breast, provolone, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and avocado, and the "Bornk" is an unremarkable tuna salad sandwich with lettuce, tomato, onion and celery. They also tend to skimp on the meat in favor of the veggies, but on the plus side, one thing Erbert & Gerbert's does that's unique is they scoop out the bread at the center of the roll, creating a concave niche for the filling to go into such that it won't fall off the sides. Then they give you the scooped-out bread to eat as a side, or perhaps to dip in the soup and chili selections they also serve which are reputed to be better than the sandwiches themselves. It bears mentioning that Erbert & Gerbert's dining room is postage-stamp small — if the line at the counter grows deeper than one or two people, it streams into the seating area, making for uncomfortable crowding at peak times — but you can avoid that by taking advantage of their delivery service. $10-15.
- Hero Certified Burgers, 976 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 881-4376. Daily 11AM-11PM. Buffalo burger aficionados were intrigued in summer 2014 when news first broke that the Canadian fast-casual burger chain Hero Certified Burgers would open their first U.S. location in the Elmwood Village, in the old Zetti's Pizza at the corner of Bidwell Parkway. Over a year later, in October 2015, the place finally opened for business. Was the painfully long wait worth it? Opinions are decidedly mixed, but at their best Hero can really dish out some mouthwatering fare — the classic "Hero Burger" is made with 100% hormone-free seasoned heritage Angus beef, the french fries are nice and crispy, and their take on poutine is true to the blue-collar, greasy-spoon roots of the dish (no hoity-toity duck confit topping or bone-broth gravy here, as at Blue Monk and Allen Street Poutine respectively). Unfortunately, it's not all the time that Hero is firing on all cylinders, and you're as likely as not to wait a half hour or more only to end up with over- or undercooked burgers that are missing half the toppings you ordered, served to you indifferently by scatterbrained staffers. Which scenario awaits you? You never can tell, but Hero might be worth your while if you're a burger fan who's in the mood to gamble. As for the menu, think of Hero as a decidedly more upscale Subway for burgers: you start with a patty made of beef, turkey, ground chicken, Alaskan salmon, or a vegetarian "Soul Burger", then choose from a seection of buns, cheeses, toppings, and sides, many of which are "premium" and therefore cost extra (whence the high prices that are another sticking point here). The dining room, while it's small and can get a bit cramped at peak hours, is pleasant, with a minimalist decor and abundant natural light courtesy of the large windows that look out onto beautiful Bidwell Parkway. $10-25.
- Joe's Deli, 534 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 875-5637. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM Su noon-5PM. The second location of Joe's Deli opened proudly in the long-vacant former location of Off the Wall in June 2013. The menu at Joe's Deli Elmwood is much the same as its flagship location on Hertel Avenue — a range of hearty sandwiches such as corned beef, Reuben, muffaletta, and a concoction of grilled vegetables and herb cream cheese on a hoagie roll dubbed the Johnny Be Good, a selection of soups made from scratch daily, and a striking variety of wraps encompassing Thai chicken, hummus, and a Greek wrap consisting of feta cheese, olives, and fresh vegetables in Greek dressing — but the Elmwood location also serves a changing selection of beers on tap, ranging from well-known brands to regional craft brews, as well as a variety of wines. $10-15.
- Newbury Street, 470 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 886-6466. Daily 11AM-6PM. At the former site of the beloved Louie's Hot Dogs, which was devastated by fire in February 2013, local architect Kathleen Kinan has teamed up with restaurateur Paul Tsouflides (best known as the owner of the Acropolis up the road a little bit) to redesign the gutted building as an emporium of organic, locally-sourced, "non-GMO approved" fare that tends toward the light and lunchy, which Tsouflides named after his favorite shopping district in his hometown of Boston. These folks are dead serious about health food — customers are encouraged to avail themselves of vegetable washing stations with filtered, reverse osmosis purified water. Eating at Newbury Street has been described as "[almost] literally a breath of fresh air", with an airy, relaxing interior courtesy of its huge picture windows and walls brightly painted in yellow and green to match the signature item here, the "Ventura Boulevard" smoothie (of kale, banana, raw cashew, agave nectar and almond milk). Aside from smoothies and cold-pressed juices, salads are the other mainstay of the menu at Newbury Street — both signature salads and a build-your-own-salad bar that boasts five types of lettuce and dozens upon dozens of healthy, delicious toppings. Coming soon is heartier fare like soups and quinoa rice bowls. Best of all, the prices are a lot cheaper than what you'd expect from a place like this — the owners really put into action their belief that healthy food should be within everyone's budgetary reach. $10-20.
- Wasabi, 752 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 887-8388. M-Th 11:30AM-10:30PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 1PM-10:30PM. One of a growing number of Japanese restaurants in Buffalo, Wasabi operates two suburban locations in addition to this small one on Elmwood Avenue. Wasabi's menu is about evenly divided between teriyaki and tempura selections and a sizable collection of sushi and sashimi that is among Buffalo's best. A limited range of other entrees are available too. $10-25.
