Perhaps North Buffalo doesn't have the immediate cachet of other parts of the city. The clothing boutiques on Hertel stock fashions that may not be as up-to-the-minute as the ones in the Elmwood Village. The bars are more likely to be populated by neighborhood regulars than the cooler-than-thou hipsters you'll find in Allentown. But that's okay. More so than perhaps any other area of Buffalo, regular folks can spend a whole day shopping here and they won't experience condescension — they'll meet friendly, outgoing shopkeepers genuinely glad to see them. Budget-conscious travelers can eat well in North Buffalo's restaurants without being bowled over when they see the bill.
But North Buffalo is much more than shopping, dining, and nightlife. North Buffalo is architecture — Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin House in Parkside, and the mansions in Park Meadow and Central Park, will have you ooh-ing and aah-ing. North Buffalo is art — Hertel Avenue has more than its share of galleries tucked among the shops and restaurants, and the UB Anderson Gallery is truly one of the city's unknown treasures. And North Buffalo is culture — with not one but two colleges and universities adding their flavors to the mix, Erie County's most-visited tourist attraction (the Buffalo Zoo), and a growing theater scene.
Speaking of culture, North Buffalo is, in particular, Italian-American culture. Hertel Avenue, which has recently been officially decreed as Buffalo's Little Italy, is heaven for fans of pasta with red sauce, pizza, and fine wines. And if you're looking for a delightfully gaudy little tchotchke to send home to Nona, this is your place.
North Buffalo comprises a number of distinct neighborhoods. Hertel Avenue, as described above, boasts some of the city's best restaurants as well as a growing range of shops and art galleries. University Heights is centered along Main Street at Buffalo's far northeast corner, dominated by the University of Buffalo at its outer end and a small but lively collection of restaurants, bars and shops catering to a diverse student population. Southwest of University Heights adjacent to Main Street are a trio of quiet, pleasant residential neighborhoods: from north to south, Central Park, where some of Buffalo's most palatial mansions can be found, the Vernon Triangle, a tiny enclave bounded by Amherst Street, Main Street, and the Belt Line railroad tracks, and Parkside, a leafy neighborhood of curvilinear streets designed by eminent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted also designed Park Meadow, an upscale residential area west of Parkside, sandwiched between Amherst Street and Delaware Park.
North Buffalo's location further from downtown than any other part of the city, as well as its poorly drained topography, conspired to make it the last part of Buffalo to urbanize. Being located at the foot of the Onondaga Escarpment in what was once the bed of a glacial lake, the marshy land of North Buffalo — or the Buffalo Plains, as the area was called in the early days — made it far less suitable for agriculture than the ground above that low ridge of flint. Cornelius Creek, which roughly followed the course of today's Hertel Avenue from its headwaters near what is today the corner of Parkside Avenue, traversed North Buffalo until sometime in the 1880s, when it was buried as part of the city's storm drain system. An outpost of civilization in this wilderness was the Great Iroquois Trail (today's Main Street), which was an important thoroughfare between Buffalo and points east such as Williamsville and Clarence Hollow that ran along the crest of the escarpment. Like the aforementioned hamlets, the farmsteads along that road played an important role in the War of 1812 as refuges for residents of Buffalo and Black Rock which were burned by the British in December 1813, and, in the case of Dr. Daniel Chapin's farm in what is now Parkside, as the site of the Flint Hill Encampment, where the Army of the Frontier under General Alexander Smythe spent that same winter. However, even as the city to its south grew astronomically, North Buffalo remained a rural backwater even well after 1868, the year Frederick Law Olmsted laid out the centerpiece of Buffalo's park system, Delaware Park, on land just south of here.
It was the construction of the New York Central Railroad's Belt Line in 1882 — a 15-mile (24 km) loop intended to enable residents of Buffalo's outskirts to commute to jobs downtown — that spurred the beginning of urbanization in North Buffalo. As early as 1876, Frederick Law Olmsted had planned to follow up the success of Delaware Park with a development he called Parkside, a verdant residential neighborhood adjacent to the park that would serve as a buffer between the pastoral park system and the bustle and congestion of the city. Now, with the construction of the railroad having driven up property values, construction of Parkside could begin in earnest. By the turn of the century, the ample houses of Parkside were occupied by a growing number of Buffalo's richest citizens — including Larkin Soap Company executive Darwin D. Martin, who moved into a substantial home on Jewett Parkway designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Immediately north of Parkside, across the tracks of the Belt Line, local business magnate Lewis Bennett had success with Central Park, a similarly upscale neighborhood situated on his former estate that he developed beginning in 1890.
It was not until after 1900, however, that the development of North Buffalo came to full fruition. Despite the success of Parkside and Central Park, when the Pan-American Exposition was held in 1901, the remainder of North Buffalo was still sparsely populated farmland. However, the presence of visitors who came by the tens of thousands to the Exposition — many of whom arrived there via the Belt Line — spurred real estate speculators to buy up farmland in preparation for the inevitable rush of new residents. The Pan-American Exposition, a World's Fair that was intended to show off Buffalo's industrial might, was held on a parcel of vacant land north of Delaware Park that Olmsted had earlier planned as a future western extension of Parkside. Afterward, beginning about 1920, the luxurious neighborhood known today as Park Meadow was laid out on the former Exposition grounds.
Elsewhere in North Buffalo, the University of Buffalo purchased the 153-acre (61ha) site of the former Erie County Alms House in the far northeast corner of the city in 1912, moving its rapidly growing campus there from downtown and setting off a similar land rush in what is now University Heights. Hertel Avenue, for its part, was becoming the neighborhood of choice for Buffalo's Jewish community — mainly Orthodox Jews from Russia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe — who were gradually being displaced from their traditional homes on the Near East Side and in Hamlin Park by a growing African-American population.
World War II saw the last remaining bits of empty land in the city — including the area between Elmwood and Delaware Avenues north of the Belt Line, and along the south side of Kenmore Avenue west of Elmwood — eaten up with the construction of wartime factories (including the former Curtiss-Wright Plant #3 which still stands behind the Home Depot on Elmwood Avenue) and hastily-built housing for returning GIs. However, after the war, Buffalo, like many cities in the so-called Rust Belt, saw its formerly steady growth stagnate and decline. These were certainly trying times for North Buffalo; for instance, for the first time in its history the formerly posh neighborhood of Parkside found itself grappling with social issues such as slumlords and vacant buildings, which led to the foundation of the Parkside Community Association in 1963. But, by and large, North Buffalo was able to hang on better than other areas of the city. Aside from the construction of the Scajaquada Expressway in 1962 through verdant Delaware Park, the urban renewal that wrought havoc on other areas of the city left North Buffalo mostly unscathed — enabling the addition of the Parkside East Historic District and the Parkside West Historic District (i.e. Park Meadow) to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Meanwhile, the stabilizing presence of UB and its large and diverse student population did much to insulate University Heights from the ghettoization that ravaged adjacent East Side neighborhoods such as Kensington-Bailey and Kensington Heights in the 1960s and '70s.
Perhaps the greatest change to take place in North Buffalo at this time, however, was the gradual transition of Hertel Avenue's ethnic character from Jewish to Italian, as the former group took up residence in the suburbs (principally Amherst) and the humble but friendly old Italian enclaves of the Lower West Side fell to the wrecking ball as part of a misguided urban renewal program, leaving their residents in search of a new home. This new identity for Hertel Avenue was formalized in 2011, when the city government erected signs proudly proclaiming the neighborhood as Buffalo's official Little Italy. Indeed, Buffalo's modest renaissance that began at the dawn of the 21st Century saw Hertel Avenue emerge as a lively strip of shops, restaurants and galleries to rival the Elmwood Village.
The Parkside Community Association maintains a website that contains neighborhood news and event listings, and — most notably by far — is an extremely comprehensive resource for information about Parkside's rich history, with an extensive written history of the neighborhood spanning the 18th Century to the present day, descriptions of many old houses and historic sites on its leafy streets, historic maps, and a myriad of other resources.
Though it's a privately owned website unaffiliated with the Hertel-North Buffalo Business Association or any other "official" neighborhood group, hertelavenue.com is a resource for visitors to Hertel Avenue, featuring business listings, a map, and event information.
The University Heights Collaborative's website contains information on restaurants, nightlife, community happenings, and other items of interest to those visiting University Heights.
The Scajaquada Expressway (NY 198) is a short highway that passes through North Buffalo, extending between the Kensington Expressway on the East Side and Interstate 190 in Black Rock. The Scajaquada passes through the south end of Parkside and traverses Delaware Park, after which point it enters the West Side. Interchanges at Main Street and Parkside Avenue provide access to Parkside, Central Park, the Vernon Triangle, and (further afield) University Heights, while Hertel Avenue and Park Meadow are best accessible via the northbound Delaware Avenue and Elmwood Avenue exits.
Hertel Avenue can be almost inarguably considered the "main drag" of North Buffalo, passing from west to east through the heart of Buffalo's "Little Italy" and ending at Main Street just past the south end of University Heights. In addition, Kenmore Avenue straddles Buffalo's northern border with the suburban communities of Tonawanda and Kenmore, and Amherst Street passes through the residential areas of Parkside, Central Park, and Park Meadow, at the southern edge of North Buffalo. Major north-south routes in North Buffalo include, from west to east: Military Road (NY 265), Elmwood Avenue, Delaware Avenue (NY 384), Colvin Avenue, Parkside Avenue, Starin Avenue, and Main Street (NY 5).
In the Hertel Avenue business district, parking can be hard to come by on Hertel itself as well as on side streets within a block or so of the main drag. Parking meters are in place on Hertel along essentially the entire length of the business district (from Wallace to Virgil Avenues); paid parking is in effect Monday through Saturday until 5PM, at a rate of 50¢ per hour up to a maximum of two hours. The two free parking lots provided by the Hertel-North Buffalo Business Association are often your best bet for parking on the Hertel strip. These lots are located, respectively, next to Terrapin Station near the corner of Virgil Avenue, and next to Family Video near the corner of Sterling Avenue.
Though finding a spot in the University Heights business district can be difficult, parking along Main Street between LaSalle and University Avenues is free (though limited to two hours). On-street parking on Main Street north of University Avenue is prohibited, but most businesses at the outer extremity of University Heights have their own parking lots, so this shouldn't pose too much of a problem. There are also three free parking lots on the north side of Main Street: at West Winspear Avenue behind the Mobil gas station, at Heath Street behind the Gloria J. Parks Community Center, and at Englewood Avenue adjacent to the former P. J. Bottoms. Parking in these lots is limited to two hours. Perhaps your best bet for parking in University Heights, however, are the large, free NFTA Park-and-Ride lots at the University and LaSalle rail stations — see the By Metro Rail section below.
In Parkside, Central Park, Park Meadow, and elsewhere in North Buffalo, on-street parking is free and plentiful.
Members of the Zipcar car-sharing program have access to a Toyota Prius and a Ford Focus hatchback parked directly on the South Campus in the Goodyear Lot, directly behind Goodyear Hall.
By public transportation
Public transit in Buffalo and the surrounding area is provided by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA). The NFTA Metro system encompasses a single-line light-rail rapid transit (LRRT) system and an extensive network of buses. The fare for a single trip on a bus or train is $2.00 regardless of length. No transfers are provided between buses or trains; travelers who will need to make multiple trips per day on public transit should consider purchasing an all-day pass for $5.00.
North Buffalo is traversed by a number of NFTA Metro bus routes:
To and from downtown
NFTA Metro Bus #3 — Grant. Beginning at the city line at the corner of Kenmore Avenue and Military Road, Bus #3 proceeds westward down Kenmore Avenue through Riverside, re-entering North Buffalo at the corner of Military Road and Skillen Street and continuing southward down Military Road along the western edge of the district, ending downtown.
NFTA Metro Bus #5 — Niagara-Kenmore. Beginning at the University Metro Rail Station, Bus #5 proceeds westward down Kenmore Avenue, then entering Black Rock and continuing through the West Side via Niagara Street, finally ending downtown.
NFTA Metro Bus #8 — Main. Beginning at the University Metro Rail Station, Bus #8 proceeds down Main Street along the east edge of the district, through University Heights, Central Park, the Vernon Triangle, and Parkside (with service to all Metro Rail stations in the district), ending downtown.
NFTA Metro Bus #11 — Colvin. Beginning in Tonawanda, Bus #11 proceeds down Colvin Avenue through North Buffalo and across Hertel Avenue, then turning right at Amherst Street and proceeding westbound through Park Meadow and past the Buffalo Zoo and Delaware Park. Turning south again at Delaware Avenue, the route ends downtown.
NFTA Metro Bus #20 — Elmwood. Beginning in Tonawanda, Bus #20 proceeds down Elmwood Avenue through North Buffalo, with access to the Regal Elmwood Center and Tops shopping plazas, and ends downtown.
NFTA Metro Bus #25 — Delaware. Beginning in Tonawanda, Bus #25 proceeds down Delaware Avenue through North Buffalo. The bus passes the Delaware Consumer Square (Target) and Delaware Place shopping plazas, then proceeds perpendicularly across the Hertel Avenue corridor, through Park Meadow, and past Delaware Park, ending downtown.
NFTA Metro Bus #23 — Fillmore-Hertel. Beginning in Black Rock, Bus #23 proceeds eastward along Hertel Avenue to Main Street, where it turns south and accesses the Amherst Street Metro Rail Station. The bus then enters the East Side via Fillmore Avenue and ends in South Buffalo.
NFTA Metro Bus #32 — Amherst. Beginning in Black Rock, Bus #32 proceeds along Amherst Street, detouring briefly into the Elmwood Village via Elmwood Avenue, with service to Buffalo State College and the Museum District. After returning to Amherst Street, Bus #32 proceeds eastward through Park Meadow, Parkside, Central Park, and the Vernon Triangle, then passes the Amherst Street Metro Rail Station and proceeds further eastward into the East Side, ending at the Thruway Mall Transit Center in Cheektowaga.
By Metro Rail
The Metro Rail is an LRRT line that extends along Main Street from the University at Buffalo's South Campus southward to downtown, along the eastern border of North Buffalo. The Metro Rail serves as the backbone of Buffalo's public transit system, accessed directly by many bus routes. Like the buses, the fare for the Metro Rail is $2.00 ($4.00 round-trip); the $5.00 all-day passes available on Metro buses are also valid for the Metro Rail.
There are four Metro Rail stations located in North Buffalo. From north to south, they are:
- University Station — Main Street at UB South Campus (University Heights).
- LaSalle Station — Main Street at LaSalle Avenue (University Heights).
- Amherst Street Station — Main Street at Amherst Street (Central Park/Vernon Triangle).
- Humboldt-Hospital Station — Main Street at Humboldt Parkway (Parkside).
It bears mentioning that the University Station is a major node in Buffalo's public transportation network, served directly by no fewer than eleven bus routes, as well as the subway. In particular, anyone travelling on public transit from Buffalo to one of its northern suburbs, such as Tonawanda or Amherst, will very likely have to transfer at the University Station.
Also, the NFTA operates a large 600-space Park & Ride lot on Main Street, adjacent to the University Station, and an even larger (and generally much less crowded) 800-space Park & Ride lot behind the LaSalle Station. Parking in these lots is free, and they're great for people whose hotel may be located in the aforementioned northern suburbs but would like to visit North Buffalo (or anywhere else the Metro Rail goes). Users of the University Park-and-Ride in particular should ensure that they are parked in the correct place — the Park-and-Ride lot is surrounded by a number of other lots that are reserved for students and faculty of UB, and campus police will not hesitate to ticket cars without parking passes parked in reserved spaces.
Buffalo has been making great strides in recent years in accommodating bicycling as a mode of transportation, with recognition from the League of American Bicyclists as a Bronze-Level "Bicycle-Friendly Community" to show for its efforts. Sadly, the bicycle infrastructure in North Buffalo is relatively underdeveloped compared to other parts of the city, and especially compared to other upscale neighborhoods such as the Elmwood Village and Allentown. However, this is not to say that North Buffalo is not a thoroughly enjoyable place to see by bike — the safe, quiet, and leafy streets of Park Meadow, Parkside, and Central Park are a cyclist's dream come true, with magnificent scenery to admire on the way to one's destination courtesy of the grandiose and architecturally distinguished housing stock of those areas. As well, those who don't mind dealing with busy car traffic will enjoy the bustling corridors of Hertel Avenue and Main Street in University Heights.
What specialized bike infrastructure there is in North Buffalo is centered around Delaware Park. Meadow Drive, the 1.8-mile (2.9 km) ring road that circumnavigates the Delaware Park Golf Course and passes within view of the Buffalo Zoo and the some of the grand old mansions of Park Meadow, is delightful for walkers, joggers and bicyclists alike. Though 1.1 miles (1.7 km) of Meadow Drive — from Agassiz Circle to Meadow Road — is also open to automobile traffic, traffic is generally quite light and speed limits for cars are very low (15 mph, or 24 km/h) and enforced strictly. Also, the Scajaquada Creekside Trail, also known as the Jesse Kriegel Bike Path, begins in Park Meadow near the corner of Lincoln Parkway and Nottingham Terrace (a pedestrian bridge over the Scajaquada Expressway provides access from the Hoyt Lake trail) and proceeds 2.4 miles (3.8 km) along the north bank of Scajaquada Creek, passing the Japanese Garden and the Buffalo History Museum on its way into the West Side, where it ends at the Riverwalk in Black Rock.
Away from Delaware Park, University Heights boasts the Minnesota Linear Park, a paved multi-use trail and "pocket park" that extends along the former Erie Railroad right-of-way, from the LaSalle Metro Rail Station to the west end of Merrimac Street — a distance of half a mile (900m). Developed as part of the Rails-to-Trails Program, the second phase of the linear park will have it lengthened by an additional quarter-mile (400m) as far as Kenmore Avenue, with plans to eventually extend it into Tonawanda where it will end at the Erie Canalway Trail.
GO Bike Buffalo, the local organization that promotes and advocates for cycling and other sustainable transportation alternatives in Buffalo, operates a Community Bicycle Workshop at 98 Colvin Ave in Park Meadow. There, a range of used bicycle parts and complete refurbished bikes are available for sale, as well as special programs periodically throughout the year; unwanted bicycles can also be donated (tax-deductible). The Community Bicycle Workshop is open Tu 6PM-9PM and Su 1PM-5PM, and also Th 6PM-9PM during summer only.
Buffalo BikeShare has two hubs at UB South Campus: the parking lot behind the University Metro Rail Station, and the area of Goodyear Road immediately behind Clement Hall. Members can sign in to the Social Bicycles mobile app to find available bikes in either of these places.
Being a more spread-out area with attractions often spaced a good distance from each other, North Buffalo is relatively less amenable to pedestrians than other upscale Buffalo neighborhoods such as the Elmwood Village and Allentown. Exceptions include Hertel Avenue and Main Street in University Heights, both boasting dense and lively concentrations of shops, bars, restaurants, and other attractions. Also, the safe, verdant streets of Parkside, Park Meadow and Central Park are pleasant places for a leisurely stroll.
- Hertel Gallery, 1499 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 833-3333. Opened in 2006, the Hertel Gallery is run by a brother-and-sister team, him an art aficionado eager to show off his personal collection and her a former barista who dreamed up a way for him to do so. This is a small, unassuming neighborhood gallery that really packs a punch — displayed here are original works by local and regional heavyweights, including such big names as David Max, Hal English, and even the great Charles Burchfield. Understandably, the Hertel Gallery is quite a popular place for local art lovers. As well, the owners sell antiques and will appraise or purchase customers' art.
- Nichols School Gallery, 1250 Amherst St. (Metro Bus 11 or 32), ☎ +1 716 332-6300. Hours vary. Located in the foyer of the Glenn & Audrey Flickinger Performing Arts Center on the campus of one of Buffalo's foremost private prep schools, the focus here is on works in a wide range of media by local artists (especially current Nichols students and alumni, much of whose work is displayed at the adjacent SEEARTRUN Gallery) or whose themes are relevant to Buffalo, Western New York, or the surrounding region. The Nichols School Gallery also hosts a range of travelling exhibits, workshops and visiting artist lectures. Free.
- St. Andrew's Sculpture Garden, 3107 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle). Opening hours vary bu exhibition. The Buffalo arts community first took notice of the once-forlorn empty lot behind St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in University Heights in 2013, when it was pressed into use as a staging area for the University Heights Art Crawl. Owned now by the University Heights Art Association — the community group that's behind that annual event as well as many of the outdoor murals you'll find on area buildings — the space has been transformed into a beautifully landscaped, intimately scaled outdoor garden centered on a stone-paved courtyard of ten platforms where sculptures and other works of three-dimensional are are displayed on a changing basis. St. Andrew's Sculpture Garden is open for temporary exhibitions as well as poetry readings, live music performances, and other events. Free.