- Acropolis, 708 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 886-2977. M-W 9AM-11PM, Th-F 9AM-2AM, Sa 8AM-2AM, Su 8AM-5PM. Following Pano's lead, Acropolis has reinvented itself from a Greek "greasy spoon" to a trendy and upscale Elmwood Village destination. Pay no attention to those who say Acropolis' food has gone downhill since the renovation was completed! However, compared to Pano's, Acropolis has stuck more rigidly to the Greek and Mediterranean specialties they have always served. The Greek salad, souvlaki, moussaka, and hummus are all first-rate. Acropolis also boasts an ample and ever-changing gamut of beer and wine available. $15-30.
- Agave, 765 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 887-2933. Daily 11AM-11PM. The evolution of the Buffalo restaurant scene, from chain restaurants and blue-collar dives toward ever more adventurous and upscale cuisine, is mirrored by the city's relationship with Mexican food. A generation ago, Gramma Mora's was about the furthest outside of their comfort zone locals could be expected to stray, but now options like the creative, upscale Mexican fusion at Cantina Loco and working-class taquerías like Don Tequila are available to Buffalonians. When Agave opened in February 2014 in the former home of Blue Fin Asian Bistro, comments in the Buffalo News from owner Sergio Mucino ("Some people like [authenticity], some don’t... we're going to do it authentic and see how it works") led some to believe the local Mexican restaurant scene was in for a major shakeup. Sadly, this place is only a small baby step forward in that regard. Take Mucino's other restaurant, Allen Street's Don Tequila, subtract the huge selection of tequila at the bar and about half the floor space, and add two or three token "authentic" dishes like menudo and pozole, many of which are available only one or two days of the week, and you have Agave. Still, if you don't mind crowds (this place is tiny but popular), this place remains recommendable — the carnitas, carne asada, and other more pedestrian fare at Agave are perfectly good, and there are ample selections available for vegans as well. $10-30.
- Cecelia's, 716 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 883-8066. M-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 4PM-9PM. An Elmwood Avenue mainstay since 2001, Cecelia's is an upscale eatery whose food is rooted in contemporary Tuscan cuisine enhanced with international flavors. Appetizers include interesting selections such as mussels Provençal from Prince Edward Island as well as a chopped salad featuring sopressata and green olives; pasta, chicken and veal dishes characterize the entrees. However, it's Cecelia's daily specials that really make the place shine. The extensive martini list takes center stage for "Monday Martini Mania" with half-priced martinis and half-priced appetizers at the bar, and a three-course prix fixe dinner is offered on Tuesdays. Sunday brunch at Cecelia's features a complimentary mimosa. Best of all, in the warm months Cecelia's outdoor patio is the place to see and be seen in the Elmwood Village; it's always packed, and understandably so. $20-45.
- Cole's, 1104 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 886-1449. M-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-10PM. Located in a former Pierce-Arrow showroom, Cole's serves reasonably-priced pub grub to a clientele that trends toward students of nearby Buffalo State College. However, Cole's is better known for its beer selections, featuring imports and locally produced microbrews on tap. $15-35.
- India Gate, 1116 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 886-4000. Daily 11:30AM-2:30PM and 4:30PM-10PM. The Elmwood Village's longest-standing purveyor of Indian cuisine, India Gate prides itself on serving upscale yet reasonably priced food with an accent on healthy ingredients and cooking methods. They offer a wide range of vegetarian selections as well. $15-35.
- Kuni's, 226 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 881-3800. Tu-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 5PM-9PM. At Buffalo's oldest sushi restaurant, chef Kuniyuki Sato prepares not only Buffalo's best-loved and most innovative sushi and sashimi, but also a full menu of authentic Japanese cuisine. Kuni's new location on Lexington Avenue has an ambience that is trendy and upscale, yet comfortable. Beer, wine and sake are served. $15-35.
- Mezza, 929 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 885-4400. M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 4PM-9PM. Mezza is the place to be in the Elmwood Village to enjoy a hookah and some of Buffalo's finest authentic Lebanese cuisine in a relaxed, upscale atmosphere. As its name indicates, the restaurant's specialty is "mezza", a platter of assorted Middle Eastern-style appetizers that is a meal in itself. Shawarma, pita wraps, flatbread pizza, and salads are also offered, as well as a full bar and specialty drinks. $15-35.
- Mythos, 510 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 886-9175. M-Th 7AM-10PM, F-Sa 7AM-11PM, Su 7AM-9PM. As is the rule among the numerous Greek restaurants of the Elmwood Village, Mythos' ambience (and its prices) are several notches above the average Greek "greasy spoon" in the Buffalo area. Even compared with similar destinations such as Pano's and the Acropolis, though, Mythos distinguishes itself with artfully presented cuisine served in an upscale setting. But in spite of all the elegance, the cuisine here is perhaps a more faithful representation of the usual Buffalo Greek diner fare than any of its aforementioned competitors. In addition to the standards such as souvlaki, gyro, and spanakopita, Mythos offers a range of other Mediterranean options including pasta and chicken bruschetta, as well as a wide selection of wraps and local specialties such as fish fry. Breakfast is also popular here. $15-30.
- Pano's, 1081 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 886-9081. Daily 7AM-1AM. Pano's opened over 30 years ago as a small neighborhood Greek diner, and has grown since then into arguably the largest and most popular restaurant on the Elmwood Strip. After the newest round of renovations which were completed in 2009, some might say Pano's has gone over the top with neon glitz. However, it serves a multifaceted array of foods based as always in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, but with a wide variety of other dishes to choose from. The spicy chorizo burger — a newcomer to their menu — never fails to astound. No reservations are accepted. $15-30.
- Saigon Café, 520 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 883-1252. M-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-10PM. Displaced for a few months by the Elmwood Avenue location of Louie's Texas Red Hots, Saigon Café reopened under new management in October 2014, at the long-vacant former location of Mode Urban Bistro at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and West Utica Street. But despite these changes, the fare here remains the same as ever: reliably good Thai and Vietnamese specialties (including some of the best tom yum goong Buffalo has to offer), served in an upscale setting enhanced by the airy ambience of its new home. There's a good reason Artvoice readers awarded Saigon Café the prize of "Best Thai/Vietnamese Restaurant" in multiple annual "Best of Buffalo" polls. $15-35.
- Sato, 739 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 931-9146. Lunch: M-Sa 11AM-3PM; Dinner: M-Th 5PM-9PM, F-Sa 5PM-2AM. Operating at the storefront in the heart of the Elmwood Village that was previously home to O3 Café, Sato is an upscale Japanese eatery that fills a hole in the local dining scene left when No Noo down the street closed in 2012: eschewing for the most part the well-trodden sushi and teppanyaki territory covered by other area restaurants, the menu curated by owner and chef Satomi Smith (former owner of Grand Island's sadly missed Serene Gardens restaurant) echoes what's served late into the night at inexpensive noodle shops in Japan's endless concrete jungles — boosted upscale a few notches with prices adjusted accordingly, yet fundamentally authentic and undeniably delicious. Ramen is the name of the game here, and among the respectable selection on offer is the aptly named signature dish "Sato Ramen", which places fresh, homemade noodles, chashu pork, bean sprouts, scallions, bamboo shoots and kimchi in a scratch-made broth of pork and chicken; another ramen selection adds miso paste to the same broth for those who like it spicier. Despite the popularity of the ramen bowls and other full-sized mains like Japanese curries and even steak and seafood selections, the bulk of Sato's menu is given over to tapas-sized small plates perfect for larger groups who like to mix and match. Fans of spicy pickles will be pleased with the appetizers, whether it be homemade tsukemono or a creatively conceived kimchi sampler with cabbage, bok choy, and shredded daikon and carrots; also, the buta no kakuni (braised pork belly) is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and the korokke makes use of gruyère cheese sourced from Elmwood's own Nickel City Cheese Shop. The food is unrelentingly delicious, service doesn't miss a beat, and the decor is sleek and stylish, with low lighting and soft music making for a relaxing experience. Best of all, Sato's hip bar is quickly becoming the place to go for Buffalo sake lovers. $20-50.
- Taste of Siam, 810 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 886-0746. M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su noon-8PM. Bobby Sysomboune has been delighting local foodies for over a decade now at his Hertel Avenue hotspot, Taste of Thai, so when Buffalonians heard that he was the owner of the new Thai restaurant on Elmwood Avenue in the former home of Solé, they knew it would be a winner. Indeed, fans of the original will not be disappointed by Taste of Siam — in fact, they may instead feel that Sysomboune has outdone himself. In sharp contrast to the stuffy, overly formal atmosphere from which the Hertel Avenue restaurant suffers, Taste of Siam's ambience is truly one of its strongest suits, boasting a large, airy two-story dining room bathed in natural light and bedecked with ornate woodwork. In this setting is served — by a waitstaff that's friendly and attentive without being intrusive — a menu that is smaller than its sister restaurant, but which boasts a gamut of options that are a good deal more innovative. This place serves Thai cuisine that's second on the local stage only to the West Side Bazaar's Family Thai in terms of authenticity, and the menu includes specialties served nowhere else in Buffalo: ka nome bang moo (an appetizer of toast stuffed with fried seasoned pork, with dipping sauce on the side), pud prig sod (a spicy stir fry with onions, tomatoes, celery, chile peppers, and your choice of meat), and an impressive range of salads. Service can be slow, but the food is worth it. $15-30.