- UB Anderson Gallery, 1 Martha Jackson Pl. (Metro Bus 5 or 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 829-3754. W-Sa 11AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. The home of the University of Buffalo's permanent art collection, the Anderson Gallery was donated to UB in 2000 by David Anderson, the son of prominent New York City gallery owner Martha Jackson and a noted art collector in his own right; before that, Jackson had operated the gallery on his own since 1991. This state-of-the-art exhibition space contains selections from a collection of over 1,200 works of art in various media that represent a diversity of cultures and traditions, including many works by local artists. The UB Anderson Gallery also houses the complete archives of the Martha Jackson Gallery, covering the years 1952-1969, and of pop artist and UB alumnus Allen D'Arcangelo. An exciting selection of temporary and traveling exhibits are also displayed at the UB Anderson Gallery. Free.
- 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 Park Meadow, adjacent to Delaware Park, the newly renamed Buffalo History Museum has by far the most extensive collection of artifacts relevant to the history of Buffalo and Western New York from pre-Columbian times to the present day. Originally built for the Pan-American Exposition in 1901, it is perhaps not surprising that the Exhibition is a particular focus of the exhibits at this wonderful museum. A Pierce-Arrow roadster built in Buffalo, the medal presented by George Washington to Chief Red Jacket, prototypes of the cardiac pacemaker invented by Clarence native Wilson Greatbatch, and artistic renderings of historical scenes and people flesh out the collection. Further historical records, manuscripts, photographs, and personal documents are housed at the Research Library. The Buffalo History Museum is also an invaluable resource for local residents interested in genealogy. $7, seniors and students 13-21 $5, children 7-12 $2, members and children under 7 free. Research Library $7, free to members.
- UB Museum of Neuroanatomy, 360 Biomedical Education Building, UB South Campus, 3435 Main St. (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 829-3081. Open for guided tours by appointment. Otherwise known simply as the "Brain Museum", the UB Medical School's Museum of Neuroanatomy is the only one in the United States dedicated exclusively to the human brain. Since 1994, this unique collection has comprised over 80 of these organs preserved in formaldehyde — both healthy specimens whose internal structures, such as the cerebellum and hippocampus, are clearly displayed and labeled, as well as pathological specimens showing the effects of Alzheimer's disease, aneurysms, and other maladies on the anatomy of the brain. Exhibits are engagingly designed and accessible to everyone from the layman to the academic. Free.
- Delaware Park, Parkside Lodge, 84 Parkside Ave. (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. Delaware Park is also the site of the Buffalo Zoo, described in more detail below.
- Buffalo Zoo, 300 Parkside Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 32), ☎ +1 716 837-3900. Summer: Sa-Th 10AM-5PM, F 10AM-7:30PM Winter: Daily 10AM-4PM. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Buffalo Zoo is the third-oldest zoo in the United States (founded in 1875 on the former site of the Deer Paddock at Delaware Park) and is second in popularity only to Niagara Falls among tourist attractions in the Niagara Frontier, welcoming 400,000 visitors each year. The 23-acre (9.5ha) Zoo boasts exciting thematic displays that play host to 1,200 different animals, such as elephants, bears, otters, sea lions, hyenas, and of course, bison. Some of the animals, such as a resident peacock, are allowed to roam freely on the walkways, allowing visitors to get closer to nature than they would in most zoos. In 2002, a new Master Plan was unveiled that will see the Zoo thoroughly modernized over the next 15 years. Under this framework, the Vanishing Animals, EcoStation, Otter Creek, Sea Lion Cove and South African Rainforest exhibits have already opened, with a new Children's Zoo and other exhibits slated for the near future. $10, students and seniors $8, children 2-14 $7, children under 2 free. Parking $3.50. Train and carousel rides $2.
- Japanese Garden (Metro Bus 20 or 32). Inaugurated in 1974 as a gesture of friendship between Buffalo and its sister city of Kanazawa, Japan, Delaware Park's Japanese Garden is located on six acres (2.4ha) on Hoyt Lake, behind the Buffalo History Museum. This beautifully manicured oasis of greenery slopes gently down from Nottingham Terrace to the shore of the lake, also encompassing three small islands in the lake connected to the mainland by a lovely ornamental footbridge. Over the past years, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy has been hard at work restoring and maintaining the more than 1,000 plantings of ornamental trees, shrubs and plants in the garden, including a large stand of Japanese cherry trees, and also have added or will soon add a stone garden and an authentic karesansui waterfall. Amid it all there are many benches and other sitting areas perfect for serene contemplation of one's peaceful natural surroundings.
- Public art. There are a number of installations of public art peppered around the grounds of Delaware Park. These include:
- The Indian Hunter (Located next to first tee of Delaware Park Golf Course, adjacent to Meadow Drive; Metro Bus 8 or 32; Metro Rail: Humboldt-Hospital). A bronze figure of a boy in American Indian garb crouching over next to his dog, bow and arrow in hand, The Indian Hunter is a replica of the statue of the same name that's on display in New York City's Central Park. According to the plaque on its pink granite pedestal, Buffalo's Indian Hunter was donated to the city in 1926 by Ella Spencer Darr in memory of her husband Marcus. The original sculpture is the work of artist John Quincy Adams Ward, and was cast in 1866.
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Located adjacent to Hoyt Lake and Scajaquada Creekside Trail near Buffalo History Museum; Metro Bus 20 or 32). The first installation of public art to be placed in Delaware Park and one of the first in the entire city, this 4-foot (1.2m) bronze bust of the most prolific, prodigious and influential composer of the Classical era was sculpted by Olin H. Warner for the Buffalo Liedertafel — a fact that bears testament to the profound importance of the German-American community in Buffalo's history, who made up more than half of the city's population when the statue was dedicated in 1894. The statue's pink granite base contains a number of bronze plaques inscribed with biographical facts about Mozart's life, the titles of some of his important works, and honorifics. Today, Mozart serenely overlooks Hoyt Lake from a spot near the Buffalo History Museum.
- Though Delaware Park is far from the only Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park in Buffalo, by comparison with other areas of the city North Buffalo is sadly lacking in green space. Though all of Buffalo is crisscrossed by Olmsted's park and parkway system, only one of those parkways — the northern extension of Lincoln Parkway through Park Meadow, between Nottingham Terrace and Great Arrow Avenue — passes through North Buffalo. In fact, it's arguable whether this portion of Lincoln can really be considered a "parkway" in the Olmstedian sense: though his plans for the neighborhood did include Lincoln Parkway, as actually constructed the street's ambience is much less open and pastoral than true Olmsted parkways like Chapin and Bidwell, and the setback between houses and street is not nearly as great. Shoshone Park is the only other park in North Buffalo of any note; situated on 16.5 acres (6.6ha) of land at the east end of Hertel Avenue about midway between Little Italy and University Heights, Shoshone Park boasts six baseball diamonds, a playground, and a swimming pool.
More and more, Buffalo's exquisite and well-preserved architecture has grabbed the attention of locals and tourists alike. As of May 2015, there are nine historic neighborhoods in Buffalo listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as seven additional ones that have been granted landmark status by the Buffalo Preservation Board. Three of those districts are located in North Buffalo:
- The Parkside East Historic District is bounded by Main Street on its southeast, Humboldt Parkway on its south, Parkside Avenue, Amherst Street and Colvin Avenue on its west, and the Belt Line railroad on its north and northeast, thus comprising pretty much the entirety of the neighborhood Buffalonians know simply as "Parkside". Though located within the city limits, Parkside was one of the first neighborhoods of Buffalo that might be called "suburban"; its architectural significance comes not only from the leafy, curvilinear layout of its streets — as described in the History section, the work of eminent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted — but also from the large two- and three-story wood-frame houses that occupy those streets, constructed in styles typical of upper-class residential architecture from 1870 through 1930 such as the Queen Anne, Bungalow, Craftsman, and Colonial Revival styles. Prominent among the historic and/or architecturally notable buildings of Parkside include the William Sydney Wicks House at 124 Jewett Parkway, the Walter V. Davidson House at 57 Tillinghast Place, and — of course — the Darwin D. Martin House, described in detail at the end of this section.
- Though it's located in the neighborhood Buffalonians know as Park Meadow, the Parkside West Historic District is so named because it was originally intended by Frederick Law Olmsted as a western extension to Parkside. The neighborhood is much newer than Parkside — no meaningful development occurred there until after the Pan-American Exposition, with most houses in the area constructed between 1920 and the beginning of World War II — and the degree to which the motley patchwork of real estate companies that developed the neighborhood kept to Olmsted's original plan is inconsistent (especially the further you get from Delaware Park). Thus, the Parkside West Historic District is not nearly as significant for its landscape design as for the architecture of the buildings themselves — the neighborhood is a veritable showcase for some of Buffalo's best examples of aristocratic mansions in styles popular during the interwar period, such as the French Château, Tudorbethan, and Colonial Revival. These include the Howard Kellogg House at 12 Middlesex Road, the Mary Goodyear House at 115 Meadow Road, and the breathtaking Annie Lang Miller House at 175 Nottingham Terrace.
- The University Park Historic District is located on 45 acres (18 ha) of land in University Heights, bounded roughly by Main Street, Capen Boulevard, Kenmore Avenue, and the rear property line of the houses on the west side of University Avenue. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011 as part of the Suburban Development of Buffalo, New York multiple-property submission, University Park is indeed distinctly suburban in character: a remarkably intact example of a planned residential subdivision of the 1910s and '20s, complete with ornate entrance gates of the same type that can be found along Main Street in the adjacent early suburbs of Eggertsville and Snyder. The attraction of University Park for architecture buffs is not the presence of any outstanding individual buildings (though the Edward Diebolt House at 62 Niagara Falls Boulevard was listed separately on the National Register in 2006), but rather the leafy, verdant streetscape, designed as a quiet respite from the bustle of city life, as well as the homogeneity of its housing stock, which consists of single-family Colonial Revival, Craftsman, American Foursquare, and Bungalow homes which, though stylistically similar, are somewhat less ornate and more modest in size than the houses of Parkside.
Additionally, though it is not listed on either the local, state or national historic registers, Central Park — the neighborhood immediately north of Parkside, across the Belt Line tracks — is also noteworthy for aficionados of history and architecture. Laid out beginning in 1890 by Lewis Bennett, who worked his way up from canal boat repairman to owner of the immense Bennett Limestone Quarry, which was located just across Main Street in the East Side neighborhood now known as Fillmore-Leroy, Central Park's streets are filled with some of the finest housing stock in Buffalo. Examples include the Bayliss-Oishei House at 360 Depew Avenue, the old Central Park Station, the only former station of the Belt Line railroad still standing, at 10 Starin Avenue, and the Edward Barcalo House at 371 Depew Avenue (yes, the man who invented the Barcalounger).
Parkside is also the home of what is undoubtedly the premier attraction in Buffalo for architecture buffs:
- Darwin D. Martin House Complex, 125 Jewett Pkwy. (Metro Bus 8 or 11; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ +1 716 856-3858. Basic Tours leave M, W, F & Sa 11AM, 12PM, & 1PM, Su 12:30PM, 1PM & 1:30PM; In-Depth Tours leave M, W, F & Sa 11AM & Su 12:30PM. The most important work of the first half of Frank Lloyd Wright's career, and the first commission for that renowned architect outside of Chicago, the Darwin D. Martin Complex is one of the crown jewels of Buffalo's huge architectural cornucopia. The complex includes not only the Darwin D. Martin House itself — built in 1904-05 for the president of the Larkin Soap Company and Wright's longtime friend and benefactor — but also the George Barton House, where Martin's daughter and son-in-law lived, the Gardener's Cottage, and three buildings — a carriage house, conservatory and pergola — which were demolished in 1962 and recently reconstructed according to Wright's original blueprints, the first Frank Lloyd Wright buildings ever to be rebuilt after demolition. Following over half a century of neglect, vandalism, and decay, the complex was purchased by the Martin House Restoration Corporation in 1994, with the extensive restoration process finally completed in 2010. For many local residents, the rebirth of the Darwin D. Martin House symbolizes the increased attention Buffalo's citizens are paying to their city's world-class architecture. A one-hour Basic Tour is offered, as well as a more extensive two-hour In-Depth Tour. Basic tour $15, $13 seniors, $10 students, members free; In-Depth Tours $30, $28 seniors, $25 students and members.
The Darwin Martin House is not the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house in North Buffalo. Another one, the Walter V. Davidson House, can also be found in Parkside. Located at 57 Tillinghast Place in the northwest extremity of the neighborhood, the Davidson House was designed for its namesake, who was an executive at the Larkin Company between 1906 and 1913, thereafter founding the Davidson Shoe Company. Though it's noticeably smaller and more unassuming than the Darwin Martin House — the smaller budget Wright worked with in constructing the Davidson House was perhaps a forerunner of the "Usonian" houses he designed for middle-class clients toward the end of his career — its modest scale belies a stunning two-story living room dominated by a massive bay window at its east end. Sadly, the Walter Davidson House is privately owned and not open for tours.
Festivals and events
- Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival. Buffalo's Cherry Blossom Festival serves as both a tribute to the city's sister-city relationship with Kanazawa, Japan, as well as a fundraiser for the continuing upkeep of Delaware Park's Japanese Garden. This weeklong festival usually takes place about three weeks after its much more famous counterpart in Washington, D.C., with peak bloom in early to mid-May. In between admiring the lovely trees, you can also catch live music, take a boat ride on Mirror Lake, and — especially — take a taste of Japanese culture with bunraku puppet theater performances and a traditional tea ceremony on the portico of the Buffalo History Museum. Expanding their scope far beyond the Japanese Garden, the Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival's organizers also sponsor cherry tree plantings all over the city, and will even sell you one to plant in your own yard.
- Galbani Buffalo Italian Heritage Festival. The second-largest Italian-American heritage festival in the United States as well as one of the five largest street festivals of any description in the country, the Buffalo Italian Heritage Festival was held for ten years on Connecticut Street before it followed most of the city's Italian population, moving in 1988 from the Lower West Side to North Buffalo. Today, 600,000 visitors crowd the vicinity of Hertel and Delaware Avenues for four days each August to enjoy live music, carnival rides, and revelry of all kinds. The star of the show, of course, is the food, with offerings from such well-known Italian markets as Guercio & Sons and Mineo & Sapio Meats as well as demonstrations by chefs from Italian restaurants in the area such as Marotto's and Marco's Italian Deli.
- Delaware Park Golf Course, 84 Parkside Ave. (Metro Bus 8, 11, 25 or 32; Metro Rail: Humboldt-Hospital), ☎ +1 716 838-1249. Opened in 1930 on the site of Delaware Park's Meadow, the Delaware Park Golf Course is arguably the most popular golf course in the city. Golfers can enjoy playing a full 18-hole game in a beautifully landscaped environment; the course is par 68 and its longest tees have a yardage of 5,359 yards. The Parkside Lodge is a lovely 1914 Craftsman-style building that houses a snack bar and the course's pro shop. Weekend green fees $15.00.
- Grover Cleveland Golf Course, 3781 Main St. (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 836-7398. Located at the far northeast corner of the city, across Bailey Avenue from UB's South Campus, the Grover Cleveland Golf Course is one of Buffalo's most historic: as the home of the Country Club of Buffalo from 1900 until its move to the suburb of Williamsville in 1925, the course was the site of the first airplane flight in Western New York, which took off from here in 1910, and also played host to the 1912 U.S. Open. Now operated by Erie County, this 18-hole, par 69 course is one of the most challenging in Western New York. The Grover Cleveland Golf Course boasts a practice green, mens' and ladies' locker rooms, and a clubhouse and concession stand. During winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing is permitted from 7AM-dusk. $16, $18 weekends and holidays, $11 seniors and youths (weekdays only, proof of age required), cart rental $24, club rental $10.
- North Buffalo Ice Rink, 156 Tacoma Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 873-8481. Open skate M & Th 11AM-1PM, Tu-W 4:30PM-6PM, F & Su 7PM-9PM, Sa 5:30PM-6:30PM (Sep-Mar); M-Th 3PM-5PM, F 8PM-9PM, Sa 7:30PM-9PM, Su 4:30PM-6PM (Apr-Aug). $2, children 5-17 $1, children under 5 free, skate rental $2.
- ALT Theatre, 255 Great Arrow Ave (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 868-6847. You might be able to catch the occasional play such as "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" at this intimate black-box performance space on the third floor of the Pierce-Arrow Factory, but the ALT Theatre is much more than a theater, let alone an off-Broadway playhouse. Describing itself as "a hub for experimentation and innovation in the performing arts", this is the place to catch avant-garde performances of new dramatic works as well as in diverse genres such as music, film, and dance. Though the occasional visiting performer passes through, the overwhelming focus of the ALT Theatre is on nurturing local talent — the shows put on here are truly one-of-a-kind.
- Kaleidoscope Theatre, 18 Agassiz Circle (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: Humboldt-Hospital), ☎ +1 716 479-1587. With a mission of enriching and enlightening audiences through the power of live theatre, the Kaleidoscope Thratre is an independent, award-winning production house dedicated to high-quality original material produced in-house, as well as occasional performances of classics such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. Kaleidoscope shows three plays per year, usually with a run of two weeks each, at the Lecture Hall Theatre in Medaille College's Main Building.
- Subversive Theatre Collective, 255 Great Arrow Ave (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 408-0499. The Manny Fried Playhouse, named after a former Buffalo theatre actor, union organizer, and political radical and located in the former Pierce-Arrow Factory Complex in Park Meadow, is the new home of the Subversive Theatre Collective. This bold new troupe's mission is to present provocative works of drama that are "dedicated to the needs, concerns, and aspirations of those who are oppressed, exploited, and disenfranchised by the existing social order". The Subversive Theatre Collective has staged performances of works such as Maxine Klein's The Furies of Mother Jones and Bertolt Brecht's The Mother, and has traditionally been an integral part of Buffalo's annual Infringement Festival.
- Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St., Amherst (At University Plaza; Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 834-7655. Owned by Dipson Theatres, a local chain of movie houses, the Amherst Theatre is located at the University Plaza at the outer end of University Heights. It features three screens showing an interesting mix of indie and arthouse films, Hollywood blockbusters of the more high-concept variety, and the occasional foreign film.
- North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 836-7411. Almost inarguably the most distinctive movie theatre in the Buffalo area, the North Park was built in 1920 as an old-fashioned silent movie palace and still boasts an exquisite (and newly restored) Baroque interior with Art Deco flourishes. The single screen shows indie films almost exclusively. The North Park Theatre is also famous as the site of the world premiere of "Buffalo '66", the critically-acclaimed directorial debut of local native Vincent Gallo, which took place here in June 1998.
- Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave (Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ +1 716 871-0950. 16 screens showing standard big-name Hollywood fare.
- Voelker's Bowling Center, 686 Amherst St. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 876-6020. M-F 6PM-4AM, Sa noon-4AM, Su 9AM-4AM. Situated at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Amherst Street and especially popular with students of nearby Buffalo State College, Voelker's may seem like it was plucked from another time. Behind a lively bar redolent of old-school Buffalo — the kind of place where you might see Pabst Blue Ribbon being drunk by rough-around-the-edges blue-collar types, rather than ironically by hipsters — are 36 bowling lanes, as well as three pool tables and a few dartboards. Open daily till 4AM, Voelker's is the place to go for late-night bowling in Buffalo.
- Hippodrome Billiards, 975 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 874-1802. M-Sa 1PM-3AM, Su 4PM-1AM. The oldest continually operating billiard hall in North America, Hippodrome Billiards opened in 1914 in the Theater District; through its early years of operation, some of history's great pool sharks, such as Minnesota Fats and Willie Mosconi, were regulars here. Sadly, Hippodrome is situated today in a nondescript suburban-style strip mall at the southwest corner of Delaware and Hertel Avenues. Despite the unfortunate location — and its spacious, bright and clean ambience that runs counter to the stereotype of pool halls — Hippodrome manages to conserve some of the old-school feel with chairs, cue racks, and several billiard tables retained from the original property. And, for those who'd rather skip the history lesson and just shoot a few games of pool, Hippodrome's rate of $4 per person per hour is hard to beat.
Given the active nightlife in North Buffalo, live music is surprisingly hard to come by there. Music fans might want to head west to Grant-Amherst, which boasts several concert halls where the emphasis is on country, roots-rock, blues, and the like.
- Broadway Joe's, 3051 Main St. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 836-9555. This University Heights dive boasts a small performance space that frequently hosts punk, heavy metal, and alternative rock shows.
Located on 154 acres (62 ha) of land in University Heights, the South Campus is the oldest of the three campuses of the University at Buffalo, the largest school in the State University of New York (SUNY) system as well as the largest public university in the Northeast. Founded in 1846 as a private medical college with future U.S. President Millard Fillmore as its first chancellor, the University at Buffalo moved to the former site of the Erie County Alms House in 1912, where the preeminent local architectural firm of the time, E. B. Green & Son, built a lovely Georgian-Revival style campus modelled after Trinity College in Dublin. Though most of the academic departments were transferred to UB's sprawling new North Campus in Amherst in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the South Campus still contains UB's Schools of Dentistry, Nursing, and Architecture and Planning, as well as the Health Sciences Library, Biomedical Science Research Complex, and student housing. UB Medical School is currently in the process of moving to the new Downtown Campus located in the Medical Corridor.
Medaille College is a small private college located at the southern end of Parkside, on Agassiz Circle. Founded in 1875 as a Catholic girls' school by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Medaille has been coeducational and nonsectarian since 1968, and boasts about 3,000 students and a full range of courses emphasizing the liberal arts and sciences. Medaille also has branch campuses in Rochester and the nearby suburb of Amherst, the fruits of a rapid expansion of the school that began in the 1990s and continues through the present day.
As far as bustling conglomerations of charming small shops, restaurants, galleries and bars, in Buffalo Hertel Avenue ranks a close second to the Elmwood Village. While Elmwood is best known for its hip clothing boutiques, Hertel is the place to go in Buffalo for antiques, furniture and housewares, and quirky gifts.
Clothing and accessories
- Modern Nostalgia, 1382 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 844-8435. Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM. Modern Nostalgia is a cute women's clothing boutique owned by Nikki Polasik and Brianne Klejdys-Long, a pair of lifelong friends who are described on the store's website as "Buffalo all-stars when it comes to style and fashion". The "style" in question takes equal inspiration from elegant classic designs and exciting contemporary looks from up-and-coming designers — hence the name of the store — and makes the owners' infectious love of fashion all the more obvious. Customers adore ModNos — and forgive their somewhat high prices — because of their wide and changing selection of clothes (ranging from formalwear to more casual designs), lingerie, jewelry and accessories. The last two on that list are a particular specialty, with a massive range of earrings, bracelets, necklaces, handbags and clutches from collections by local and national designers, such as Pura Vida, Ornamental Things, and Made By Anatomy. As well, ModNos recently absorbed its erstwhile sister (brother?) shop, Blue Collar Buffalo, and now stocks their line of rugged and masculine yet contemporary and stylish menswear under the same roof.
- Peek-a-Boo Baby Boutique, 1446 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 833-4084. Tu, Th & Sa 10AM-5PM, W 10AM-7PM, F 12:30PM-6PM. The first thing a customer may think upon entering Peek-a-Boo Baby Boutique might be that for a storefront that looks so small from the outside and is so packed with merchandise, it has a remarkably airy, expansive feel, clean and cheerily decorated. Once that first impression is over, the customer may very well marvel at the large and adorable selection of previously-enjoyed items for children from newborns through toddlers — clothes, high chairs, bassinets, strollers, toys, and miscellaneous merchandise — all in impeccable condition. Most of the merchandise is consigned to the store by parents of growing children (call for details), but there are also some new items as well, much of which is the unique work of local designers. All items are 10% off after 5PM on Wednesday.
- P.S. Accessories, 1442 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 883-0678. Tu & Sa noon-5PM, W & F noon-6PM, Th 11AM-5PM. P.S. Accessories boasts cute and fashion-forward clothes for all tastes, including plus sizes — but as the store's name implies, the star of the show here is the ample and ever-changing selection of jewelry, handbags, hairbands, leggings, belts, and other accessories, representing a style that encompasses diverse influences to suit all tastes, yet is distinctive and cohesive. The new items that constantly arrive at P.S. ensure that there's always a fresh slate of trendy items for shoppers to pore over. Best of all, the staff earns rave reviews for the friendly and helpful care they take of their guests, and the prices here can't be beat — the store's policy is never to charge more than $40 for any item!
- Richel Formalwear, 1291 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 877-6065. M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. Luxurious yet affordable menswear is the order of the day at Richel Formalwear. With a skillful and genuine approach to customer service honed over more than a quarter-century of experience, owner Carmelo Bandinelli attends to Buffalonians in search of elegant men's formal attire such as tuxedos, dress shirts, vests, three-piece suits, shoes, and accessories such as hats, ties, and cufflinks. The owner himself performs each custom fitting with a trained eye to perfection that's unmatched in the area, and also offers customized tailoring and alterations including jacket tapering. Richel Formalwear doesn't leave the opposite sex out in the cold, either: wedding dresses, bridesmaids' gowns, prom dresses, and other formal attire for ladies are available for sale or rent.
Art and art supplies
- Cone Five Pottery, 1508 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 332-0486. W-Sa 11AM-5PM, Th till 8PM. Opened in 1998 on the West Side and moved to its current location four years later, Greg Link is the self-taught craftsman whose sculpture and handmade pottery can be found among the unique items for sale and on display in Cone Five Pottery's ample gallery space. The balance of the items here encompass works by over 50 artists from all over Buffalo and Western New York, in media as diverse as painting, jewelry, metal and wood art, photography, and blown glass, as well as occasional temporary exhibitions. In addition, open studio time for gallery members takes place at Cone Five every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from noon till 9PM, and Donna Goeckel Martiny and Rachel Kofahl conduct pottery classes that range from basic skills like hand building, trimming and glazing to advanced techniques.
- Flying Anvil Metalworks, 51 Botsford Place (Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ +1 716 308-0825. Tu-F noon-6, or by appointment. If you've followed your GPS from Hertel onto Botsford Place, you might think you've taken a wrong turn — Flying Anvil Metalworks is located in an anonymous brick building in an industrial neighborhood, surrounded by warehouses and big-rig parking lots. But appearances can be deceiving: inside, you'll find a bevy of unique, custom-made furniture, collectibles, architectural and interior elements, and objets d'art fashioned by owners Mollie Atkinson and Kenny Kash out of steel, copper, brass and aluminum. They'll work with you to fashion your own metal-art masterpiece whether it be functional or strictly decorative, or you can browse their ample selection of antique and collectible metal art made by others. Flying Anvil even does double duty as an exhibit space where local metal artists display their works.
- Local Color Gallery, 1417 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 885-5188. Tu-Sa noon-6PM or by appointment. A small storefront boutique gallery operated by the legendary Michael Morgulis out of a section of his Hertel Avenue shop, New Buffalo Graphics (q.v.), the Local Color Gallery's exhibit space features brightly colored, pop art-style prints with almost a comic-book look to them, where local themes predominate and Morgulis' background in graphic design is on full display. Works can be purchased in-store or online.
- The Main Frame, 1386 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 447-1107. Tu-F 10AM-5:30PM, Sa 10AM-3PM. Opened in 1988 as a small art gallery and frame store at the heart of the Hertel Avenue corridor, The Main Frame is a sister shop to the venerable Vern Stein Art & Frame in Williamsville, and serves also as the production facility for the custom-made frames sold at both stores. The Main Frame boasts a large selection of prints on display and for sale, with antique prints featuring local scenes and themes a particular specialty. The Main Frame's staff has over 30 years of combined experience in custom framing, and really does a marvelous job at it.
- Meridian West Art Gallery, 1209 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 768-3805. Tu-F 3PM-6PM, Sa noon-6PM. A brand-new gallery opened in 2012 to great fanfare, Meridian West's owners, George Grace and Nancy Clarke Mariani, are both active members of the Buffalo Society of Artists and boast long and illustrious pedigrees in Buffalo's arts community (as a writer/artist and the chair of Lancaster High School's art department, respectively). Their work is on display and available for sale in Meridian West's airy, minimalist exhibit space, as are paintings, sculptures and mixed-media works by other local and regional artists such as Gary Wolfe, Ann Gunderman, and Rita Argen Auerbach. A small selection of gifts is available for those of a creative disposition. In addition, theatrical and musical performances, poetry readings, art and writing classes, and community events of all types are frequently held at Meridian West.
- State of the Art, 1781 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 832-3900. Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 1PM-5PM. The credo here is, "We may not be big, but we're small" — and so it is at State of the Art, where the staff consists of Mar Penner Griswold, a certified picture framer with over 40 years of experience in the field, and her ever-present feline companion, Lucy. Since 1982, State of the Art has been a Hertel Avenue mainstay, with the store's website vaunting a full range of services including framing, frame repair, photographic repair and restoration, matting, glass replacement, and — yes — cat advice. Customers rave about Griswold's helpful advice on style and color, patient and sincere service to her clients, and fair prices.
- The Antique Lamp Company and Gift Emporium, 1213 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 871-0508. Tu-Sa 11AM-4PM. The Antique Lamp Company is where, since 1997, longtime antique aficionado John Tobin has offered for sale a full selection of antique and vintage lamps and light fixtures in 19th- and early 20th-century styles such as Victorian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Mission, and Art Moderne. Western New York's only full-time, professional lamp restorer, Tobin's work in repairing and polishing these pieces to restore their former brilliance truly betrays the boundless love he has for what he does. A wide variety of fine china, timepieces, jewelry and accessories, flowers and gifts round out the offerings at the Antique Lamp Company. The cherry on top is the decor, whose opulent elegance extends to the soft music and subtle fragrances that delight customers as they shop.
- Buffalo Antiques and Quality Furniture, 1539 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 832-4231. W-Sa noon-5PM. Dealing in a wide selection of wholesale antique furniture, timepieces, china, sterling silver, light fixtures, and decorative accessories, Buffalo Antiques is a massive emporium that's been in business on Hertel for over fifteen years. In addition to the antique items, which represent Victorian and 19th-century European styles through the Mid-Century Modern period, a variety of new furniture is also sold here: Buffalo Antiques is a licensed dealer of the Maitland-Smith and LaBarge brands. As well, these fine folks are always on the lookout for quality items to purchase, from single items to partial and total estate sale liquidations. Buffalo Antiques offers free estate sale consultations and fair-market appraisals of antique items.
- JM Gold Buyers, 1484 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 913-8549. M-F 9AM-5PM. This store's name is an unfortunate misnomer: though they will gladly purchase your unwanted jewelry, coin collections, ad nauseam, this is much more than just another sleazy old-gold dealer. The much more interesting half of the operation is built on owner John Marfoglia's nearly two decades of experience buying and selling at antique shows nationwide, which has put him in touch with some of the leading dealers and collectors in the United States. The fruits of those relationships are on full display in this Hertel Avenue showroom which was described by one satisfied customer as "like the best parts of an estate sale were put together in a small shop". Among the maddening diversity of antiques available here, specialties include weaponry including guns, knives and Japanese swords, "modern vintage" paintings, sculptures and other art, and Oriental rugs. Fans of the usual array of furniture, timepieces, light fixtures, jewelry and collectibles won't be disappointed either. JM Gold Buyers are also happy to provide you with a fair-market appraisal for your antiques (they even do online appraisals!) and manage your estate sales.
- Man Cave Outfitters of Buffalo, 1453 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 830-3984. M-Sa 9AM-8PM. If there were a competition for the store with the most accurate, short and to the point name in Buffalo, this place would win it hands down: simply stated, if you have a mancave and you need to outfit it, this is likely to be the first, last, and only stop you'll need to make. That's especially true if you're a beer fan, as the main focus of the inventory that owner Jonathan Gill has put together consists of antique collectibles from the golden age of Buffalo brewing: vintage neon signs, wall clocks, steins, ice chests, and bottle openers emblazoned with the old Iroquois and Simon Pure logos abound (if you're not familiar with or interested in those Buffalo brands of yore, never fear; they've got old-timey national-brand merchandise too). But that's only half the story: in partnership with the House of Jacob with whom they share the building, Man Cave Outfitters also offers a wide selection of restored vintage guitars and other musical instruments, and there's even a custom jeweler who practices his craft in a small nook in the back of the store. Prices are fair, and if you have a piece of antique "breweriana" of your own that you'd like to unload, Man Cave Outfitters can help with that too.
- The Painted House, 1478 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 425-1575. W 10AM-6PM, Th 11AM-7PM, F 11AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. The merchandise in the shop that used to be Essential Home Decor hasn't changed all that much — there's still an eclectic selection of household accessories, interior elements, and kitchenwares to be had at The Painted House, many of which are locally manufactured. But the other half of the equation at this self-described "fusion boutique" are lovely pieces of vintage and antique furniture that owner Jennifer Kovach skillfully refurbishes by hand. The aesthetic here is quaint and rustic, delightfully quirky yet refined; even if you're not in the market for anything like what is sold at the Painted House, it's nice to come in just to get ideas for redesigning your house.
- Silent Voices, 1495 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 830-9906. M-Sa 1PM-5PM or by appointment. Owner Frank Scheuttle has a long history in every aspect of the world of arts and antiques: well-versed in art history and theory thanks to his M.A. in American Folk Culture from the New York State Historical Association's Cooperstown Graduate Program, and tempered in the business side of the field with 40 years of experience as a collector, consultant, dealer, and museum curator. Silent Voices, his Hertel Avenue storefront and gallery space, contains a wide selection of artworks, quilts, crafts, and antiques on display and for sale that represent all facets of the Americana that is the object of his encyclopedic knowledge, boundless enthusiasm, and genuine love.
- Webb Trading Company, 1396 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 836-2380. W-F 11AM-5PM, Sa noon-4PM, and by appointment. The Webb Trading Company is a massive emporium of furniture and interior decorative items in the heart of North Buffalo that boasts 2,000 square feet (184m²) of genuine period antiques in a wide variety of styles, as well as modern reproductions. Along with the myriad furnishings, decorative items, and objets d'art offered for sale there, the Webb Trading Company also employs decorators who custom-design clients' interior spaces and manages estate sale liquidations and auctions from which they (as well as Sempre Vintage, the store-within-a-store where Anna Kaplan sells sophisticated vintage ladies' clothing from the '50s to the '80s) source their merchandise.
- The Second Reader, 1419 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 862-0001. Tu-Th 11AM-6PM, F-Sa 11AM-7PM. The selection at this small used book shop directly across from the North Park Theater may not be the widest, but the Second Reader makes up for that with the quality of its merchandise and the friendliness and enthusiasm of its staff — not to mention the surprising and unusual finds that can often be encountered on the shelves there. The Second Reader's excellent prices are exemplified by the "$1 Book Table" which makes regular appearances in season on the sidewalk in front of the store. In addition to books, a range of prints, gifts and other ephemera are available here.
Liquor, beer and wine
- Hertel-Parker Liquor Store, 1859 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 833-7400. M-Th 10AM-9PM, F-Sa 10AM-10PM. Located at the corner of Hertel and Parker Avenues since 1988, the aptly named Hertel-Parker Liquor Store bucks the usual local trend of stores of this type: customers prefer the massive variety, range and quality of the liquors here to the more modest range of wines. Nonetheless, this independent business is renowned for the friendly and helpful staff that curates the selection. A sticking point among locals is that the owners seem to regard the opening hours as more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast rule.
- Savory Sips, 1448 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 835-0817. Tu-Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-4PM. Though she'd been thriving since 2011 at her original location in Lewiston, Savory Sips' move four years later to the more centrally located Hertel Avenue strip was a happy homecoming for owner Rebecca Christie, a proud North Buffalo native daughter. Though casual passersby along the main drag might miss this place — it's tucked away behind Daisy's Doghouse, with an entrance facing Norwalk Avenue — this charming European-style wine boutique is worth seeking out for the expansive selection of vintages on offer. Though the selection here spans every variety and geographic region imaginable, Savory Sips' is far from a kitchen-sink approach: all the wines Christie stocks on the shelves are individually selected, organic, small-batch vintages priced under $27 per bottle (more expensive wines, including some very hard-to-find selections, are available by special order on request). Matching the wide-ranging selection is Christie's encyclopedic knowledge of the products she stocks and of the wine industry in general, and she puts that knowledge to full use for her customers whether it be helping with a pairing or just talking shop with fellow wine lovers who stop in. The interior of the store is Christie's handiwork as well: with walls painted in rich, warm earth tones and a hand-built wine bar in the back, the space looks like Tuscany by way of Mexico. About the only weakness Savory Sips has is a disappointing selection of local wines, but do ask the owner about the group wine-tasting excursions to the Finger Lakes, the Niagara Peninsula, and other nearby winemaking regions that she offers through her side business, Village Wine Tours. Free public wine tastings are also held once a month; see the website for details.
- Village Beer Merchant, 1535 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 768-1436. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-6PM. A local business that's already well-loved and well-established in the Elmwood Village, this second location of the venerable Village Beer Merchant opened in 2012. To put it succinctly, this place is heaven for Buffalo beer snobs. As is perhaps obvious, the specialty here is a slate of brews that gives the perennial favorite local beer store, Premier Gourmet, a run for its money: a dizzying gamut of imports, local and regional microbrews, and seasonal selections curated by a knowledgeable and friendly staff eager to direct customers toward the beer that's right for them. However, Village Beer Merchant's Hertel location does Elmwood one better with a full tasting room where customers can sample from among the many brews in stock. Vilage Beer Merchant is also a destination for those in search of a wide variety of gourmet specialty foods, with a range of artisanal cheeses, fine olive oils, chocolates, teas, Boar's Head deli meats and other charcuterie, and other upscale edibles.
In addition to the imported cheeses, pastas, olive oils, and so forth that are to be expected in Little Italy, Hertel has a small colony of Middle Eastern groceries that's located near the corner of Delaware Avenue.
- Al Noor Grocery, 1200 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 876-4752. M-Th & Sa-Su 11AM-8PM, F 3PM-9PM. Tasty Middle Eastern groceries of all types are the order of the day at Al Noor, with the crowded aisles of this little place fully stocked with everything from spices to Turkish coffee to canned vegetables to sheesha to a small selection of frozen foods. This stuff is the real deal, authentic and delicious — especially the halal meats that are the specialty here. Interestingly enough, British visitors will note that this is the only place in Buffalo that stocks Vimto soft drinks.
- Caruso's Italian Imports, 1212 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 875-2797. Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 9AM-2PM. In the heart of Buffalo's Little Italy, appropriately enough, is found this delightful old-world food shop that seems to have been plucked from another time. Caruso's Italian Imports is a purveyor of delicious yet unpretentious imported foods which has earned more than its share of loyal customers over its 40 years of operation in North Buffalo. Found here is a myriad of delectable Italian specialties such as pasta, cheeses, olives and olive oils, fresh-baked breads, fine charcuterie such as prosciutto and mortadella, and fresh vegetables. The old-fashioned warmth and friendliness exuded by Caruso's employees is matched by the prices, which are among the lowest in town for specialty groceries of this type.
- Jerusalem Halal Market, 1146 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 259-8381. Daily 10AM-10PM. The west end of the Hertel Avenue strip has a growing cluster of ethnic food shops that all stock basically the same selection of Middle Eastern packaged groceries, frozen foods, and other goods. Jerusalem Halal Market is no different in that regard, but what does set it apart from the competition is the pleasant shopping experience: the store is clean and brightly lit, the merchandise is well-organized, the aisles are easy to navigate, and customer service is friendly and attentive. As well, Jerusalem has an in-house butcher that sells fresh meat (100% halal, like everything else sold here) several days a week; if it's closed when you stop in, there's always an ample selection of frozen meats. Rounding out the inventory is a relatively modest selection of fresh produce as well as hookah pipes, headscarves, and other Islamic clothing.
- Johnny's Meats, 1191 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 876-2500. M 9AM-5:30PM, Tu-F 8AM-5:30PM, Sa 7AM-5PM. Since 1960, Johnny's Meats has offered for sale a full range of meats, cold cuts, and cheeses, many of which are produced locally. Johnny's homemade Italian sausage, crafted with a secret blend of herbs and cheeses, is a specialty, but it's also just the beginning of the story — this real, old-fashioned butcher shop sells it all. Beef, lamb, bacon, veal, locally produced Sahlen's hot dogs, seafood, pork, poultry, and delicious homemade meatballs all keep Johnny's loyal customers coming back for more. In another nod to Hertel Avenue's status as the epicenter of Buffalo's Italian community, a small line of pasta products is also available.