- Thirsty Buffalo, 555 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 878-0344. M-F 11AM-4AM, Sa-Su noon-4AM. More familiar as one of Elmwood Avenue's most popular bars, Thirsty Buffalo nonetheless also serves inexpensive pub grub such as a wide variety of wings, sandwiches (including an excellent beef on weck), burgers, and a small but surprisingly interesting choice of salads. 22 plasma HDTVs make Thirsty Buffalo a happening place during Bills and Sabres games. $15-30.
- Tokyo Shanghai Bistro, 494 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 886-3839. M-Th 11AM-10:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-11:30PM, Su noon-10PM. Located near the southern end of the Elmwood Village, Tokyo Shanghai Bistro features diverse Chinese and Japanese fare including extensive and innovative sushi offerings, as well as a small selection of Thai dishes. The coconut mushroom soup is unbelievable. $15-35.
- Vera, 220 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 551-6262. M-Th 5PM-midnight, F-Sa 5PM-2AM. Italian for "true", Vera's mission is to serve pizza that is true to what is served in Naples, where pizza was first made. This brand-new restaurant just a block from Elmwood Avenue is already earning rave reviews for its tantalizing take on gourmet pizza and other upscale Italian fare, and — perhaps even more so — for the interesting and exciting cocktails served at its full bar. $20-40.
- Epic, 431 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ +1 716 883-3742. M-Sa 5PM-midnight. Epic is a new restaurant that offers the finest dining in the Elmwood Village, where head chef Sergio Aquino crafts a wide gamut of delightful cuisine in a relaxed yet upscale environment. The menu draws on an eclectic range of influences — the menu includes New Zealand rack of baby lamb, shrimp and scallop primavera, cornmeal-crusted tofu stir fry, and (as an appetizer) fried Brussels sprouts in a truffle vinaigrette — but the food is prepared with aplomb in all cases, making for a thoroughly sophisticated experience that has won Epic great praise from Buffalonians. An impressive beer and wine list are the icing on the cake. $20-70.
- Trattoria Aroma, 307 Bryant St. (Metro Bus 7, 12, 20 or 22), ☎ +1 716 881-7592. M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F 11:30AM-midnight, Sa 5PM-midnight, Su 11AM-3PM (brunch) & 5PM-10PM. Trattoria Aroma serves authentic, rustic Italian cuisine in an upscale trattoria setting. Homemade bread, sausage, pasta, and delectable Italian pastries and desserts are complemented by some of Buffalo's best espresso. Trattoria Aroma also operates a location in the suburb of Williamsville that features a full wine bar. $25-55.
The following local chains have locations in the Elmwood Village. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.
- Jim's Steakout, 938 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 885-2900. Daily 10:30AM-5AM.
- Louie's Texas Red Hots, 1098 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20). Daily 24 hours.
- Vasilis Express, 1066 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 866-4976. M-F 11AM-5AM.
The following pizzerias are located in the Elmwood Village. Those who are interested in pizza delivery (as opposed to pickup) might want to also check listings in adjacent districts; local pizzerias will often deliver to several different neighborhoods of the city.
- Gino's NY Pizza, 1009 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 885-1777. M-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-4AM, Su 11AM-10PM.
- Just Pizza, 300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ +1 716 883-5650. Su-Th 9AM-midnight, F-Sa 9AM-12:45AM.
- Mister Pizza, 1065 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 882-6500. Su-Th 10AM-midnight, F-Sa 10AM-1AM.
- The Elmwood Market, 214 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ +1 716 881-3881. Daily 7AM-11PM. Opened in 2008, the Elmwood Market is a small store that boasts a surprisingly large selection of groceries including fresh produce and cold cuts, as well as general merchandise. The Elmwood Market's on-site café sells mouth-watering sandwiches that are lauded by its customers. Delivery service, money orders, and an ATM are also offered.
- The Globe Market, 762 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 886-5242. M-Sa 10:30AM-8PM, Su 10:30AM-7PM. The Globe Market is a delightful combination café and specialty food shop that is committed to offering a wide range of fresh, locally sourced products. An eclectic variety of gourmet salads, soups and sandwiches are made from scratch daily. Personalized gift baskets are also sold at the Globe Market.
- Lexington Co-op, 807 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 886-2667. Daily 8AM-10PM. Founded in 1971, the Lexington Co-op sells a dizzying array of natural and organic grocery items that are often locally sourced. Handmade, chemical- and cruelty-free soaps and beauty products are also offered, as well as other merchandise, and "Lexi's Kitchen" serves a range of gourmet prepared foods and bread baked freshly on the premises. Moreover, the Lexington Co-op seeks to educate local citizens about nutrition, consumer and environmental issues, and the principles of the cooperative philosophy. The co-op's 8,000 "member-owners" pay an annual fee to receive special discounts, but the store is open to everyone.