- The House of Olives, 1374 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 876-6457. Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-7PM, Su noon-4PM. Sandy Hofschneider spent many years working as a registered nurse in North Carolina; this brand-new Hertel Avenue storefront represents the second phase in her professional life, where her efforts at promoting the health and wellness of the community come through the sale of healthy extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars — and at great prices. Easily the most interesting products sold at the House of Olives are the flavored olive oils, where the imported extra-virgin oils that are also sold plain come infused with the delicious aromas of fresh basil, jalapeño, Meyer lemon, garlic mushroom, and more. Infused vinegars are also sold, with blackberry, raspberry, hickory, and chocolate among the available flavors. Best of all, customers are well attended to at the House of Olives, with the friendly owner always on hand to suggest pairings, share recipes, or — true to form — extol the myriad health benefits of extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
- The Pasta Peddler and Blackbird Sweets, 1547 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 393-9547 (Pasta Peddler), +1 716 253-1115 (Blackbird Sweets). Tu-Sa 9AM-7PM, Su 9AM-1PM. Run by husband-and-wife team Eric and Andrea Amodeo, these founding tenants of the West Side's Horsefeathers Market proved so immediately popular that, barely a year after opening, they'd outgrown their booth there and moved to Hertel Avenue, where they share the same (larger) space near the east end of the strip. The goods they sell are the same as always, though: Eric's stock in trade at the Pasta Peddler is gourmet goodies like imported olives and oils, balsamic vinegars in a variety of flavors, honey, and a selection of delicious artisanal fruit butters — and above all, as the name implies, a line of handmade gourmet pastas (including premade packaged ravioli to take home) and sauces. Linguini is a particular specialty; it comes plain as well as in a wide range of flavors such as spinach, jalapeño pepper, or tomato basil. As for Andrea's Blackbird Sweets, a wide range of gourmet pastries are sold that deliver, in her own words, "confection perfection and wow with every bite". You can get cookies, muffins, pies, tarts, and lots of other home-baked delights at Blackbird, but the marquee product are cupcakes that come in a diverse selection of flavors — sugar cookie, salted caramel, and oatmeal chocolate chip are among the more interesting ones — crafted so artfully that one reviewer described being hesitant to bite into them. Consensus says that the cake has real heft to it and the frosting is not overpowering in its sweetness. And in the winter months, taking a cue from their former home at Horsefeathers, the Amodeos team up to host the Winter Market on Hertel, featuring local farmers and food artisans.
Chocolates and candies
- Bella Mia Candy Store, 1096 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 447-0922. M-Th 11AM-8PM, F-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su noon-7PM. The name of the game at Bella Mia is rekindling the memories of nostalgic customers with "retro candies" from their childhoods. For sale here are old-school favorites like Laffy Taffy, Lemonheads, Necco wafers, and Abba Zabba chocolate bars, Cadbury and Mars candy bars that are imported from Canada and especially popular with customers from north of the border, and delectable oversize lollipops of the kind that will remind customers of a certain age of summers at Crystal Beach. Other confections such as licorice, chocolate truffles, and bubble gum are available as well — and what would a candy store in Buffalo be without a huge selection of sponge candy (available in half-pound, one-pound, and two-pound boxes)? An ice cream counter, coffee and cappuccino, and vintage gifts such as Beatles posters and old-fashioned metal Elvis lunchboxes round out the inventory here. Customers rave especially about Tom, the friendly, down-to-earth owner who always makes sure every visitor to Bella Mia leaves happy.
- Chow Chocolat, 1438 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23). M-Th 10AM-8PM, F-Sa 10AM-11PM, Su noon-8PM. Hertel Avenue is the latest setting in the long, itinerant saga of Chow Chocolat: owner and chocolatier Scott Wisz got his start in 2007 in the downtown Theater District, then bounced over to Elmwood for a few years, then to the basement of the Horsefeathers Market on the West Side, and finally, in January 2015, to a former law office in the heart of the North Buffalo action. Though the location may have changed, Chow Chocolat's stock in trade is the same as always: small-batch chocolates and caramels artisanally handcrafted using the finest ingredients: milk from grass-fed cows on local farms, locally-sourced, organic and GMO-free fruits, and more. These delectable goodies, along with delicious house-blend coffees and hot chocolates (try the salted caramel!), are sold to you by an owner who clearly takes pride in his works and in the relationships he's cultivated with his loyal customers that have followed him in his game of musical chairs around the city. Prices are a touch on the high side, but again, you get what you pay for.
- Revolver Records, 1451 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 213-7604. Tu-Th noon-7PM, F noon-8PM, Sa 11AM-8PM, Su noon-5PM. In November 2015, Phil Machemer finally took the brisk business he'd done for a few seasons selling records on Saturday mornings and afternoons out of a stand at The Peddler on Elmwood Avenue and parlayed it into a brick-and-mortar store on Hertel in the former site of Deja Lu — and, in so doing, became the most recent piece of a mini-explosion of new record shops in Buffalo that's most welcome in the years after the demise of the venerable Home of the Hits and New World Record. As has become the rule among these new shops, vinyl is the name of the game at Revolver Records. On the racks in this pleasantly airy, brightly-lit space is a gargantuan yet carefully-curated kaleidoscope of some of the most interesting, obscure, sought-after, and above all, best music on the planet — over 15,000 titles spanning all genres and time periods from the 1950s to the present; everything from popular favorites to hard-to-find imports to offerings from Buffalo's local music scene, all accurately graded. There's a limited selection of music on CD and other format too. Whatever interests you, be assured that Phil's encyclopedic knowledge of music is at your service — and if you're still not sure, Revolver provides a listening station where customers can listen to any record for themselves before purchase; a service that's unique in Buffalo. Revolver will also buy any old vinyl you might want to unload — a specialty here is entire collections in a specific genre — and prices are fair whether you're buying or selling.
Tattoos and piercing
- Arboreal Ink, 1745 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 931-9035. W-F noon-8PM, Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-5PM, or by appointment. Founded in 2010 and self-described as "Buffalo's Classiest Body Art Studio", Arboreal Ink goes about its business of creating high-quality custom-designed tattoos and body piercing in an environment that can be described as almost obsessively dedicated to professionalism, hygiene, and the kind of service that earns customers' loyalty. Tattooist Greg Sobczak got his start in 2004; with a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Buffalo, Greg doubles as an accomplished oil painter whose work can be found in many area galleries, as well as at Arboreal Ink itself. Piercing artist Brittany Chmura also does double duty: her line of unique custom-designed jewelry is available for sale exclusively at Arboreal Ink. Simply put, no tattoo or piercing enthusiast will leave this place disappointed (or even underwhelmed).
- Madd Tiki Tattoo, 1432 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 783-7652. M-Th 10AM-8PM, F 10AM-9PM, Sa 11AM-9PM. The satellite location of MaddTat2, Mark Madden's renowned tattoo parlor in the Elmwood Village, has been in operation in North Buffalo since 2010. Though the staff at the Elmwood location has been earning rave reviews for a long time for their skill and friendliness, it's at Madd Tiki where Mark Madden himself performs tattoos in his own custom-designed studio — customers who have been lucky enough to land an appointment with him unanimously laud the unmatched skill and dedication with which he performs his art, as well as the sincere and friendly rapport he builds with each client.
- Rise Above Classic Tattooing, 2289 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 874-1675. M-Sa noon-8PM. They may have recently moved a little ways down Delaware Avenue to a new location just south of Hertel, but very little else has changed at Rise Above: as always, the quartet of tattoo artists that staff this place — Josh Adams, Erich Foster, John Hogan, and Amelia Martin — still ply their trade in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere that's perfect for skittish newbies. The total lack of pretense among Rise Above's staff is an especially pleasant surprise because with the caliber of work they do, they could get away with being snooty: the artistic background these folks come from, and their familiarity with aesthetic concepts and techniques like color distribution and different methods of shading, really show through in the tattoos they do. The "classic" part of their name is no joke: at Rise Above, the accent is on clean, bold executions of traditional American designs, with portraits and monochrome work a particular specialty. They're also known to mix in Japanese elements as well. And don't let the laid-back vibe fool you: this is a professional environment where sanitary standards are scrupulously adhered to. Walk-ins are welcome, and prices are reasonable.
- Wasted Space, 1279 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 877-3122. Daily 1PM-9PM, F-Sa often later. The former head honcho of Allentown's Divine Machine Tattoo, Cory Cudney is one of Buffalo's most famous body artists, with his work featured in a diverse array of trade magazines and other publications including Mike DeVries' book Tattoo Prodigies — and with this brand-new studio on Hertel Avenue he hasn't missed a beat, working with fellow tattooists Shaun Moore and Ryan "Hufi" Lum to offer topmost-quality custom tattoos in an easygoing, clean and professional environment. At Wasted Space, the operative word is versatility: whether it be black-and-gray or full color pieces, traditional designs or challenging cutting-edge concepts, these consummate artists approach each work as a masterpiece in the making — and they rarely miss the mark. People fly in from all over the country to get their tattoos done here, and appointments should be booked well in advance, but it's worth the trouble.
Furniture and home decor
- Conley Interiors, 1425 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 838-1000. M-F 10AM-5PM or by appointment. Since 1925, Conley Interiors has been a trusted source for a diverse selection of high-end furnishings. Their 25,000 square feet (2,300m²) of showroom space extends across three floors and is chock full of stylish sofas, coffee tables, end tables, bedroom sets, chairs, lamps and light fixtures, mirrors, wall coverings, original works of art, and other decorative elements. Represented among its inventory are major brands such as Maitland-Smith, Somerset Bay, LaBarge, and Hickory Chair, as well as custom-made pieces from small workshops all over the world. Conley Interiors also proudly custom-designs interior spaces to their customers' specifications — in fact, it was named in 2002 by Architectural Digest magazine as one of Western New York's top interior-design firms. Conley's aesthetic is characterized not by a slavish devotion to one signature style or to the latest trends, but to a timeless ambience that harmonizes the best elements from a diversity of influences.
- Michael Donnelly Interiors, 1390 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 308-6520. Tu-Sa noon-5PM and by appointment. According to his business' website, Michael Donnelly has, with his partner Tony Rogers, been "creating beautiful environments for over 20 years" through his eponymous interior design firm and retail furniture showroom at the heart of the Hertel strip. A wide range of high-quality contemporary furnishings, shelving units, lamps and light fixtures, carpeting, and upholstery produced by a host of renowned major brands are available for sale in their expansive retail space. The pieces offered here are arranged impeccably so as to draw customers in and let them really experience the designers' aesthetic. As well, Michael Donnelly Interiors offers a host of interior design services for single rooms or the entire house, including arrangement, re-accessorizing, consultation, real estate staging, and interior makeovers of all kinds; customers praise Donnelly and Rogers again and again for the attentive and personalized service they give to each of their clients, working with them every step of the way to attain results that are distinctive and of the highest quality. A selection of kitchenwares, greeting cards, and various stylish upscale gifts round out the offerings at Michael Donnelly Interiors.
- Modern & Ancient, 337 Tacoma Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 903-1750. M-Sa noon-5PM, Su noon-4PM. Modern & Ancient is a brand-new resale furniture shop located in a quiet setting a short walk off the beaten path of Hertel Avenue. The name of the business splits the difference between the store's two divergent focuses — also sold here are a variety of antiques of ancient vintage, with a special focus on pieces from Sub-Saharan Africa — but Modern & Ancient's bread and butter is a variety of mid-century furniture and home decor that represents the owner's 20-year collection of vintage items. Chairs, end tables, office furniture, accent pieces, and artworks are on offer, as well as large items such as sectional sofas that come in occasionally and are available at blockbuster bargains if you come at the right time. Modern & Ancient also deals in salvaged industrial furniture for aficionados of that aesthetic. Discounts are available for students as well as current and retired military.
- room, 1400 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 939-2692. Tu-F 10AM-6PM, Th till 8PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM. Opened in 2005, room is a luxury furniture boutique situated in an airy, architecturally interesting showroom at the heart of Hertel. Described by one reviewer as "a fantasy world of what my living room could be like", in a pleasant ambience of scented soy candles and elegant chandeliers are placed a bevy of classic modern furniture, dinnerware, rugs, textiles, and other decorative elements and accessories. The brands room carries are not only stylish and cutting-edge, but are often locally manufactured and are united by a commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly production. Also on the same site is babyroom, an outlet for contemporary baby items such as cribs, bunks, strollers and other accessories that, in the words of its website, "epitomize 'baby cool'". These items are high-end and priced accordingly, so come prepared to splurge — if not, sales and promotions do occur on a regular basis. As well, room's staff gets points for being friendly and helpful without crossing the line into pushiness or annoying overhelpfulness.
- Upcycle Earth, 1661 Hertel Ave., Suite A (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 235-8750. Th-F 2PM-7PM. Sadly, Buffalo is a city grappling with a high rate of vacant houses; every year, dozens of buildings in blighted neighborhoods are razed every year. However, this charming small shop just off Hertel Avenue is turning lemons into lemonade. Sold at Upcycle Earth is a range of furniture, shelving units, mirrors, and frames made using wood and glass salvaged from demolished homes and handcrafted in their own workshop in Black Rock. "Rustic yet contemporary" is a good description of the style at Upcycle Earth; the extremely friendly owner is just as enthusiastic in showing customers the unique datestamps and insignias of long-gone carpentry shops still visible on the wood, as he is chatting about his shop's ethos of sustainability and the ways in which we all can reduce our carbon footprint. Even the business cards are produced with 100% recycled card stock.
- Wrafterbuilt & Emerson James, 1376 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23). Two stores under one roof, these purveyors of furniture and home decor moved to the heart of the Hertel Avenue strip after a short stint in Allentown:
- Emerson James, ☎ +1 716 946-5580. W-Sa noon-7PM, Su noon-4PM. Custom lighting is the name of the game here — you may have seen Andrew Emerson's work illuminating downtown hotspots Toutant and the Big Ditch Brewery — and the house style is a smart and somewhat whimsical take on industrial chic. Chandeliers and desk lamps are crafted in deceptively simple designs using reclaimed metal tubing, with an end result that's almost worthy of hanging in an art gallery, yet you can also find new-material lamps and sconces done up in a delicious retro style.
- Wrafterbuilt Furniture, ☎ +1 716 322-7669. M-Tu & Sa 11AM-5PM, W-F 11AM-6PM, Su 11AM-3PM. Sean Wrafter first came to the attention of Buffalonians in 2014, when he turned heads as the designer and builder of the beautiful wooden bar at the newly minted downtown fine dining destination, Toutant. Today, along with his wife Jackie, he's in business in the heart of the local design district offering to the buying public the same caliber of custom-built furniture: high-quality, one-of-a-kind, locally produced pieces designed by Wrafter himself and sold at surprisingly affordable prices. The Wrafterbuilt aesthetic is simple and elegant, inspired by but not enslaved to the sleek modernism of the middle of the last century, and in all cases upcycled from locally-sourced reclaimed wood and other materials, the better to preserve the old-school quality of workmanship while helping reduce the environmental strain caused by demand for new materials. The interior of Wrafter's shop strikes a balance between art-gallery minimalism and rustic hominess, with abundant polished wood (appropriately enough!), and smaller decorative baubles bring out a whimsical touch — check out Wrafterbuilt's line of custom-refurbished axes and hatchets!
- Headin' to Hertel, 1251 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 873-2573. M-Sa noon-9PM, Su 1PM-6PM. Though it plays perpetual second banana to Terrapin Station two blocks further down the drag, Headin' to Hertel is still an excellent source for tie-dyes, "hippie"-informed clothing, accessories, and jewelry, incense, and other such goods. However, what really distinguishes this place is the selection of glass art it offers — Headin' to Hertel lays a strong claim to being Buffalo's premier glass gallery. Custom orders for glassworks are filled by Jason and Aaron, a duo of glass artists whose works are available exclusively through Headin' to Hertel, and a bevy of other pipes and other works of glass art are available in-store. Glass-blowing lessons are even offered periodically. Customers praise Headin' to Hertel not only for the impeccable quality of the products sold there and their friendly and knowledgeable staff, but also for their commitment to the glass art community in Buffalo and the surrounding region — all of the items sold there are made in the USA, and the majority are produced locally.
- Terrapin Station, 1172 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 874-6677. M-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su noon-6PM. Since 1988, Buffalo's premier head shop has been encouraging locals of all stripes to (in the words of the radio spots that are all over the local airwaves) "stop in and say hi". A wide-ranging gamut of tobacco products, t-shirts and other clothing, tie-dyes, jewelry, incense and body oils, and new-age gifts such as crystals and tarot cards are available at Terrapin Station, all united by that distinctive aesthetic familiar to those who are still on that "long strange trip". Perhaps not surprisingly given the store's name, Terrapin Station is also Buffalo's foremost source for Grateful Dead-themed merchandise; concert tickets are also sold. Best of all, this eclectic selection is curated by a friendly, mellow staff that goes above and beyond to ensure that customers are well taken care of and have a pleasant shopping experience.
- Germa's African Hair Braiding, 1231 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 986-1675. M-Sa 7AM-9PM. As the name suggests, hair braiding and extensions are the main order of business at Germa's. However, a secondary attraction at this friendly brownstone storefront is a wide variety of African-themed clothing, jewelry, decorative items, gifts and knickknacks, as well as African movies on DVD. Bath and body products are a specialty here — including imported shea butter, body oils and incense — and likewise for authentic artisanal items such as masks, baskets, objets d'art, drums and musical instruments. Clothing for men, women and children in brightly-colored tribal prints is also on offer at Germa's. The hours of operation are particularly convenient as well — this place is open six days a week, and relatively late.
- Maria's Italian Gifts, 1415 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 837-1707. Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5PM. Operated for over 25 years by owner Maria Pileri, Maria's Italian Gifts is a one-stop shop on Hertel that deals in high-quality goods imported from Italy, including fine Capodimonte-style porcelain, crystalware, objets d'art including carved decorative items in Argento 925 silver and imported wood, greeting cards, figurines and baubles, and other gifts. The specialty here, however, is bomboniere (wedding keepsakes) — visitors to Buffalo who are looking for the perfect wedding gift, invitations, or the like, or unique gifts for other occasions such as baptisms, bridal or baby showers, or anniversaries, can scarcely do better than Maria's.
- New Buffalo Graphics, 1417 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 885-5188. Tu-Sa noon-6PM and by appointment. New Buffalo Graphics offers a range of items — t-shirts, prints, cards, mugs, and miscellaneous gifts — united by their local focus. If you want to commemorate your visit to Western New York with high-quality merchandise emblazoned with icons of buffaloes, photos of beloved Buffalo landmarks like the Peace Bridge and the gone-but-not-forgotten H-O Oats grain elevator, and catchy slogans all the locals can recite by heart (in fact, one of Buffalo's most enduring nicknames, the "City of No Illusions", originated as a slogan on a New Buffalo Graphics t-shirt), this is the place for you. All the designs are the work of the friendly owner of this longstanding Buffalo institution, Michael Morgulis, whose knowledge of the ins and outs of Buffalo is matched by the enthusiasm of his love for his hometown.
- Daisy's Doghouse, 1448 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 998-1257. Tu-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Named by owner Lisa Samar after her beloved dog, pet supplies for the dog lover is the name of the game at the Hertel Avenue storefront previously home to Floral Explorations. Daisy's Doghouse is an independently-owned specialty boutique carries a full line of natural, holistic, and often locally-sourced products that are priced competitively with mass-market big-brand items: everything from leashes to shampoos to bowls to organic, filler-free dog foods and treats from brands such as Fromm and Wild Callings. All this is available to browse in a brightly-painted, well-lit retail floor that also serves as space for the puppy training classes the store puts on. You can even choose from a range of animal-themed greeting cards.
- Elmwood Yarn Shop, 1639 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 834-7580. M, Th & F 10AM-5PM, Tu 10AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-3PM. Located in the historic Sample Shop building, the Elmwood Yarn Shop serves the needs of Buffalo's hand-knitting and sewing enthusiasts with a wide range of patterns, buttons, sewing kits, books, and other needs. True to its name, though, the pride of this friendly shop's inventory is a dizzying range of yarns, with hand-painted, tweed and novelty selections a specialty, and exotic fibers such as alpaca, camel, and angora available. The yarns here tend toward the high-end and are priced accordingly, though bargain hunters will be pleased with the selection in the sale bins. All this curated by a staff that earns rave reviews for the helpful and informative service they provide to, and the friendly rapport they have with, their loyal customers.
- Korona Jewelry, 1588 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 834-4755. Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-4PM. Describing themselves as "A Gem on Hertel", Korona Jewelry has been a North Buffalo institution since 1900, making it the longest-running family-owned jeweler in Buffalo. Owner Joseph Korona, a consummate professional who is a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America, and his wife Noreen run the store in a way that combines the best of the old school — warm and friendly care given to each customer and old-fashioned pride taken in quality workmanship — with the latest in modern techniques and technology. Korona's stock in trade is new and vintage rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, watches, and other jewelry in gold and sterling silver, with a full range of diamonds and other precious stones. Bridal jewelry is a particular specialty, and staff is happy to work with customers to design custom pieces to their personal specifications. In addition, Korona Jewelry performs high-quality repairs, re-stringing and stone resetting, and replacement of watch batteries, accepts trade-ins, and buys gold.
- Love Light & Magick, 1205 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 262-0724. M-Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-5PM. Now in a new location near the west end of the Hertel strip, Kurtlyn Cunningham's "metaphysical and eclectic shoppe" is a source for an array of unusual goods that are otherwise impossible to find in the local area. A self-described "eclectic witch" interested in spirituality from a young age, Cunningham opened Love Light & Magick on New Year's Day 2015 and immediately made a splash, offering ritual items and supplies for a Buffalo pagan community that is larger than most locals realize. Practitioners of a diverse array of spiritual traditions, from Santería to Wicca to Voodoo to Buddhism to American Indian spirituality and everything in between, are served with a smile. The inventory comprises candles, offering bowls, essential oils, incense resins, tarot cards and boxes, crystal balls, runestones, and altar clothes, all united by a focus on positivity and searching for harmony with the earth — and goods are locally sourced whenever possible. More than that, though, Love Light & Magick is also a place to go for psychic readings, meditation classes, reiki sessions (on Friday and Saturday nights), seminars on spiritual topics, and even art shows. Staff is friendly and helpful, and unlike many small businesses in the local area, Love Light & Magick's long hours are convenient for those who work during the day.
- North Park Florist, 1514 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 838-1123. M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-2PM. Owned by Ken and Julie Hallgren, North Park Florist is renowned not only for their bouquets and cut flowers (elegant, high-quality roses are a specialty), but also for an interesting range of products in the same vein such as tropical plants and blooms and European-style dish gardens. Rounding out the offerings here are cheery gifts and trinkets such as balloons, stuffed animals, fruit baskets, candles and other gifts. Best of all, the efficient, friendly service at North Park Florist really goes the extra mile, ensuring that all their customers leave happy, whether they've come for individual needs or for special events such as weddings, anniversaries or funerals. These folks have been in business for over 50 years, and they really know what they're doing.
- Shickluna Bikes & Darts, 1835 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 837-6122. M & W 10AM-7PM; Tu, Th & F 10AM-6PM; Sa 10AM-5PM. A testament to the high-quality goods available here is the fact that Shickluna Bikes & Darts has been in business since 1899 — opening only a year after Rick's Cycle Shop in Allentown, the second-oldest independent shop of this kind in the U.S. Some of the best bikes in existence today — especially Giant brand bikes, of which Shickluna is a licensed dealer — are displayed for sale in the ample showroom, with models available for everyone from families and everyday cyclists, to enthusiasts of mountain and off-road biking, to professional racers. All bikes are assembled onsite by a professional bike mechanic and come with a year of free adjustments and flat-tire repair. Shickluna also doubles as Buffalo's premier dart shop, with soft- and steel-tip darts and boards by such brands as Dart World and Harrows. Customer service at Shickluna can be indifferent, but the products sold here are of the highest quality and the prices can't be beat.
- Six Nations Herbal Remedies, 1234 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 342-5120. The centuries-old tradition of Iroquois herbal medicine is the name of the game at this new Hertel Avenue shop owned by Mark Okwahotekakahrake Jamieson ("Eyes of the Wolf"), a full-blooded Mohawk who is learned in the old traditions and keen on passing them down to the next generation of Natives as well as Buffalonians in general. At Six Nations Herbal Remedies, there's seemingly a plant, root, flower, or tea for every malady — and if you can't find one for what ails you, just ask Mark and he'll put in an order. The store's decor is minimalist and all business, with monochrome walls lined with row after row of jarred herbs as well as jewelry, artwork, musical instruments, dreamcatchers, and other crafts handmade by local Amerindian artisans — all watched over by a large stuffed bear, the keeper of herbal medicine according to Iroquois tradition. Six Nations also plays host to educational workshops regarding Iroquois culture and spirituality, with an emphasis, naturally, on traditional medicine (and free tea usually available!)
- Virgil Avenue Tobacconist, 6 Virgil Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 873-6461. M-F 11AM-10PM, Sa 10AM-10PM, Su noon-8PM. The Virgil Avenue Tobacconist's slogan proudly declares it to be "where the city smokes", and if local renown is a measure of quality, that's hardly an exaggeration. This one-stop shop just off Hertel offers everything the Buffalo smoking enthusiast could conceivably desire: imported cigarettes, pipes and pipe tobacco, rolling papers, loose cigarette tobacco, and — the main draw — a dizzying range of premium cigars shipped directly from factory to store. Ashton, Hemmingway, Arturo Fuentes, and Cohiba are only a few of the many brands to be found in Virgil Avenue's massive walk-in humidor. Also part of the package is the Rocky Patel Lounge, a cigar lounge with a large-screen HDTV, beverages including a complimentary coffee bar, and club-style seating for up to 20 people.
Delaware and Elmwood Avenues
The portion of the Delaware and Elmwood Avenue corridors north of Park Meadow is characterized by a proliferation of suburban-style shopping centers and other "big box" retail, with many national chain stores and restaurants present.
- Delaware Consumer Square is a large shopping center located on the west side of Delaware Avenue south of Hinman Avenue, anchored by Target. Other chains located in this plaza include Bath & Body Works, C. W. Price, OfficeMax, and Payless ShoeSource.
- Delaware Place is a smaller plaza located directly across Delaware Avenue from Delaware Consumer Square. Metro Mattress is the main anchor store at this plaza.
- The Regal Elmwood Center is located on the east side of Elmwood Avenue about midway between Hertel and Hinman Avenues. It's anchored by the Regal Elmwood Center 16 movie theater, as well as an AutoZone outlet.
- The Tops Plaza is the largest shopping center in North Buffalo, located on the east side of Elmwood Avenue directly north of the Regal Elmwood Center, abutting Delaware Consumer Square at its rear. Anchored by the namesake Tops supermarket, other stores here include Citi Trends, Famous Footwear, Fashion Bug, Party City, and Petsmart.
Liquor, beer and wine
- Queen City Wine & Liquor, 2101 Elmwood Ave., Suite 525 (At Tops Plaza; Metro Bus 5 or 20), ☎ +1 716 903-8279. M-TH 9AM-10PM, F-Sa 9AM-11PM, Su noon-6PM. The much-ballyhooed Queen City Wine & Liquor may have only opened in August 2014, but it has already earned rave reviews for the great variety of wine and spirits that fill the shelves of its ample, warehouse-like interior — ranging from the basics to delightful oddballs like handmade, gluten-free craft vodka — at prices that are among the best in town. As well, the staff here keeps their ear to the ground and eagerly accepts suggestions from their growing customer base for new vintages and liquors to stock. Aside from that, you'll be struck by how unintimidating Queen City Wine & Liquor is: unlike some other liquor stores, this place is clean, airy and well-lit, and the staff is as friendly and helpful as can be.
- Scime's Sausage, 2484 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 877-5010. W-F 9AM-6:30PM, Sa 9AM-5:30PM. Scime's Sausage is an old-style meat market that's been sating hungry Buffalonians practically forever. Though a full range of meats is on offer at their butcher's counter, the specialty here is the homemade Italian sausage that owner Salvatore "Sam" Scime crafts daily from high-quality, specially-purchased pork shoulders, to which is added a blend of herbs, spices and flavorings including black pepper, fennel seed, fresh parsley and Romano cheese. As well, a range of Italian groceries is offered at Scime's that includes imported cheeses, olives, produce, pasta, and fresh, locally-baked Luigi's bread.
- Buffalo LUV, 557 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 3 or 23), ☎ +1 716 818-6257. M-Th 11AM-8PM, F 11AM-9PM, Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-6PM. Buffalo LUV relocated in 2015 from its original digs in Allentown to an off-the-beaten-path location on the west end of Hertel Avenue, but other than that the story remains the same. The marquee item here is glass pipes and other "functional art glass" blown before your eyes by master artisan Matthew Lazzaro, but that's really only the beginning of the story: there's glass sculptures, custom-made Christmas ornaments, and a variety of other glassware produced in-house by "Lazz" or elsewhere in the local area by other Buffalo-based artists, as well as antiques aplenty. These are some high-quality pieces crowding the shelves on the sales floor; the offerings trend heavily toward early- and mid-20th-century handpainted furniture and quirky decorative tchotchkes. A variety of locally-made artisan jewelry by WNY Body Expressions rounds out the multifaceted offerings.
- Delaware Camera, 2635 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 25), ☎ +1 716 877-3317. M-F 9AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. A family-owned and operated Delaware Avenue mainstay since 1951, Delaware Camera is the dream come true of photo buffs from beginners to experts: this full-service camera store boasts a complete range of supplies for film, slide, and digital photographers, sold by a caring and knowledgeable staff who treat customers like family. The state of technology being what it is, Delaware Camera's specialty is digital photography, with top-of-the-line cameras and camcorders representing many major brands (a notable exception is Canon), as well as lenses, UV filters, flash mechanisms, tripods, camera cases, memory cards, and more. For old-schoolers, Delaware Camera also stocks a full range of film, slides and photo paper, and contains an on-site photo lab for developing prints. As well, the seasoned staff of Delaware Camera are experts at restoring your old photos to their former glory, either as prints or digitally. A 10% discount on paper, film, and photo chemicals is offered to college students.
The outer end of University Heights is dominated by the University Plaza. Situated on the north side of Main Street between Kenmore and Springville Avenues, directly across from UB's South Campus, the University Plaza was the first suburban-style shopping center to be constructed in Erie County, with ground broken in 1939. The University Plaza contains a number of national chain stores and restaurants such as C. W. Price, Dots, Jimmy John's, and Radio Shack, as well as the Dipson Amherst Theatre, M&T Bank, and Tops supermarket.
It should be noted that the entire north side of Main Street east of Kenmore Avenue, including the University Plaza, is technically part of the Town of Amherst.
Clothing and accessories
- Couture Boutique, 3142 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 605-8822. M-Th & Sa 10AM-5PM. At this new University Heights fashion boutique on Main Street next to Pamela Inc., the name of the game is elegant, high-fashion formalwear including dresses, gowns, accessories and jewelry. Couture Boutique doesn't just sell clothes, though — they also do alterations, with quick service to boot. Needless to say, this is a popular place around prom season.
- Greeks & Sneaks, 3230 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 833-4913. M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa noon-5PM. Greeks & Sneaks is not only a place for UB students to purchase or rent textbooks (at prices much more reasonable than the on-campus bookstore and sometimes even cheaper than Amazon), but it also doubles as a one-stop shop for all manner of college-themed clothing and gear. Dedicated UB football and basketball fans can find a full range of t-shirts, sweats, hoodies, and other items emblazoned with the Bulls logo. Greeks & Sneaks also offers fraternity and sorority swag, as well as silkscreen prints, embroidery, and a wide range of sneakers.
- O'Connell's, 3240 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 836-4140. M & Th 9:30AM-8PM, Tu-W & F-Sa 9:30AM-5:30PM. O'Connell's is a family-owned and operated clothier whose ambience is redolent of an earlier time in retail, featuring merchandise crafted with pride and skill and sold to the public by helpful salespeople dedicated to building friendly and lasting personal relationships with their customers. High-end men's formalwear is a specialty at O'Connell's; the suits, sportcoats, dress shirts, shoes, slacks, ties and accessories offered here are of a style that is a unique combination of staid conservatism and quirky individuality (witness, for example, cufflinks shaped like race cars and champagne bottles). Free alterations are provided with purchase, and O'Connell's also offers a range of women's wear and items for young men. Prices tend toward the higher-end, but you get what you pay for.
- Pamela Inc., 3142 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 725-6215. M-Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-6PM. The vivacious Pam Alexander's eponymous women's clothing boutique may be small, but — as hinted at by the impeccable effort put into the fabulous window displays looking out onto Main Street — the selection here is vast, diverse, and constantly changing. The clothing at Pamela Inc. is characterized by fun, sassy fashions with bright colors and a chic urban style, but it's the selection of accessories that really distinguishes this place: handbags, belts, jewelry, scarves and sunglasses — and above all, what may be the city's best selection of women's hats — all take a prominent place among the merchandise at Pamela Inc. All major credit cards are accepted, as well as PayPal for online orders.
University Heights is heaven for comic book fans.
- Iron Crown, 3077 Main St. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 831-0957. W-Sa 11AM-6PM. Iron Crown may play perpetual second banana to its neighbor further up Main Street, Queen City Bookstore, but this smaller, more out-of-the-way comic store makes up for that with its reasonable prices, customer service that is arguably even more friendly and personable than Queen City's, and — above all — a full range of supplies for players of Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh, and other card games. Iron Crown also sells a variety of toys and collectibles.
- Queen City Bookstore, 3184 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 833-6220. M noon-7PM, Tu-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Calling themselves the "King of Comics", Queen City Bookstore is beyond a shadow of a doubt Buffalo's best-known and best-loved comic book store. Customers love the wide selection of comics available at Queen City, including traditional superhero titles, gritty graphic novels, quirky independent comics, kids' comics, and a dizzying array of back issues for completist collectors. This vast library, along with a diverse inventory of figurines, toys, collectibles, and comic collectors' supplies such as plastic sleeves and boards, is curated by a friendly staff headed by the legendary Emil Novak, who is well-known not only for providing knowledgeable, supremely helpful, and personal service to longtime regulars and newbies alike, but also for his involvement in local low-budget horror cinema and arranging comic conventions and other events around Buffalo. All titles are 20% off on Sundays and come with a free bag and board.
- Talking Leaves Books, 3158 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 837-8554. M-Sa 10AM-6PM, W-Th till 8PM. In business since 1971, Talking Leaves Books is Buffalo's oldest independent bookstore. 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. 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.
- Parkside Candy, 3208 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 833-7540. M-Th 11AM-6PM, F-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su noon-8PM. A Buffalo institution since 1927, the Parkside Candy Company is the oldest and one of the largest locally-owned manufacturers and purveyors of fine candies in the area, distributing its products nationwide (including sponge candy, the local specialty that serves as their signature product). Though Parkside Candy operates five retail stores all over Erie County, the original location in the former Henkel Building in University Heights is the one that's nearest and dearest to Buffalonians' hearts. Walking into Parkside Candy is like stepping into another time, with a full range of chocolate truffles and cordials, peppermint patties, fudge, old-fashioned lollipops, and specialty items such as chocolate-covered popcorn and pretzels merchandized amid an Art Deco interior with Adamesque flourishes (designed as a conscious imitation of French confectionery stores) and the classic black-and-white checked tile floor. Best of all, Parkside Candy's Main Street location doubles as an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and soda fountain perfect for warm summer days. Gift baskets are available, as well as online orders.
- Record Theatre, 3500 Main St., Amherst (At University Plaza; Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 837-2090. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-6PM. Record Theatre is one of the only locally-owned record stores remaining in Buffalo today, which some might say is reason enough in itself to stop in. Record Theatre boasts nearly 20,000 square feet of new and previously-owned CDs, DVDs, and vinyl records, with a still-impressive selection especially in terms of hip-hop, R&B, and other urban music genres. Record Theatre will also purchase your used CDs or specially order from their distributors any title that is not in stock. 20% off all merchandise on Saturdays before noon.
Liquor, beer and wine
- Winspear Liquors, 3087 Main St. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 832-1234. M-Sa 10AM-midnight, Su noon-9PM. Don't be fooled by the name: Winspear Liquors is actually located at the corner of Lisbon Avenue, not Winspear! That aside, this new store opened in December 2012 and has quickly become the place to go in University Heights for a wide variety of wines and spirits, comprising local, national and international vintages including chilled and sparking varieties. Prices can be a bit high at Winspear Liquors, but the variety is surprising. New York Lottery, Mega Millions, and Powerball tickets are sold as well.
Tattoos and piercing
- Renaissance Tattoo, 3223 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 831-0588. Tu-Sa noon-8PM. Renaissance Tattoo is a great little tattoo and piercing shop that has been open in the heart of University Heights for over fifteen years. Far from the stereotypical "flash art" designs that are the stock in trade of lesser studios, the staff at Renaissance boast artistic skill, knowledge of the technique of tattooing as an art form, and extensive professional experience such that customers are openly encouraged to bring their own personalized artwork or concepts into the studio to be translated into the highest-quality body art. A particular specialty at Renaissance are large designs with bold colors beholden to a diverse variety of influences, though artists Derek "Dr. D" Henderson, Jason Masarik, and owner Thomas Latona are uncommonly skilled at every subgenre of tattoo art. Customers are unanimous in their praise of the professionalism and caring and knowledgeable service of the tattooists at Renaissance, as well as Kat, the spunky piercing artist who handles the other half of Renaissance's business.
- American Beauties Florist, 300 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 34; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 836-1000. M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa-Su 9AM-1PM. American Beauties Florist has been a favorite of Buffalonians for over 20 years because of skillful and friendly service delivered with a personal touch. Located on a fairly tranquil section of Kenmore Avenue an easy 10-minute walk from the University Heights business strip, American Beauties does double duty. In addition to the selection of flowers offered here — beautiful plants selected carefully and arranged artfully by a talented staff into bouquets in a variety of styles from rustic to contemporary — a full range of garden products are available at the adjacent Snyder Ridge Landscaping and Garden Center, featuring a range of supplies such as topsoil, mulch, ornamental trees and bushes, and even flagstones and other landscaping items. In addition to the flowers, a range of other charming gifts and trinkets are available at American Beauties, such as scented candles, greeting cards, decorative baskets, and the like.
- Mermaid & Weasel, 3126 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 465-2222. Tu-Th 1PM-7PM, F-Sa noon-6PM. Opened in May 2015, Mermaid & Weasel is a quirky boutique whose diverse gamut of merchandise revels in nerd culture: this is a place where you can pick up unique gifts from crocheted Cthulhus to Dr. Who-themed socks, as well as lots of locally-themed tchotchkes that are unmistakably Buffalo, yet wholly unlike anything you'd find at Spoiled Rotten or Everything Elmwood. "Caturday" sees 10% off everything in store whether feline-related or not, and special events of interest to gamers and science buffs are also frequently held. The owners are super friendly, too.
- Militello's Luggage, 3400 Main St. (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 833-1600. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, W till 6PM. Since 1946, Militello's has provided travel-happy Buffalonians with a wide variety of high-quality luggage and travel accessories, as well as attaché cases, wallets and key cases, and other fine leather goods sold with a heaping side order of old-fashioned friendly customer service. Buffalo's only dedicated luggage store, Militello's selection fits all budgets and encompasses wheeled suitcases, duffle bags, tote bags and garment covers from renowned brands such as Briggs & Kelly, Travelpro, Eagle Creek and Hartmann. Militello's is also proud to offer comprehensive, experienced repair service for all types of luggage and leatherware. Customer parking is available at the rear of the building.
- Music City, 3236 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 838-4547. M-Th 11AM-7PM, F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5PM. Music City is the place to go in University Heights to purchase or rent a wide variety of guitars, bass guitars, drum kits, brass band instruments, and other instruments, as well as amps, PA systems, effects pedals, and sheet music. The collection is curated by Vincent James Mastrantonio, a locally famous musician who heads up a staff that's famous for their friendly rapport with customers, their encyclopedic knowledge of Music City's products, and the great skill with which services such as tuning, repairs, pickup installations, and even private music lessons are performed. High-quality equipment from leading brands like Rickenbacker, Gretsch, Zildjian, and Marshall is not only sold at great prices, but also optimized for each customer by the same talented staff, with customized inspections and adjustments routinely performed before each sale to ensure that all instruments have the best sound possible. The renown in which Buffalo's community of musicians holds Music City is reflected in its recognition in Buffalo Spree magazine's annual "Best of Western New York" poll in both 2007 and 2008. Music City's staff is also happy to provide fair-market appraisals on a wide variety of instruments.
- New Age Creations, 3152 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 833-0200. M-F noon-7PM, Sa-Su noon-5PM. It might be a bit misleading to describe New Age Creations as a "head shop", exactly — the ambience here is a good deal more "mainstream" than a place like Terrapin Station, with an emphasis on quirky gifts rather than tobacco, glass pipes, and the like. Still, New Age Creations is a great place for modern-day flower children to find '60s-themed tchotchkes such as incense, lava lamps, and the like. A variety of tie-dyes and other apparel is also on offer.
- Speaker Shop, 3604 Main St., Amherst (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 837-1557. M-F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. "All Roads Lead to Speaker Shop", so the slogan goes; the handsome store on Main Street just past the University Plaza that is one of Western New York's foremost destinations for high-end home stereo and theater systems, digital audio systems, headphones, speakers, and all manner of audio, video and media equipment. Customers praise the knowledgeable and pressure-free (if not always friendly) service provided by Speaker Shop's non-commissioned sales staff, who are on hand to direct customers among their slate of state-of-the-art, audiophile-grade products to the choice that's right for them. All the finest brands are represented here. As well, Speaker Shop offers comprehensive custom installation and repair services. Prices tend to be high, but you definitely get what you pay for.