- The Market on Elmwood, 1000 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 881-0500. Daily 6AM-midnight. Not to be confused with the similarly named Elmwood Market, the Market on Elmwood was opened in 2015 by Rasheed Ali, who also runs Epic Restaurant down the street, in a space that until recently was a bank. A distinctly Elmwood take on the concept of the corner convenience store, alongside the 7-Eleven staples you'll also find a cooler full of local and regional microbrews, a sandwich counter with the most mouth-watering subs, flatbreads, paninis, wraps, ad nauseam that you've ever tasted — a gargantuan menu six chalkboard signs long, all served on locally-baked Costanzo's bread — and an in-store ice cream shop with scoops, shakes, and gelato from Buffalo's own Dolci Bakery.
- Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers' Market, Elmwood Ave. at Bidwell Pkwy. (Metro Bus 20 or 26). Sa 8AM-1PM, early May thru early Dec; Sa 10AM-2PM, early Dec thru early May. The Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers' Market is considered by many to be the best market of its kind in the Buffalo area — including by readers of Artvoice, who have voted it Best Farmers' Market in many of their annual "Best of Buffalo" polls. The products of dozens of farmers, vintners, florists, and artisans from all over Western New York are available here in a family-friendly and smoke-free environment. The Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers' Market prides itself as being a "producer-only" market; no resellers are permitted. The market also features special events each week such as musical performances, cooking demonstrations, special Wellness Weekends, and presentations by a variety of community groups. In winter, the market moves indoors to Buckham Hall, on the Buffalo State College campus.
- Elmwood/Lafayette St. John's Grace Winter Farmers' Market, 51 Colonial Cir. (Metro Bus 7 or 26), ☎ +1 716 439-0870. Su 9:30AM-1PM, late Nov thru mid-Apr. Yet another of the seemingly endless parade of farmers' markets around the city, this one debuted in 2013 and takes place at St. John's-Grace Episcopal Church on Colonial Circle. At the Elmwood/Lafayette St. John's Grace Winter Farmers' Market you can get an array of locally-sourced farm products and other goods — with an especially good selection of free-range heritage meats and poultry — at a time of year when farmers' markers are few and far between. As well, you can find fresh produce, local honey, maple syrup, wine and hard cider from Chateau Buffalo, baked goods, and other specialty products. Best of all, most if not all participants in the St. John's Grace Winter Farmers' Market are certified "Pride of New York" producers, representing the best locally-sourced products New York State has to offer.
Buffalo State College is located at the northern end of the Elmwood strip, thus there is a large cluster of bars at the north end of the district that cater to a youthful (often underage) crowd of fraternity members and other college students, and can be quite crowded on weekends during the school year. It should be emphasized, however, that drunken violence is far rarer in the Elmwood Village than on Chippewa. Further south along Elmwood, the bars quickly transition from college dives to upscale establishments catering to trendy, upwardly mobile urbanites.
- Blue Monk, 727 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 882-6665.
- Cecelia's, 716 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 883-8066.
- Cole's, 1104 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 886-1449.
- McGarrett's, 946 Elmwood Ave (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 883-4913.
- Milkie's On Elmwood (formerly Elmwood Lounge), 522 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 882-5881.
- Mr. Goodbar, 1110 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 882-4000.
- Thirsty Buffalo, 555 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 878-0344.
- Vera, 220 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 551-6262.
Coffee shops and miscellaneous
If you're a fan of the coffeeshop scene, the Elmwood Village is the neighborhood for you!
- Ashker's Juice Bar & Café, 1002 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 886-2233. Daily 7AM-10PM.
- Blue Mountain Coffees, 509 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 883-5983. M-F 8AM-6PM, Sa 8AM-5PM, Su 8AM-2PM.
- Caffe Aroma, 967 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 884-4522. M-Th 6:30AM-midnight, F-Sa 6:30AM-1AM, Su 8AM-midnight.
- SPoT Coffee, 765 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 332-4564. Su-Th 6AM-11PM, F-Sa 7AM-midnight.
One thing the Elmwood Village does not have in abundance is accommodations. As demonstrated by the howling protests that forced the abandonment of a proposal for a hotel at the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues about ten years ago, large buildings such as hotels run counter to the neighborhood's low-rise, intimate, "villagey" aesthetic. Moreover, the recently finalized plan to place a luxury boutique hotel in part of the Richardson-Olmsted Complex once its restoration is complete is still in an embryonic stage, with its projected opening date several years off. The Elmwood Village is quite easily accessible from downtown and Allentown; those who would like to experience this vibrant district, but are not interested in any of the quaint B&Bs listed below, would likely be well-served by a hotel in those areas.
- Elmwood Village Inn (Honu House), 893 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 886-2397. Check-in: 2PM-3PM or by prior arrangement, check-out: 11AM. Located in an unmissable orange house in the heart of the Elmwood Village with a dizzying range of art galleries, boutiques, cafés, and restaurants within easy walking distance, the Elmwood Village Inn boasts four individualized guest rooms — the Middle West Room, the Middle East Room, the Skylight Suite, and the Master Suite — and works of art by local artists on the walls. Guests are provided with such complimentary amenities as central AC, wireless Internet, newspapers, and white noise generators. A common kitchenette is available, and light but lovely breakfasts are served in the Salon. On-street parking. $110-180/night.