Kenmore Avenue area
Though it's one of North Buffalo's main thoroughfares, Kenmore Avenue is quiet and largely residential. However, peppered among the brick apartment blocks and houses are a smattering of unpretentious neighborhood businesses — particularly in the vicinity of Colvin Boulevard.
- Nickel City Shirt Co., 1106 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 11), ☎ +1 716 207-3803. M-F 9AM-5PM. Located for many years on Kenmore Avenue near the corner of Colvin, the Nickel City Shirt Company offers customized embroidered and screen-printed T-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts, as well as hats, mouse pads, and other goods emblazoned with the design of your choice. "Quality Work at the Lowest Prices in Town" is the vow of founder Keith Marzec, and that's no lie — this place is highly regarded among Buffalonians.
- Gino's Italian Bakery, 1104 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 11), ☎ +1 716 874-2315. Tu-F 8AM-5PM, Sa 8AM-3PM, Su 8AM-2PM. Thankfully, though it moved in 2011 from its longtime location on the corner of Hertel and Saranac, nothing has changed about the homemade sweets and other baked goods with which Gino's Italian Bakery has enchanted Buffalonians for so long. A huge variety of authentic Italian pastries (try the pasticiotti, a perennial favorite among Gino's customers), delectable Italian cookies such as cuccidiati, giugiuleni, and Italian wedding cakes, and pastry platters and full-sized cakes for special occasions are all available here. Fresh, tasty loaves of Italian and French bread baked in-house, as well as what may be the best authentic tomato pie in the city, round out the selections at Gino's. The authenticity of the Italian bakery experience is matched by the prices, which really can't be beat.
Furniture and home decor
- White's Baby and Teen Furniture, 1330 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 25), ☎ +1 716 875-3333. M, Th & F 10AM-8PM; Tu, W & Sa 10AM-5PM. Western New York's oldest and largest store specializing in children's furniture, White's Baby & Teen Furniture was founded in 1939. It's that longevity in business that has enabled the staff here to not only select a wide range of high-quality products for all budgets, but to answer pretty much any question a customer may have about their products, make recommendations, special-order items that may not be in stock, and generally provide service that is among the most exceptional around. White's vast expanse of showroom space spans three floors and is jam-packed with items that cover the whole gamut — baby furniture and cribs, car seats, strollers, playpens, children's beds, dressers and armoires, lamps, and the list goes on. This wide selection is versatile enough to accommodate those on a budget as well as shoppers in search of higher-end items, including quality pieces from such brands as Graco, Stanley, DaVinci, and NaturePedic. White's also carries a modest range of children's clothing and accessories (including satin Christening gowns), bedding, and gifts.
- Nick's Sporting Goods, 1212 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 11), ☎ +1 716 875-9218. M 11AM-6PM, Tu-Th 11AM-8PM, F-Sa 11AM-5PM. What's available at Nick's is not the usual array of baseball bats and mitts, tennis rackets, and other such things. Though it dubs itself a "sporting goods store", this small, jam-packed North Buffalo storefront might be better described as a surprisingly comprehensive outdoor goods shop, with a full range of gear for hunters, fishermen (including live bait!), and sport shooters. That's all a prelude to the real raison d'être of Nick's, however, as Buffalo's premiere archery store. Not only does this place sell the best state-of-the-art archery gear, but customers can also come to Nick's for free adjustments to their bow, reasonably-priced repairs, and a comprehensive slate of archery lessons and New York State bowhunting education courses — a complete range of supplies and services for the Buffalo archer delivered by a staff that is friendly and knowledgeable. As well, Nick's provides free time on the indoor archery range located in their basement with the purchase of any bow.
The commercial corridors of Delaware and Elmwood Avenues cut parallel north-to-south swaths through the otherwise tranquil, upscale residential area of Park Meadow.
Retail in Park Meadow is dominated by Marshall's Plaza, which is located on the west side of Delaware Avenue between Great Arrow Avenue and the Belt Line tracks, just behind the Pierce-Arrow Factory Complex. Aside from its namesake, Marshall's, the shopping center is anchored by locations of Dollar Tree, Dots, and The Shoe Dept.
Liquor, beer and wine
- Black Squirrel Distillery, 1595 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 249-1122. Open for special events (see website) or by appointment. Opened in February 2015 as the first of a glut of new craft distilleries set to open in Buffalo in the ensuing months, Black Squirrel Distillery is the brainchild of Jason Schwinger, otherwise known as the founder of BFLO Harbor Kayak and part-owner of Silo City Rocks! on Ganson Street. Black Squirrel is one of a very few producers of rum in New York State, and the only one in the country that uses maple syrup as the main ingredient rather than cane sugar — a peculiarity that was borne of the requirement that New York-based craft distillers source 75% of their ingredients from within the state, though no sugarcane is grown that far north. The end result grafts a subtle yet distinctive maple finish onto the flavor of what is otherwise a rather traditional amber rum. All the rums produced by Black Squirrel are handcrafted in small batches with meticulous attention to detail; distilled in a traditional copper-columned pot still then aged in oak barrels, the old-fashioned way. In the same vein, Black Squirrel also produces an unaged, 90-proof distilled spirit they call "mapleshine" — essentially what backwoods distillers would call "sugar shine", except with maple syrup in place of sugar. The small retail shop/tasting room is set up in the style of a speakeasy, an homage to Schwinger's great-grandparents who ran one on this very corner during Prohibition.
- Great Arrow Wine and Liquor, 2132 Delaware Ave. (At Marshall's Plaza; Metro Bus 11, 25 or 32), ☎ +1 716 875-2585. M-W 10AM-9PM, Th-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su noon-6PM. Since 1995, owner Wayne Riggs has operated this conveniently located Delaware Avenue liquor store that has scored points with Buffalonians for in terms of customer service — the staff at Great Arrow Wine and Liquor is not only warm and friendly, but supremely helpful and knowledgeable, able to answer any question their customers may have or suggest the perfect product for their needs. Manager Randy Kozlowski, in particular, is the man to see for anyone who has questions about food pairings. The selection here is a dizzying range of both domestic and imported wines, as well as an equally wide variety of vodka, rum, whiskey, gin, tequila, brandy, and cremes and liqueurs (the selection of the latter, in particular, is perhaps the best in Buffalo), at prices that are reasonable though not dirt-cheap. Wine tastings occur at Great Arrow every Friday, and Thursdays feature a "create your own wine 6-pack" option, where customers can make a selection of six of any of the wines in stock for a 15% discount.
- Carriage Trade Pastries, 1654 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 881-2326. Tu-F 8AM-5PM, Su 9AM-5PM. Carriage Trade Pastries is a charming little bakery founded in 1998 by Shandra and Andy Beutner and situated on Elmwood Avenue in the shadow of the old Pierce-Arrow factory. The staff here is not only uncommonly skilled in designing and baking some of the best cakes and pastries in Buffalo, but utterly friendly and accommodating to their customers' individual needs. In addition to supplying desserts to some of the finest restaurants in the Buffalo area, Carriage Trade's retail store is a great place to pick up delicious pastry items made from scratch, such as cookies, brownies, cinnamon rolls, muffins, sticky buns, scones, and more, all at prices that are surprisingly affordable given their quality. Pies, cakes and other specialty items are available too, but as this is a small operation that custom-designs all their cakes, these must be ordered at least a day in advance. A lunch counter is also present where a few light items such as soups, meatless chili, and quiche are on offer.
- Gatti Jewelers, 1598 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 875-1003. M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 11AM-3PM. This small, friendly neighborhood jewelry store has been on the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Amherst Street since 2003. Gatti Jewelers' selection of bracelets, necklaces, earrings, watches, and other pieces is curated by an owner whose knowledge of gold and silver jewelry is encyclopedic. As well, Gatti does an impressive side business dealing in used musical instruments as well as accessories such as amplifiers. Estate sales are also handled.
Parkside, Central Park, and the Vernon Triangle
Though these neighborhoods are primarily residential, their eastern boundary — Main Street — is a commercial strip of increasing vibrancy. The business district is mostly concentrated around the corner of Amherst Street and the few blocks to the south, in the Vernon Triangle. Property values along the Metro Rail corridor began rising rapidly when plans for the downtown Medical Corridor were revealed to entail a paucity of parking and an emphasis on alternative methods of transportation, so look for the current array of nail salons and prepaid cell phone outlets to be replaced by more upscale businesses over the next few years.
There's another cluster of shops and restaurants at the corner of Parkside Avenue and Russell Street, across from the entrance to the Buffalo Zoo.
- Zawadi Bookstore, 2460 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ +1 716 903-6740. W, F & Sa, 11AM-4PM. The Zawadi Bookstore is a continuation of nearly four decades of tradition that began in 1976 with the opening of Harambee Books and Crafts on Fillmore Avenue in Humboldt Park, where longtime owners Kenneth and Sharon Holley could be found not only selling their wares but also engaging the local African-American community with cultural events such as book and poetry readings, Kwanzaa celebrations, and the annual Marcus Garvey Parade. After a brief period in limbo after their former building was sold, the Holleys came roaring back in early 2012 in a small rented space inside Fraternally Yours Gift & Card Shop, where they continue to sell all manner of Afrocentric books and gift items, and hold events in the Jordan Holley Reading Room and Storytelling Resource Center.
Liquor, beer and wine
- International Wine & Spirits, 2580 Main St. (Metro Bus 8, 23 or 32; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ +1 716 837-5607. M-Sa noon-midnight, Su noon-9PM. Located on up-and-coming Main Street in the Vernon Triangle in a spacious, newly-remodeled storefront that was once home to the fabled Stuffed Mushroom restaurant, International Wine & Spirits stocks a selection of award-winning wines from the local region and around the world, as well as premium branded liquors such as whiskey, brandy, cognac, tequila and rum. Local connoisseurs love the quality of products available here for very reasonable prices — this place is well-known for taking full advantage of manufacturers' rebates from their distributors — but what's most notable about International Wine & Spirits is the breadth and diversity of their inventory. Service with a smile is the rule here, and International Wine & Spirits also hosts occasional wine tastings and other events.
- Fraternally Yours Gift & Card Shop, 2460 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ +1 716 837-6360. Since 1994, owners George and Louise McCoullum have operated this pleasant if well-worn shop on Main Street in Parkside, which sells a range of greeting cards, gifts, fraternity swag, and stationery, much of it with an African-American focus.
- Illos Piano Restorations & Music Center, 2940 Main St. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 832-0013. M-Th 10AM-6PM, F 10AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-3PM. It's doubtful that a traveler would come to Buffalo specifically to avail themselves of the thing that is this company's primary raison d'être — tuning, rebuilding, and restoring pianos — but dedicated musicians might be interested in knowing that Illos also sells a wide variety of new and high-quality used pianos from such brands as Yamaha, Steinway, Firth & Hall, and Goulding, as well as harpsichords and player pianos, and can arrange to have them transported from their shop on Main Street in Central Park to anywhere in the United States. If not, Illos also sells a full line of beautiful, 36-inch hardwood piano benches in a variety of finishes, accessories such as piano covers and wheel and tripod casters, and — best of all — a huge selection of sheet music. Illos has been in business since 1961, and their reputation is such that they have sold or restored pianos for clients as prestigious as the Chautauqua Institution and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, as well as dozens and dozens of Western New York high schools and colleges.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
As might be expected in Little Italy, Italian restaurants predominate on Hertel Avenue (though the offerings have diversified considerably of late). Aficionados of fine dining won't have trouble finding a place here, but as a general rule, the cuisine tends toward the homestyle, humble, pasta-with-red-sauce variety. In addition, Hertel Avenue has many pizzerias that do mostly take-out or delivery business; these are listed below. Finally, the west end of the strip, near Delaware Avenue, boasts a handful of Middle Eastern groceries-cum-restaurants where shawarma, falafel, and other such dishes are served.
- Bertha's Diner, 1430 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 836-3100. M-Th & Sa 7AM-3PM, F 7AM-8PM, Su 8AM-3PM. Bertha's, which according to its slogan is "the diner that takes you back a few years", is a '50s-style affair that's located right next door to the North Park Theater. Open daily for breakfast and lunch and till 8PM on Fridays, Bertha's serves standard diner fare at unbeatable prices. The lunch menu is dominated by standard fare — burgers (monikers of selections such as the "James Dean", the "Davey Crockett", and the "Buddy Holly" continue in the '50s theme), club sandwiches, and similar items, as well as salads, wraps, and simple entrees. Full breakfasts comprise delicious omelettes, egg sandwiches, buttermilk pancakes and "Buffalo's best Belgian waffle", and weekly specials are offered. Cash only. $10-20.
- Bob & John's La Hacienda, 1545 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 836-5411. Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight. A newly remodeled dining area boasting several high-definition flat-screen TVs which are inevitably tuned to the big game (this place is understandably popular during Bills and Sabres seasons) is the setting where patrons of Bob & John's La Hacienda enjoy simple yet delicious items such as subs, wraps, burritos, a small selection of salads, pizza, and stromboli. A particular specialty at Bob & John's is the chicken wings, which come in a wide variety of delicious sauces including classic Buffalo, barbeque, Cajun, and Jamaican jerk (boneless "wingdings" are also available). A modest range of simple entrees, comprising mostly pasta dishes as well as a locally renowned fish fry that's available on Fridays, is also on offer; at lunchtime, a buffet is offered featuring pizza, soup and salad. $10-25.
- Gramma Mora's, 1465 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 837-6703. M-Tu 4PM-9PM, W-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-11PM, Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 2PM-9PM. Owned for over 30 years by the Mora family, Gramma Mora's has been a mainstay of Hertel Avenue since it moved here in 1996. Despite the legions of Buffalonians — including reviewers for Buffalo Spree and Artvoice — who sing the praises of this place's pleasantly mediocre Tex-Mex fare, it is undeniable that Gramma Mora's has been going steadily downhill for the past ten years or so. Still, the food is far from bad, and even by Buffalo standards, the portion sizes are very generous for the price. $10-20.
- Hajjar Restaurant & Bakery, 1150 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 348-7184. M-Th 9AM-7PM, F-Sa 9AM-8PM, Su 10AM-4PM. Hajjar is one of the several Middle Eastern grocery stores/restaurants that have sprouted on the west end of the Hertel strip, near Delaware Avenue, over the past few years (thwarting the city government's official designation of Hertel Avenue as "Little Italy" several years ago). This little place is owned by a family whose supreme and sincere friendliness distinguishes them even in this "city of good neighbors". As for its food, Hajjar is a real hidden jewel: extraordinarily delicious Middle Eastern standards such as shawarma and kofta (available with chicken or beef) and falafel rub elbows on the menu with Iraqi specialties like samoon bread and quzi (roasted lamb over rice with nuts and raisins). Cap it off with a range of delectable desserts. All bread is baked in-house, and all meat is 100% certified halal. $10-15.
- Joe's Deli, 1322 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 875-5637. M-Sa 10:30AM-8:30PM, Su 10:30AM-4:30PM. Joe's Deli is the brainchild of Joseph Lyons, and is located in the handsome brick storefront on the corner of Hertel and Colvin that was formerly home to Mastman's Kosher Deli, a longstanding, iconic linchpin of the formerly burgeoning Jewish community in North Buffalo (the old Mastman's sign is still perched above the corner entrance). Though the business hasn't stayed completely true to its predecessor — this food isn't Kosher, and traditional Jewish sandwiches such as corned beef, pastrami, and Reuben are joined on the menu by a range of other sandwiches such as muffaletta, Cuban, and a concoction of grilled vegetables and herb cream cheese on a hoagie roll dubbed the Johnny Be Good — the emphasis on freshness and flavor at Joe's has inspired many locals to name it as the purveyor of the best deli sandwiches in Buffalo. Most interesting of all, however, are the wraps, whose variety is truly striking: a Thai chicken wrap, a Greek wrap consisting of feta cheese, olives, and fresh vegetables in Greek dressing, and a hummus wrap are among the offerings. $10-15.
- The Kitchen Table, 690 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ +1 716 622-6001. M-F 8AM-3PM, Sa-Su 8:30PM-4PM. The Kitchen Table moved in July 2014 to a larger location on the west end of Hertel Avenue, but otherwise it's the same deal as before: they still serve up classic, unpretentious, all-American comfort food in a downhome atmosphere described in Buffalo Rising as "a mix between a greasy spoon and a country kitchen". Burgers (served with heaping sides of fresh-cut fries that customers rave about), club sandwiches, fish fry, and multitudinous flavors of Turkey Hill ice cream can be had, but the Kitchen Table's true claim to fame is their hearty, homestyle breakfasts, which are served all day. The staff here really goes out of their way to please, and they treat customers like family. $10-15.
- La Kueva, 1260 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 936-4933. M-W 11AM-9PM, Th-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-8PM. A small family-run restaurant with a modest menu, La Kueva nonetheless made a big splash in May 2013 when it became the latest in a long list of multiethnic eateries to chip away at the official designation of Hertel Avenue as Buffalo "Little Italy". Owner Luis Martinez's desire was to bring the subtle, delightful flavors of Puerto Rican cuisine out of the barrio and into the larger Buffalo restaurant scene; in a recent write-up on buffalo.com, he remarked: "My people... already know about [Puerto Rican] food. I want to attract the Italians, the white people of North Buffalo and introduce them" to it. La Kueva is already receiving rave reviews from Buffalonians for its take on Hispano-Caribbean favorites like pollo guisado, pastelones, and various tropical drinks, but for less adventurous diners, a range of sandwiches is available as well. $5-15.
- Lone Star Fajita Grill, 1853 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 833-7756. M-Tu 11AM-9PM, W-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-8PM. Lone Star Fajita Grill has been a North Buffalo institution for what seems like forever. Simple but excellent Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes at prices that can't be beat (nothing on the menu costs more than $3!) are served up at this sparsely decorated dive at the east end of the Hertel Avenue strip. Cash only. Under $10.
- Mighty Moe's, 1900 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 835-6637. Daily 10AM-9PM. Holding court at the far eastern end of the Hertel Avenue strip in the little building where Grumpy's and, more recently, Vasilis Express used to be, you would be forgiven for mistaking Mighty Moe's for little more than a drive-in ice cream stand that maybe served a few burgers and dogs off the grill as an afterthought. And while an ice-cold cone of Perry's ice cream at one of the umbrella-shaded picnic tables on the front patio is heaven on a sweltering summer day, Mighty Moe's boast of being "a classic burger joint with a modern twist" is no exaggeration. The unassuming exterior here masks a surprisingly lengthy menu of burgers (both Moe's signature classic available with one, two or three patties, as well as about a half dozen creatively concocted specialty burgers), hot and cold subs and deli-style sandwiches, tacos, chicken fingers and wings, and homemade soups. There are also a few full-size entrees available, mostly Greek diner-style fare such as souvlaki and gyro, and special mention should be made of the poutine, which with crisped-to-perfection fries and a good selection of toppings is one of Buffalo's more faithful interpretations of this Canadian greasy-spoon classic. The service at Mighty Moe's is friendly and speedy, and the portion sizes and quality of the food is a great value for your money. They also deliver, for an extra charge of $4. $10-20.
- Shish Kabab Express, 1207 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 447-1207. Daily 11AM-9PM. A simply magnificent place to eat. Buffalo's first Iraqi restaurant, Shish Kabab Express serves all the standards of Middle Eastern cuisine — shawarma, falafel, tabbouleh — as well as unusual specialties unique to the cuisine of Iraq, such as quzi and Iraqi-style kebabs. As well, Shish Kabab Express stands out among the crowd of similar places at the west end of Hertel by offering a small range of South Asian specialties such as beef and chicken tikka. The food here is fresh and authentic, with 100% halal meat, and all the bread served at Shish Kabab Express (including the samoon, a staple of Iraqi cuisine) is baked fresh on the premises. The kicker is the prices, which, according to one reviewer, are often "cheaper than a fast-food combo meal". $10-25.
- Belsito, 1368 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 240-9273. M-Tu 11AM-2PM, W-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 11AM-7PM. Striking a blow for the continuing Italian-ness of Little Italy — which is being gradually eroded by the diversification of dining options on Hertel — is Belsito, which opened up shop in late 2013 in the storefront formerly occupied by Gino's Italian Bakery, at the heart of the strip. Belsito's website loudly trumpets their "unique foods made from Italian cured meats and cheeses", which is an accurate description of its modest-sized, decidedly "lunchy" menu. A range of appetizer salads and cheese-and-cold-cut plates are on offer, the latter of which are served with fresh homemade bread and side salads, but the bulk of the menu consists of a mouth-watering selection of sandwiches and panini featuring various combinations of imported Italian charcuterie and cheeses of impeccable quality. Call the menu a one-trick pony if you want, but Belsito sticks to what it does well and earns raves from local foodies as a result. To drink is a dazzling selection of imported Italian wines, reputedly the best in the city, but the equally expansive beer list includes only a few imports — it's given over mostly to craft beers from regional microbrewers such as Southern Tier, Ellicottville, the Brooklyn Brewery, and Buffalo's own Flying Bison and Community Beer Works. Best of all, Belsito is far less crowded than it ought to be, which makes for excellent service and ample opportunities to chat up the friendly, ever-present owners. $15-40.
- CRāVing, 1472 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 883-1675. M-Sa 11AM-10PM. Situated at the heart of the Hertel strip at the former location of La Dolce Vita, CRāVing is a brand-new restaurant operated by Jennifer and Adam Goetz. Fans of the Goetz's former restaurant, Allentown's sadly missed Sample, will feel right at home here, with a creative menu whose accent, appropriately enough for "Little Italy", is on fresh and creative interpretations of Italian cuisine, including delicious homemade pizza. That's not to say that Italian food is CRāVing's sole focus by any means — selections here are as diverse as the German-inspired entrée of pork belly with mustard caviar and rye spätzle, and appetizers such as lobster poutine (!) and buttermilk-fried chicken with grits and sautéed collard greens. Lunch is a more easygoing affair, with a huge sandwich board hanging proudly on the wall. $15-55.
- Jewel of India, 1264 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 877-1264. Daily 11:30AM-2:30PM and 4:30PM-10PM. Given that Jewel of India is run by the same people who own India Gate on Elmwood Avenue and Taste of India in Amherst, patrons of this brand-new addition to the Hertel Avenue strip can expect the same healthy, high-quality fare here as at those other fine establishments. Jewel of India boasts an extensive menu featuring beef, chicken, lamb, shrimp and vegetarian entrees; diners enjoy their meal in a lovely, spacious, and impeccably decorated dining room. Lunch and dinner buffets are also available. $15-35.
- Kostas, 1561 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 838-5225. M-Th 6:30AM-midnight, F-Sa 6:30AM-1AM, Su 8AM-11PM. Of Buffalo's many, many Greek diners and family restaurants, Kostas has one of the most interesting and extensive menus. Since 1977, Kostas Family Restaurant has been serving familiar standbys such as souvlaki, gyro, and Greek salad, as well as harder-to-find Greek specialties such as tirokafteri and taramosalata. Sandwiches, burgers, pasta, and other such fare is also on offer, as is a modest selection of wines. $10-35.
- La Tavola Trattoria, 1458 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 837-3267. Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM. "Tavola" in Italian means "table", and as the owners of La Tavola Trattoria like to say, "there's always something good on the table". The storefront at 1458 Hertel didn't miss a beat after the closure of longtime neighborhood fixture the North End Trattoria in late 2012, with its new owners setting up shop here not long afterward. La Tavola differentiates itself from the myriad other Italian restaurants on Hertel with a Creole-fusion style that owners Victor Cali and Pat Gentile refer to as "New Orleans Italian", with entrées such as shrimp, sausage and chicken in Cajun cream sauce over homemade pasta combining several meats and diverse flavors for a result that's often bolder and spicier than traditional Italian fare. The pride of La Tavola, their expensive 100% wood-fired pizza oven, turns out not only delicious homemade pizzas (which tend more toward the traditional Italian side of the spectrum, perhaps more so than any other place in Buffalo) but also other specialties such as stuffed peppers. Sandwiches and burgers are also available in an ambience that is airy, modern, and impeccably decorated. $20-45.
- Mac's, 1435 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 833-6227. Su-W 11AM-midnight, Th-Sa 11AM-2AM. Bucking the trend toward the upscale that Hertel's dining scene (and that of Buffalo as a whole) has seen lately, this new spot in the former Empire Grill is unpretentious and unabashedly party-oriented — with loud, thumping Top 40 music on the stereo, a huge oval bar ringed with big-screen TVs, and a menu consisting of largely of familiar pub grub with some local twists. At Mac's, you can indulge in some pretty well-executed burgers and hot sandwiches, chicken wings that tend to be a bit spicier than normal, and a range of "Trash Plates" — their Buffalo-ified version of Rochester-style garbage plates, with Sahlen's frankfurters taking the place of Zweigle's white hots, and Weber's horseradish mustard taking the place of the regular yellow stuff. If you're a bit hungrier, there's also a small selection of full-size mains that bring out a more refined touch: various steaks and chops including a chicken-fried Delmonico, fish and chicken dishes, and a Thai noodle bowl with your choice of meat. Mac's is a pretty huge place — with two floors of seating, you can take your pick of a view of Hertel Avenue out the picture windows at street level, a bird's-eye perspective of the revelry below on the upper balcony, and a pleasant second-floor patio that rivals the Pearl Street Brewery's in size and provides a welcome respite from the thundering din inside — and the impeccable service is more befitting a luxurious black-tie restaurant. $15-55.
- Més Que, 1420 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 836-8800. M-Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 5PM-10PM. Opened in April 2012 with a name that echoes the slogan of FC Barcelona, Més Que is the first establishment of its kind in Buffalo: a sports bar and restaurant dedicated entirely to soccer. The owners of Més Que, whose other businesses around town include the longstanding West Side fine dining destination Left Bank, have been fans of Buffalo's NPSL club since its foundation, and the state of affairs at this official soccer bar of FC Buffalo is lively and crowded — never more than during one of the soccer matches shown frequently on the flat-screen TVs behind the bar. You'll swear you were in Europe. The menu is small in size but outstanding in quality, with elegant pizzas, panini, pasta dishes, cheese and charcuterie plates, and heartier entrees that represent the cuisine of the Mediterranean, and Spain in particular. Even more impressive are the offerings at the bar, with a wine list of impressive size and a beer selection that draws heavily on imports and local and regional microbrews. $20-30.
- Public House of Buffalo, 1206 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 551-6208. Tu-Su 11:30AM-11PM. In 2014, when Frank and Sara Testa were finally ready to strike out on their own after years spent working their way up the rungs of the Buffalo restaurant scene, they happened upon the Hertel Avenue storefront most recently occupied by the short-lived Canvas @ 1206, and the Public House of Buffalo was born (just in time for the Italian Festival that year!) They really did a spectacular job remodeling the place, installing a bar whose top is made from wood salvaged from wharf piers that were excavated during the construction of Canalside and hanging works by local artists on the wall for a finished product that's cozy yet airy, classy yet unmistakably pub-like. What's served at the Public House of Buffalo is, first and foremost, a huge selection of beer, available on draft as well as in cans and bottles — microbrews dominate some 80 entries on the beer list, including locally-produced craft beers from Flying Bison and the Resurgence Brewery. If you're overwhelmed by all the choices, never fear: the bartenders are helpful and knowledgeable about their stock, and will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. As for the food, they describe it as "elevated pub fare" — classic bar food kicked up a notch with creative gourmet twists. For example, chicken fingers come milanese style and are served with a side of pesto aioli — and what would a Western New York bar be without chicken wings, tossed in barbeque or classic Buffalo sauce as well as options like Sriracha sesame sauce or Chiavetta's marinade. Owner Frank's roots as a Chautauqua County farm boy come out in his emphasis on locally-sourced farm-to-table produce, so if you're in the mood for a salad, expect to see seasonal ingredients and enjoy farm-fresh flavors. $10-30.
- Romeo & Juliet's Caffe and Bakery, 1292 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 873-5730. Tu-Th 10:30AM-9PM, F-Sa 10:30AM-10PM. The owners of Romeo and Juliet's are a family of first-generation immigrants who have many years of experience working in genuine Italian bakeries and kitchens, and with this charming restaurant that's been open on Hertel since 1998, they've recreated that experience to the delight of Buffalonians who flock here to enjoy light Italian fare such as pizza, panini and simple entrees, and a range of fresh, flavorful appetizers. The menu is filled out with such delightful selections as a wide and interesting gamut of salads and bruschettas and a small range of pasta dishes; the panini are especially good, a slate of delectable and creative options whose names, appropriately enough, are tributes to some of the great painters of Europe (check out the Picasso, described on the menu as "an artwork of prosciutto crudo, soppressata, capicolla, salami and mozzarella"). Also, don't forget to visit the bakery, where cannoli, gelato, tiramisu, and other marvelously prepared Italian pastries and desserts are sold. $15-25.
- Sister's African Cuisine, 1240 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 551-0456. Tu-Sa 11AM-8PM. The evolution of Buffalo's dining scene continues apace: other than the three Ethiopian places the city now boasts, Sister's is the first restaurant in Buffalo to specialize in African cuisine. The name is something of a misnomer: owner Mahawa Chelley works with her daughter to serve delicious, authentic homestyle specialties from their native Liberia. Sister's menu is dominated by soups and stews, usually with palm oil as a base — the changing daily specials include peanut butter, okra, and cassava leaf stews each served with a variety of meats, and spinach stew is available everyday. The daily menu also includes other West African favorites such as couscous and jollof rice. Interestingly, those who pay attention will notice flavors and ingredients from the American South in the food served here: Liberia was founded in 1850 as a refuge for liberated American slaves, so it's not uncommon to find classic "soul food" ingredients like turkey necks and sweet potatoes side by side with African staples like fufu and groundnuts in the same dish. Sister's dining room is pleasant — brightly colored, informal, and bedecked with traditional African decor — but those with sensitive palates should watch out, as this food is very spicy. $15-25.
- The Sterling, 1487 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 833-1307. M-F 4PM-3AM, Sa-Su noon-4AM. The old Sterling Place Tavern was reborn in July 2015 under new ownership — namely Kevin Brinkworth, also known as one of the duo behind Elmwood Avenue's ever-popular Blue Monk — and there are more than a few cues taken from the Blue Monk experience at this brand-new North Buffalo destination. For instance, the popular duck fries appetizer — hand-cut French fries cooked in duck fat — was imported lock, stock and barrel from Elmwood, and the several dozen local and regional craft beers available on tap and in bottles mines much the same territory as well. However, by and large the focus on the menu here is not the Belgian and Northern French gastropub fare that's Blue Monk's stock in trade, but rather an eclectic selection of homemade, gourmet sausages. Featured sausage selections at The Sterling change periodically, but typically include such offbeat, exotic "rare game" blends as wild boar with cranberry and red wine, smoked bison with Burgundy and thyme, and duck with foie gras and Sauterne wine. Elsewhere on the small but impressive menu is a slate of combo platters of locally-produced, somewhat less hoity-toity (but still delicious) Wardynski's sausages with various toppings and sides, a selection of mac & cheese mains with a variety of toppings, and familiar yet well-executed pub grub such as wings, sandwiches, and burgers, the latter of which are especially accoladed. Perhaps most impressive of all, though, are the renovations that have been done here: far from the dank dive it used to be, The Sterling of today boasts a fully redone interior decorated with a copious collection of antique "breweriana" and mementos from the Brinkworth family's nearly century-long tenure in the local restaurant industry — check out the 1901 Ludwig & Company piano that was originally commissioned for the Pan-American Exhibition, and the circa-1890 back bar that the owner purchased from the hosts of the A&E television series American Pickers. $15-30.
- Taste of Thai, 1460 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 833-8423. M-Sa 11:30AM-3PM and 5PM-10PM, Su 5PM-9PM. One of a growing legion of Thai restaurants in Buffalo, Taste of Thai distinguishes itself from the competition by providing a fairly interesting selection of Thai dishes in an upscale setting, for a reasonable price. $15-35.
- BOSS, 1735 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 551-6499. Tu-Sa 5PM-11PM. Restaurateur Noel Morreale's seemingly neverending saga on Hertel Avenue has taken yet another turn: his long-struggling Fiamma Steak at the east end of the Hertel strip has been reborn as BOSS. One reviewer described being prepared to dislike the place because of its name (it's an acronym for "Buffalo's Original Steak and Seafood"), but was surprised to find that it lived up to its braggadoccio: in the end the essence of Fiamma — a luxurious steakhouse that aims to be the crown jewel of the North Buffalo fine dining scene — shines through in its successor. The menu is short and to the point: about half a dozen cuts of juicy, delicious steak (the 10-ounce culotte cut of American Wagyu beef is especially interesting) are accompanied by seafood mains like market-price lobster and Alaskan king crab, grilled halibut, and appetizers of raw oysters and yellowfin tartare, with only a few token alternative options (gnocchetti pasta, most notably) as filler. But what BOSS's selection lacks is more than made up for in quality, even if the chef often goes a bit too heavy on the seasoning. Service is attentive, knowledgeable, and comes with all the extra touches you'd expect from a luxury operation, with valet parking available. Creative cocktails abound at the bar, and a decent selection of beers and wines are available. $20-70.
- Ristorante Lombardo, 1198 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 873-4291. M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM; lunch F 11:30AM-2:30PM. At the center of the action on Hertel Avenue, Ristorante Lombardo calls their food "the best Italian in Buffalo", a claim that is hard to refute given the extensive menu of elegant and authentic Italian dishes served to patrons in a setting that is among the most exquisite and upscale on Hertel. Ristorante Lombardo boasts a full bar and patio and an expansive wine list. $15-65.
The following local chains have locations on or near Hertel Avenue. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.
- Louie's Texas Red Hots, 2350 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 877-6618.
- Marco's Italian Deli, 1744 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 862-9117. M-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 11AM-4PM.
- SPoT Coffee, 1406 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 551-6275. Su-Th 6AM-11PM, F-Sa 7AM-midnight.
The following pizzerias are located on or near Hertel Avenue. Those who are interested in pizza delivery (as opposed to pickup) might want to also check listings in adjacent districts; local pizzerias will often deliver to several different neighborhoods of the city.
- Avenue Pizza, 1116 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 877-5959.
- Bob & John's La Hacienda, 1545 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 836-5411. Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight.
- Daddio's, 1247 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 877-7747. M-Th 10AM-2AM, F-Sa 10AM-3AM, Su 10AM-10PM.
- Just Pizza, 2350 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 871-5700. Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM.
- La Pizza Club, 1511 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 837-3838. M-Th 11AM-11PM, F 11AM-midnight, Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-9PM.
- To Pie For, 1673 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 835-1111. Daily 10AM-11PM.
- Dash's, 1770 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 835-3083. Daily 7AM-10PM.
- Dollar General, 1336 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 877-0710. Daily 8AM-9PM.
- Family Dollar, 1000 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 875-4247. Daily 8AM-10PM.
- The Globe Market, 1416 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 783-9955. M-Sa 9AM-7PM. The Globe Market is a delightful combination café and specialty food shop that is committed to offering a wide range of fresh, locally sourced products. An eclectic variety of gourmet salads, soups and sandwiches are made from scratch daily. Personalized gift baskets are also sold at the Globe Market.
- North Buffalo Farmers' Market (At Holy Spirit RC Church, Metro Bus 23 or 25). Th 3PM-7PM Jun-Nov, except week of Italian Heritage Festival. What was once a dream in the mind of Buffalo locavore Patricia DiFrancesco Banning has now come to fruition: the North Buffalo Farmers' Market kicked off in 2014 with an impressive range of organic fruits and vegetables, breads and baked goods, artisanal pasta, coffee, organic honey, fresh-squeezed juices and delicious smoothies, and even bath and body products — all grown or manufactured locally. This is a true community partnership, with the Hertel-North Buffalo Business Association lending its support and a myriad of local businesses, including North Buffalo's own House of Olives and Gino's Italian Bakery, turning out weekly to sell their wares. Best of all, you don't have to get up early on a weekend morning to attend — the market runs on Thursday evenings, perfect for folks looking for a healthy and affordable alternative to another restaurant dinner.
- Winter Market on Hertel, 1547 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 393-9547. Sa 9AM-1PM, late Nov through early Apr. You can take Eric and Andrea Amodeo out of Horsefeathers Market, but apparently you can't take Horsefeathers out of the Amodeos: just a few months after moving to their new joint location on Hertel, the owners of The Pasta Peddler and Blackbird Sweets sought to replicate a wintertime institution at their old home on Connecticut Street by welcoming to their ample retail space a small but diverse range of Western New York farmers and artisans, anchored by the Pasta Peddler and Blackbird Sweets themselves, which stay open for business during market times. At the Winter Market on Hertel, you can get everything from locally-raised meat, dairy, eggs and greenhouse produce to jams and jellies, baked goods, bath products, and even gourmet dog treats and hand-crocheted plush toys and accessories — at a time of year when most farmers' markets close up shop. Caffeinated pick-me-ups are also available courtesy of Public Coffee.
Delaware and Elmwood Avenues
In addition to the restaurants listed here, the suburban-style shopping plazas in this area include a number of chain restaurants, notably Applebee's, Boston Market, Denny's, Five Guys, and Moe's Southwest Grill.
- Frank's Sunny Italy, 2491 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 876-5449. Daily 11AM-11PM. Hearty, unpretentious Italian meals at a reasonable price are the stock in trade of Frank's Sunny Italy. Though the menu is not groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination, familiar Italian standbys such as veal parmigiana, chicken cacciatore, lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, and pizza keep Buffalonians coming back for more. Portions are notoriously massive at this family-style Italian eatery. $10-25.
- Sophia's, 749 Military Rd. (Metro Bus 3 or 5), ☎ +1 716 447-9661. Tu-Su 7AM-3PM. This humble establishment operated by Sophia and Sam Ananiadas serves some of the best (and biggest) breakfasts in Buffalo — so good, in fact, that they caught the attention of celebrity chef Guy Fieri, who dedicated a segment of his Food Network series "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" to the place. In addition to the usual lineup of pancakes, omelettes, French toast and the like, the Mediterranean flair of Sophia's cuisine is on full display in the giambotta, their signature breakfast platter of eggs, home fries, homemade Italian sausage, peppers, onions, and garlic. For lunch, an array of burgers, club sandwiches, and salads are on offer, as well as what may be the best souvlaki in Buffalo. Best of all, customers rave about the genuine warmth and friendliness of Sophia's staff that keeps them coming back. $10-15.
- Taj Grill, 2290 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 875-1000. Daily 11:30AM-2:30PM and 4:30PM-10PM. Though it's located in one of the sterile, monotonous plazas that line Delaware Avenue north of Park Meadow, the Taj Grill lauds itself as "the finest Indian restaurant in Buffalo". Though that claim is certainly up for debate — opinions seem to be divided evenly between this place and the Elmwood Village's India Gate — customers unanimously praise Taj Grill's extensive menu, which boasts a huge selection of all the traditional curries known by lovers of Indian cuisine available with chicken, beef, lamb, seafood, and even tofu and goat, as well as myriad options for vegetarians. The food here caters more to the Indian palette than the Americanized version of the cuisine available elsewhere in the region, to the delight of traditionalists. Best of all is the service, which is unfailingly friendly and upbeat. $15-35.
- Tokyo II Japanese Seafood and Steakhouse, 2236 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 877-2688. M-Th 11AM-10:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-11:30PM, Su noon-10PM. Tokyo II is Buffalo's newest hibachi steakhouse and Japanese restaurant. Steak, seafood, rice, and other entrees are prepared for diners before their eyes on the hibachi in an entertaining spectacle. In addition, a wide range of sushi and sashimi is available, as is other Japanese fare, a small selection of Thai entrees, domestic and imported beers including Kirin, Asahi, and Sapporo, wine, and sake. $15-40.
The following local chains have locations on Delaware and Elmwood Avenues in North Buffalo. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.
- Anderson's, 2634 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 25), ☎ +1 716 873-5330. Daily 11AM-9AM.
- Jim's Steakout, 2611 Delaware Ave. (At Delaware Place plaza; Metro Bus 5 or 25), ☎ +1 716 877-7500. Daily 10:30AM-5AM.
- Mighty Taco, 2363 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 871-8670. Daily 10AM-midnight.
Papa John's has a location on Delaware Avenue just south of Kenmore, and Little Caesar's can be found on Delaware just south of Hertel.
- Aldi, 2090 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 20). M-F 9AM-8PM, Sa-Su 9AM-7PM.
- Dollar General, 1843 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ +1 716 875-4914. Daily 8AM-9PM.
- Family Dollar, 1700 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 20), ☎ +1 716 873-1281. M-Sa 8AM-9PM, Su 9AM-9PM.
- PriceRite, 1716 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 20), ☎ +1 716 873-4148. M-Sa 8AM-9PM, Su 8AM-8PM.
- Target, 2626 Delaware Ave. (At Delaware Consumer Square plaza; Metro Bus 5, 20 or 25), ☎ +1 716 447-0094. M-Sa 8AM-11PM, Su 8AM-10PM.