- InnBuffalo, 619 Lafayette Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 432-1030. Check-in: between 3PM and 6PM, check-out: 11AM. It was at a city auction in 2012 where Joe and Ellen Lettieri bought the handsome 1898 Tudor Revival mansion that would become InnBuffalo — it has a storied history as the home of Herbert Hewitt, founder of the Buffalo Brass Company, who entertained as guests a cross-section of the Buffalo aristocracy of the day including former President Grover Cleveland — and they spent the next three years slowly and painstakingly restoring it to its former glory. "It's like I've been training to rehab [the Hewitt Mansion] for the last 30 years", the Buffalo News quoted Joe as saying in reference to his habit of buying and rehabbing houses on his native West Side long before that became the up-and-coming Buffalo neighborhood of the moment, but it's his wife Ellen who took the lead on the interior restoration with her keen eye for artful decoration. Indeed, the restoration of some of the first-floor common areas continues as of this writing — a "preservation in progress", in the owners' words, that your room rates help fund — but the nine suites upstairs are ready to accommodate guests in the lap of luxury. They each boast individualized decorations and amenities: all suites have hardwood floors, thoroughly modernized private baths with heated marble floors, flat-screen TVs, Keurig coffeemakers, individual climate controls, and complimentary WiFi, and all but three of them have king-size beds (the others have either one or two queen beds). Limited off-street parking is available in the rear of the building. The Sarah Dutro Suite is worthy of special mention as the most luxurious of the guest rooms (though not the largest), with its own working fireplace and an elegant sitting area next to a huge bay window that looks out onto pleasant Lafayette Avenue. In the morning you're treated to a sumptuous gourmet breakfast fit for the royalty your hosts treat you like — of all InnBuffalo's many high points, the impeccable service with a sincere personal touch is the superlative one, with a wealth of information and helpful hints available courtesy of your hosts that will make your stay in Buffalo a memorable one. $119-239/night.
- Richmond Place Inn, 45 Richmond Ave. (Metro Bus 7 or 22), ☎ +1 716 881-3242. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. In a quiet residential neighborhood near where the Elmwood Village, Allentown, and the Lower West Side converge, the Richmond Place Inn is a lovely bed and breakfast in a distinctive old house. In addition to on-site parking, laundry facilities, and a delectable breakfast available in the dining room or delivered directly to the guest rooms, the Richmond Place Inn's units boast air conditioning, cable TV with HBO, and (in some cases) private baths. $79-129/night.
The nearest post offices can be found at 1245 Main St. in Midtown, and at 465 Grant St. on the West Side.
Many of the restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses on Elmwood Avenue offer free wireless Internet, in some cases without purchase. These include Starbucks, SPoT Coffee, the Globe Market, Coffee Culture, and Caffe Aroma.
In addition to free WiFi, the Crane Branch Library at 633 Elmwood Ave. boasts 22 publicly-accessible computer terminals with Internet access. The Crane Branch Library is open M & Th noon-8PM and Tu, F & Sa 10AM-6PM.
Despite the fact that Buffalo's crime rate has fallen steadily since the 1990s, it is still higher than the national average for cities its size. However, the Elmwood Village has a remarkably low crime rate by Buffalo standards, especially in view of the density of bars, shops and other businesses (and people) on Elmwood Avenue. That being the case, there are a few areas where crime, particularly theft, is something of a problem — particularly just north of Women & Children's Hospital, along Elmwood Avenue between Bryant and West Utica Streets. Visitors should also keep in mind that upon crossing Richmond Avenue from the Elmwood Village to the adjacent West Side, the crime rate rises rapidly and significantly. However, visitors to the Elmwood Village or pretty much anywhere else in Buffalo who exercise common sense — locking car doors, keeping valuables out of sight — will be fine.
Despite catering to a clientele that's made up largely of (often underage) students of nearby Buffalo State College, the Elmwood Village's bar scene is decidedly laid-back, with drunken violence like that of Chippewa Street quite rare. The watchful eyes of the Buffalo Police on weekend nights ensure that things stay that way.
Given its proliferation of upscale restaurants and shops — and, more to the point, the well-heeled customers that frequent them — it's perhaps not surprising that more panhandlers can be found in the Elmwood Village than anywhere else in the city. However, the personnel of said restaurants and shops are vigilant in shooing away any beggars who make nuisances of themselves, and aggressive panhandling is rarely a problem in any case. If you don't want to give, a firm "no" usually suffices.
It bears mentioning that despite the reduction in its size and importance in the wake of the deinstitutionalization that began in the 1970s, the Buffalo Psychiatric Center is still in operation in a small part of the Richardson-Olmsted Complex. On Elmwood Avenue, psychiatric patients that have been let out on "day passes" are not an uncommon sight. Visitors should not worry, however, as dangerous individuals are never allowed out on day passes, and reports of trouble are rare — feel free to ignore the Buffalo State students who whisper about the (likely apocryphal) rumors of mental patients picked up in the dorms by campus police!
For most medical emergencies that a traveler may encounter, the nearest hospitals are Buffalo General Hospital, at 100 High St. in the Medical Corridor, Erie County Medical Center at 462 Grider St. on the East Side, and Sisters of Charity Hospital at 2157 Main St.
- Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo, 219 Bryant St. (Metro Bus 12, 20 or 22), ☎ +1 716 878-7000. The only hospital located in the Elmwood Village, Women & Children's Hospital is also one of the oldest facilities of its kind in the world, founded in 1892 by Dr. Mahlon Folwell at a time when the idea that the treatment of children should be different than that of adults was still on the fringes of medical theory. Today this 190-bed facility serves as a teaching hospital for UB Medical School and offers comprehensive care in the field of pediatrics, maternity and neonatal care. In 2012, Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo was ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the twenty best pediatric hospitals in the country. Women & Children's Hospital is slated to move to the downtown Medical Corridor by December 2015.
Laundry and dry cleaning
- Big Four Cleaners, 743 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 885-0205. M-F 7AM-6PM, Sa 8AM-5PM.
- Bryant Street Laundry, 304 Bryant St. (Metro Bus 7, 12, 20 or 22), ☎ +1 716 939-3131. Daily 8AM-10PM.
- Chayban's Custom Tailor and Dry Cleaning, 513 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 835-3662. M-F 10:30AM-6PM, Sa 10:30AM-4PM.
- Laundry Time, 220 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☎ +1 716 885-5167. Daily 7AM-11PM.
- Urban Valet Dry Cleaners, 620 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☎ +1 716 885-4351 x101. M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM.
- Village Laundry, 785 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 886-1480. Daily 8AM-11PM.
Places of worship
Much like Allentown and the Delaware District, white Protestant churches predominate among the relatively modest range of places of worship in the Elmwood Village. Perhaps appropriately, far more of these houses of worship can be found on the peaceful, leafy, and dignified Richmond Avenue, rather than the crowded, boisterous Elmwood Avenue.
Shockingly given Buffalo's traditional religious demographics, there is not a single proper Catholic church in the entire district. The nearest one, Blessed Sacrament, is located in the Delaware District.
- Newman Center Chapel, 1219 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 882-1080. Mass Su 9:30 AM (all year) & 11:30AM (Sep-May), Th 6PM (Sep-May). The home of Buffalo State College's Catholic Campus Ministry, the Newman Center Chapel is located across the street from the college and adjacent to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Services are open to students and visitors alike.
- First Presbyterian Church, 1 Symphony Cir. (Metro Bus 7 or 22), ☎ +1 716 884-7250. Services Su 11:15AM. The name of this church, as well as its nickname, the "Mother of All Churches", is literal — founded in 1812, this is the oldest religious congregation of any denomination in Buffalo. Since 1891, the members of First Presbyterian have worshiped in a sandstone church on Symphony Circle designed by the eminent local firm of Green & Wicks, which contains several Tiffany stained-glass windows and which once counted Teddy Roosevelt among its worshipers.
- Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, 875 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☎ +1 716 886-6635. Services Su 10AM & 6PM. Founded in 1832 as the First Free Congregational Church (so named because, unlike the First Presbyterian Church from which the parishioners had split, the church had an open seating plan, rather than charging high rents for the best pews), this congregation was later renamed Lafayette Presbyterian Church for its original location on Lafayette Square downtown. In turn, the church gave its name to Lafayette Avenue, at whose intersection with Elmwood Avenue its current red sandstone, Richardsonian Romanesque church, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1891. Today, Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church prides itself on being a welcoming and supportive, yet challenging, community, open to people of all incomes, races, sexual orientations, and other factors — a mindset exemplified by the slogan, "We love you the way you are, but we might not leave you that way."
- Pilgrim-St. Luke's United Church of Christ, 335 Richmond Ave. (Metro Bus 7 or 12), ☎ +1 716 885-9443. English-language services Su 10:45AM except 1st week of each month, Sep-May; "El Nuevo Camino" Spanish-language services Su 9AM except 1st week of each month, Sep-May; bilingual services first Su of each month 10:45AM, otherwise 10AM Jun-Aug. Founded in 1968 as a merger of Pilgrim Congregational Church and St. Luke's German Evangelical Church, Pilgrim-St. Luke's stands at the former location of the Hope Chapel, which had served the spiritual needs of the Elmwood Village since its days as the rural hamlet of Shingletown. Today, Pilgrim-St. Luke's vitality comes largely from its focus on social engagement with the community. Also, like many Elmwood Village congregations, there is an enthusiastic embrace of diversity here; Pilgrim-St. Luke's distinguishes itself in this regard with the accommodations it offers to visually-, hearing-, and mobility-impaired parishioners, as well as El Nuevo Camino, the Spanish-language sister congregation it established in the same building to minister to the Latino community of the West Side.
- St. John's-Grace Episcopal Church, 51 Colonial Cir. (Metro Bus 7 or 26), ☎ +1 716 885-1112. Services Su 9:30AM Jun-Aug, Su 8:30AM & 10:30AM Sep-May. St. John's-Grace Episcopal Church is yet another one that was founded as a merger of two earlier congregations whose membership was dwindling in the wake of Buffalo's late-20th-century demographic shift. In this simplistic yet elegant English Gothic Revival church on historic Colonial Circle can be found a vibrant, diverse and inclusive congregation led since 2002 by the Reverend Philip W. Dougharty.
- Symphony Bible Church, 79 Richmond Ave. (Metro Bus 7 or 22), ☎ +1 716 883-2023. Services Su 11AM. Founded in 1949 and located on Richmond Avenue a block north of Symphony Circle (hence its name), this "fundamental, Bible-believing Baptist church" has been headed for almost half a century by Pastor Ron Crane, a Korean War veteran and former Christian radio personality on WDCX who, according to his biography on the church website, "never goes anywhere to preach without his trademark guitar".
- Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, 695 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 885-2136. Services Su 10:30AM. Though the stout, sprawling English Gothic edifice that it currently occupies was not constructed until 1906, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo has a long and illustrious pedigree: founded in 1831 as the First Unitarian Church and originally located downtown, the congregation counted future U.S. President Millard Fillmore as a charter member; Abraham Lincoln attended a service there in 1861. Today, even among the panoply of liberal-minded Elmwood Village congregations, the dedication of the Unitarian Universalist Church to diversity, compassion, and the social betterment of the local community is remarkable. Visitors — especially children, who are encouraged by the church's website to come dressed in "clothes suitable for play" — are welcomed with open arms at the church services, which conclude with coffee hour in the Parish Hall.
- Greater Emmanuel Temple Church, 151 Richmond Ave. (Metro Bus 7 or 22), ☎ +1 716 885-2136. Services Su 10:30AM, M 7PM, W 6PM. This self-styled "Church of Champions" is led by the vivacious, charismatic Elder Germaine Hurst, whose ministry took him all over the United States and Canada before landing him in Buffalo's Elmwood Village. In addition to the rousing, music-filled services that take place there each Sunday, the Greater Emmanuel Temple Church is also the driving force behind many vital social welfare institutions in the local community.
- New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 543 Richmond Ave. (Metro Bus 7), ☎ +1 716 883-0821. Services Su 10:30AM, W 7PM. Affiliated with the American Baptist Convention, this congregation was founded in 1950 and moved some years later to the former Pilgrim Congregational Church on Richmond Avenue.
- Congregation Beth Abraham, 1073 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☎ +1 716 875-2188. Services 6:30PM one F per month; check website for schedule. Congregation Beth Abraham is the lone holdout in a neighborhood that once boasted more than its share of synagogues (for example, Temple Beth El, Buffalo's oldest shul, was located for many years on Richmond Avenue). This small but active Conservative congregation worships in a small wood-frame building on Elmwood Avenue that was formerly home to the United Brethren Church, and welcomes visitors of all stripes to their lively monthly services.
If you like your nightlife and cultural attractions served up with a heaping side of historic charm, check out Allentown next. As lively as Elmwood Avenue but a good deal more scaled-down and intimate, the bars and restaurants on hip Allen Street attract an edgier and more artistic crowd than the laid-back Elmwood Village — and the lovely brick Victorian cottages on the cozy side streets are an architecture buff's dream come true.
In recent years, the collegiate vibe that Buffalo State has afforded to the Elmwood Village has also spread westward, breathing new life into the formerly downmarket West Side. Buffalonians in the know will tell you that Grant Street is poised to become Buffalo's next Elmwood, but with a multicultural flair: the Latino community that has long inhabited this vibrant neighborhood has been joined in recent years by diverse immigrant communities from Africa, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere, as well as middle-class "urban pioneers" moving into charming but dilapidated houses and restoring them to their former glory. Further south, the Lower West Side boasts still more Olmsted parks and parkways, a bustling Puerto Rican community centered along Niagara Street, charming brick Victorian cottages to rival those in Allentown — and amazing views over Lake Erie and the Niagara River.
On the far side of Delaware Park, North Buffalo is a part of the city where the pleasures are subtler. The shops and restaurants on Hertel Avenue are pleasant without the pretension of the boutiques on Elmwood, the mansions of Park Meadow and Central Park are elegant without the in-your-face ostentation of Lincoln Parkway, and the college dives in University Heights are lively without the crowds of the ones near Buffalo State.