- Tops, 2101 Elmwood Ave. (At Tops Plaza; Metro Bus 5 or 20), ☎ +1 716 515-0050. Daily 24 hours.
Visitors to Buffalo in search of a late-night snack can scarcely do better than University Heights — an unusually large proportion of eateries there stay open late, catering to midnight-oil-burning UB students.
As above, it's to be noted that the entire north side of Main Street east of Kenmore Avenue is technically part of the Town of Amherst.
- Amy's Place, 3234 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 832-6666. Daily 7AM-9PM. A popular dive where the latest indie tunes can be heard on the soundsystem and people-watchers can enjoy a clientele that trends heavily toward bohemian urbanites and other alternative types (not to mention students of UB's nearby South Campus), Amy's Place is among the hippest eateries on Main Street. By day they serve a range of Lebanese and other Mediterranean fare of respectable quality, including abundant options for vegetarians and vegans. However, Amy's Place is perhaps best known for their substantial, delicious and reasonably priced breakfasts. Cash only. $10-25.
- Doctor Bird's Caribbean Rasta-Rant, 3104 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 837-6426. M-F 11:30AM-10PM, Sa 11:30AM-10:30PM. This humble take-out (with a few tables for indoor seating) offers what is by far and away, without a doubt, the best Jamaican food in Buffalo. The jerk chicken, rotis, curry goat, and oxtail are all simply fantastic, and are universally served with a side of fried plantains and rice and beans. Wash your food down with a bottle of strong ginger beer. Reggae, calypso, and soca records are also for sale at the counter. $10-20.
- Dosa Place, 3500 Main St., Suite 370, Amherst (At University Plaza; Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 834-1400. Daily 11AM-9:30PM. Amherst's Palace of Dosas may have flown under the radar of the local restaurant scene, but even so, lots of local aficionados of South Indian cuisine were disappointed when it closed in 2013. They can rest easy: its owner Nick Emmanuel, a Sri Lanka native now in the midst of his third decade in the local restaurant industry, has reemerged at the University Plaza with the matter-of-factly named Dosa Place, which boasts exactly the same menu as its predecessor. Said menu is comprised of 100% vegetarian fare — one of the few places in the Niagara Frontier that can make that claim — prepared fresh everyday from all-natural ingredients. The place's namesake, and the star of the show, is the dosa: Dosa Place serves about two dozen different variations of this light, airy lentil-based crêpe, either plain with butter or stuffed with various fillings such as onions, potatoes, paneer cheese, or vegetables, as well as a mix of spices. Utthappam also make an appearance, the dosa's thicker, doughier cousin that's been described as an "Indian pizza", with onions and other ingredients baked right into the crust. Rounding out the menu are a range of spicy vegetable curries, naan and chapati breads, and (as appetizers) battered vegetables, pakora, iddly (fluffy rice- and lentil-based buns with various toppings and spices), and vadai (savory doughnut-shaped lentil fritters). Best of all, prices are a good sight lower than they were at Palace of Dosas, which themselves weren't too bad. $10-25.
- Eddie's Chophouse, 3171 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 835-8888. Tu-Su 11AM-10PM. In July 2015, when passersby on Main Street started to notice chicken and duck carcasses hung up in the front window where Slice of Italy used to be, it became clear that a new type of business had arrived in University Heights. Former UB student Eddie Liang opened Eddie's Chophouse in his old stomping grounds near the South Campus because he felt the time was ripe for Buffalonians to sample a new permutation of Chinese food, and what better spot for the big launch than in the thick of the vibrant Asian and Asian-American community gathered around the university? Eddie's is the first restaurant in Buffalo to serve siu mei, or Chinese barbecue — a Cantonese culinary tradition where meat is coated in a seasoning sauce and then slowly rotisseried, bone-in, in a Chinese smoker — and your choices here are pork, duck, chicken, or spare ribs, served either over steamed white rice or as a soup with your choice of macaroni or rice or egg noodles. (If you opt for soup, further ingredients become available: steamed wontons, fish balls, and beef tripe.) A limited range of other selections are also offered, along with a wide selection of hot and cold teas to drink as well as iced mint lemonade, which might be the most popular item Eddie's serves. The pint-sized menu and spartan (if pleasant) interior are made up for by quality and value — the meat served here is fresh and bursting with flavor and comes in huge portions that make the low prices charged that much more spectacular. Eddie's also offers delivery at no charge for orders of $20 or more. $10-25.
- Kalypso, 12 Winspear Ave. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 834-3663. M-Th noon-9PM, F noon-11PM, Sa 1PM-11PM. Buffalo's newest Jamaican restaurant may not have had its Grand Opening until February 2013, but it's already earning rave reviews among locals. Located just off Main Street in the former Fast Frank's, Kalypso serves up a range of Caribbean specialties that is surprisingly ample given the relative humbleness of its appearance from the outside. Among the usual suspects — jerk chicken, curry goat, oxtail — can be found several delectably prepared selections available nowhere else in Buffalo, such as brown stew chicken, Jamaican pepper steak, and escoveitch fish. A small selection of vegetarian options is also offered. $10-25.
- Lake Effect Diner, 3165 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 833-1952. Daily 7AM-10PM. The Lake Effect Diner is a '50s-style affair located in one of the last remaining "diner cars" in America, carefully restored under the direction of local restaurateur Tucker Curtin. With oldies on the jukebox and waitresses dressed in '50s-style pink skirts, the Lake Effect Diner is as authentic as it gets. Decent diner fare — burgers, club sandwiches, french fries, milkshakes and malts — is available here for reasonable prices. The Lake Effect Diner has been featured on Guy Fieri's Food Network television series, "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives". $10-25.
- Nette's Fried Chicken, 3118 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 715-9592. M-W noon-10PM, Th-F noon-5AM, Sa 3PM-5AM, Su 3PM-10PM. Nette's Fried Chicken is an unassuming hole-in-the-wall on Main Street within easy walking distance of UB South Campus. Don't be put off by the exterior, though — for several years now, Nette's has served tasty, crispy, and not-too-greasy fried chicken that puts KFC to shame. Other Southern-fried soul food specialties such as mac and cheese, collard greens, flaky buttermilk biscuits, waffles, and desserts are on offer as well. One of Buffalo's best-kept secrets. $10-20.
- Venus, 3500 Main St., Amherst (At University Plaza; Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 831-8100. M-F 11AM-11PM, Sa noon-midnight, Su noon-10PM. Located in the University Plaza, Venus is a friendly restaurant serving simple Greek and Lebanese foods. By comparison with Amy's Place, University Heights' better-known, longer-standing Mediterranean restaurant, at Venus most of the bohemian ambience is sacrificed, but is made up for with food that, on the whole, is a good deal tastier than the sometimes lackluster fare served at Amy's. Shawarma, falafel, shish kabab and kofta, and gyros are available as either platters or wraps, and delectable Greek salads and fatoush are available for those in search of greener options (tabouli is on the menu as well, but never seems to be available). Though a good deal of the business done here is take-out or delivery, those enjoying their food at one of Venus' handful of tables are treated to a neverending stream of delightfully cheesy Lebanese music videos on the satellite television — a part of the Venus experience that's as integral as the food itself, in this author's opinion. $10-15.
- May Jen, 47 Kenmore Ave., Amherst (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 832-5162. M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-10:30PM, Su 4PM-9:30PM. Owned since 1981 by the Leung family, and before that for some time in a previous incarnation on Elmwood Avenue, May Jen is the oldest continually operating Chinese restaurant in Buffalo. Though extensive, the menu is not what you would call groundbreaking — the entree of prawns with glazed walnuts, a dish unique to May Jen, is the only eye-catcher in a sea of kung pao chicken, moo goo gai pan, General Tso chicken, and other standards. But the ambience is serene and pleasant, prices are reasonable, and the quality of the food is high enough for Artvoice readers to have voted May Jen the Best Chinese Restaurant in several annual "Best of Buffalo" readers' polls. Beer and wine are served. $15-35.
- Ming Café, 3268 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 833-6988. M-Sa 5PM-9PM. Make no mistake about Ming Café — from the exterior it may look like just another unassuming hole-in-the-wall in University Heights, but what is served here is high-quality, gourmet Chinese food that is priced accordingly. Ming Café's menu is dominated by interpretations of classic Chinese standards — Szechuan chicken, kung pao shrimp, moo shu pork — that are fresh, flavorful, and prepared to order with an uncommonly refined elegance. The hot and sour soup is particularly good. But it's in the "signature dishes" section of the menu where Ming Café's true culinary stars come out to shine — a diverse array of delectable upscale options that can be best described as "Asian-influenced" rather than a strict interpretation of Chinese cuisine. The icing on the cake is the huge selection of authentic imported Chinese teas, as well as a variety of coffee. Cash only. $15-40.
- Sato Ramen, 3268 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 835-7286. M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F 11:30AM-11PM, Sa noon-11PM. Opened in fall 2015, the satellite location of Satomi Smith's somewhat eponymous Elmwood Avenue noodle shop is actually a solid improvement on the original, with a considerably expanded selection of noodle bowls and small plates on the menu (they make up for this by not including any sushi or sashimi, as at Elmwood), and a youthful, funky vibe that's much more suited to its college-student clientele than the trendy but staid original location. At Sato 2.0, the three flagship ramen selections of the original restaurant are joined by Buffalo Chicken Ramen (the titular meat with corn, scallions, carrots, and black garlic oil in chicken broth), as well as Kimchi Ramen in a mixed pork and chicken broth. Donburi bowls and Japanese curry are also offered, but the pièce de résistance on the small plates section of the menu is the huge appetizer of Okonomiyaki Fries — sort of a Japanese take on poutine, smothered in mayo and okonomiyaki sauce and topped with dried bonito flakes, nori seaweed, green onions, and pickled ginger. There's a short drink list that prominently features local and regional craft brews as well as a variety of different sake selections, and for dessert there's green tea or ginger ice cream courtesy of Williamsville's own Sweet Jenny's. $15-30.
- Shango, 3260 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 837-2326. M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM, Su brunch 11AM-3PM. Though bouillabaisse, crawfish, po' boys and bananas Foster feature prominently on the menu, it would be a disservice to pigeonhole the lovely bistro run by owner and head chef Jim Guarino as simply a "Creole" or "Southern" restaurant. Instead, the cuisine offered at Shango is as diverse as it is high-quality. Additionally, the wine list is one of Buffalo's most extensive and has been honored with an award by Wine Spectator magazine; a carefully selected variety of import beers and microbrews is also available at Shango. $20-40.
- The Steer, 3151 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 838-0478. Daily 11AM-4AM. The Steer is best known for its sometimes rowdy bar frequented by students from the nearby South Campus of the University of Buffalo, but let's not forget that it is also a restaurant that serves pizza, burgers, sandwiches, and — as the name suggests — mouth-watering steaks and chops. The Montana Room, located on the second floor of this unmissable Main Street landmark, is a banquet room equipped for up to 60 guests. $10-45.
The following local chains have locations in University Heights. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.
- Jim's Steakout, 3094 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 838-6666. Daily 10:30AM-5AM.
- Louie's Texas Red Hots, 3476 Main St. (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 831-8800. Daily 24 hours.
- Vasilis Express, 3225 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 832-4976. Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-3AM.
The following pizzerias are located in University Heights. Those who are interested in pizza delivery (as opposed to pickup) might want to also check listings in adjacent districts; local pizzerias will often deliver to several different neighborhoods of the city.
- Just Pizza, 3172 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 831-9979. Su-W 10AM-midnight, Th-Sa 10AM-4AM.
- Slice of Italy, 3500 Main St., Suite 150, Amherst (At University Plaza; Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 768-2462. M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-10PM.
- Aldi, 3060 Main St. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle). M-F 9AM-8PM, Sa-Su 9AM-7PM.
- Dollar General, 338 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 34; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 837-0310. Daily 8AM-10PM.
- Tops, 3500 Main St., Amherst (At University Plaza; Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 515-3240. Daily 6AM-midnight.
- University Community Farmers' Market, Main Street at Kenmore Avenue (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 829-6145. Sa 8AM-1PM, mid-May through mid-Oct. Since 2007, the University Heights Collaborative, the University at Buffalo, and various local organizations have teamed up to promote health and wellness, community sustainability, and local business through the University Community Farmers' Market. Every Saturday in season, fresh locally-grown produce is on offer in the heart of University Heights, with a heaping side order of fun special events and community pride.
Kenmore Avenue area
- Curry's, 864 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5), ☎ +1 716 447-0502. M-Sa 11:30AM-midnight. Those who are expecting Indian cuisine will be disappointed — there's nothing exotic about the menu at Curry's. Rather, the sandwiches, entree salads, meat and pasta dishes served up here match the workmanlike reliability evoked by the humble exterior of this Kenmore Avenue restaurant. What is special about the heaping portions of classic American comfort food offered up at Curry's is the friendliness with which it's served — this is a real "where everybody knows your name" type of place — and its surprising quality, if not creativity. Beer-battered fish fry, a well-known Buffalo specialty, is served with aplomb on Friday nights. $10-30.
- Yummy Thai, 914 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 11), ☎ +1 716 877-4959. M-Th 11AM-9:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-9PM. Opened in 2013, the second location of Yummy Thai has a menu that's identical to the original restaurant in North Tonawanda, but at a much more convenient and centralized location. Here you'll find the usual lineup of Westernized Thai dishes that Stateside fans of the genre are familiar with — pad thai; red, green and penang curries; pad kee mow and tom yum soup for those who like it spicy (unlike many Thai places, Yummy Thai doesn't blandify the food for the American palate; when they say "spicy", they mean it!); chicken and beef satay as appetizers. Portions are ample, but the quality of the food is as middle-of-the-road as the selection. If you're in the mood for something a bit more offbeat, though, you're not completely out of luck at Yummy Thai, especially if you peruse the house-special stir fry mains. These aren't the most authentic things in the world, but they make up for it with creativity: the "Peanut King" features mushroom, bell peppers, baby corn, broccoli, and napa cabbage in a light peanut sauce, and in the "Healthy Garlic" the same vegetables are combined with fresh garlic and served in Yummy Thai's special garlic sauce; these along with most entrees are served with your choice of meat, seafood, or tofu for vegetarians. If you're in town on a busy Friday or Saturday night and don't feel like arriving at a restaurant for dinner only to wait an eternity for a table, the perennially uncrowded Yummy Thai may be the place for you, but don't expect that to necessarily translate into fast or attentive service, which is a weak spot here. $15-40.
- Sinatra's, 938 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 11), ☎ +1 716 877-9419. Daily 5PM-10PM. The scion of a family that traces its roots back to Vallelunga, Sicily, John Sinatra opened his eponymous restaurant in 1981, serving family recipes handed down from generation to generation. Originally named Sinatra's Trilogy in honor of John's three sons who helped him run the business, the name was shortened to "Sinatra's" when the middle son, Michael, took ownership after his father's retirement. Though Sinatra's has remained true to its original dedication to delicious Sicilian and Southern Italian food, over the years it has become more known as an upscale destination serving an increasingly refined interpretation of that cuisine. A wide range of pasta dishes are on offer, made with fine ingredients imported from Italy; the pasta con sardi is an interesting choice in this regard, topped with fresh sardines, tomatoes, raisins, fennel and pine nuts. A range of seafood dishes is also available at Sinatra's, as well as chicken and veal served in milanese, marsala, piccata, parmigiana or diavolo style. Perhaps most impressive of all, however, is the wine list: a gargantuan slate of offerings that features whites, reds and reserve selections from Italy, France and the United States. Buffalonians absolutely rave about this place. $25-65.
The following pizzerias are located on or near Kenmore Avenue. Those who are interested in pizza delivery (as opposed to pickup) might want to also check listings in adjacent districts; local pizzerias will often deliver to several different neighborhoods of the city.
- Franco's, 1153 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 11), ☎ +1 716 877-2720. Su-Th 10AM-11PM, F-Sa 10AM-midnight.
- Pepe's, 640 Colvin Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 11), ☎ +1 716 876-0678. Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight.
- Vince's Pizza Plus, 1803 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 3 or 5), ☎ +1 716 876-0424. Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM.
- Ashker's at the Park, In Delaware Park, at the corner of Meadow Rd. and Nottingham Terr. (Metro Bus 11, 25 or 32). Daily 9AM-10PM in season. Opened in July 2014 on the site of the former Juicery, the Delaware Park branch location of Ashker's Juice Bar (operated in conjunction with Dan McCormick of Santora's Pizza and the ubiquitous Mark Goldman) has proven to be an instant hit with joggers and bicyclists on Meadow Drive as well as golfers at the Delaware Park Golf Course. The Elmwood Village flagship location's menu of juices and smoothies are expanded on with a selection of gourmet sandwiches and salads whose names pay homage to the Buffalo oeuvre of Frederick Law Olmsted, the renowned landscape architect responsible for Delaware Park. For instance, "The Bidwell" sees ham, salami and cappicola piled onto a baguette and topped with provolone, roasted red peppers, cornichons, arugula, and homemade vinaigrette, and "The Cazenovia" is a classic Greek salad with red onions, tomatoes, feta, and Kalamata olives. As for the juices and smoothies, they're culled from the best and most popular of the offerings at the originbal Ashker's — yes, this includes the Zinger and the basil lemonade — and filtered water is offered free of charge to all. Best of all is the verdant ambience: there are few things in Buffalo more relaxing than sipping on a cold drink on these shady picnic benches, with the panoramic expanse of the Meadow in front of you. $10-15.
- Vino's, 1652 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 332-2166. W-Sa 5PM-9PM. Vino's is a small restaurant, easily missable and in a fairly out-of-the-way location, with a limited menu and seemingly never open — and Buffalonians can't get enough. They crowd into the place whenever it's open, and many of them call it the best Italian restaurant in the city. Why? Simply put, what is served here is authentic homestyle Italian cuisine that is absolutely delicious and available for unbelievable prices. Entrees emphasize pasta dishes; particular favorites among Vino's regulars are the spaghetti with pesto sauce, lobster ravioli, and the spicy "Charles diavolo". Appetizers and desserts are equally lauded, and true to the restaurant's name, a small but delightful selection of wines and sangrias are also on the menu. But perhaps the thing about Vino's that is loved most warmly by locals are the owners, Kathleen and Tony, who truly go the extra mile to ensure that guests are welcomed and attended to with the sincerest regard. $15-25.
- Oliver's, 2095 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 25 or 32), ☎ +1 716 877-9662. M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-midnight, Su 4:30PM-9:30PM. "Fine Dining in the Old-School Tradition" is Oliver's credo, and true to form, it is one of the most elegant restaurants in Buffalo, with prices to match. With myriad different permutations of Continental cuisine present on the menu, Oliver's is a foodie's dream come true, with veal milanese, strozzapreti, and foie gras torchon among the most popular delicacies on offer. The wine list is, to quote the restaurant's website, "deeper than deep". Oliver's also prides itself as one of Buffalo's best caterers. $25-75.
The following local chain restaurants have locations in Park Meadow. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.
- Bagel Jay's, 2130 Delaware Ave. (At Marshall's Plaza; Metro Bus 25 or 32), ☎ +1 716 874-1800. M-F 6:30AM-5PM, Sa-Su 7AM-4PM.
The following pizzerias are located in Park Meadow. Those who are interested in pizza delivery (as opposed to pickup) might want to also check listings in adjacent districts; local pizzerias will often deliver to several different neighborhoods of the city.
- Jet's Pizza, 2165 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 25 or 32), ☎ +1 716 877-6700. Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight.
- Fairy Cakes, 289 Parkside Ave (Metro Bus 11 or 32), ☎ +1 716 688-0361. W-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Located right across the street from the Buffalo Zoo and a couple doors down from Sweetness 7, Fairy Cakes Cupcakery is a cute little café that features a fireside lounge and a cupcake bar and that differentiates itself from Buffalo's other cupcake outfits with flavors that are even more creative than its competition (their "Pancakes and Bacon" cupcake is topped with maple buttercream and real bacon, and their "Original Buffalo Hot Wing Cake" is a seductive marriage of rich chocolate and spicy cayenne pepper), a selection of "adults only" cupcakes whose recipes incorporate rum and other alcoholic ingredients, and, interestingly enough, a beverage selection which includes no fewer than 30 varieties of loose-leaf tea. A modest selection of other desserts are available. The consensus on Fairy Cakes is that the cupcakes are not quite as rich and flavorful as Firefly's are, but if nothing else, this place is worth a visit if only to experience the whimsical decor: an almost dollhouse-like setup in cheery pastel colors, you'd expect nothing less from a place named "Fairy Cakes"! $5-15.
- Parkside Meadow, 2 Russell St. (Metro Bus 11 or 32), ☎ +1 716 834-8348. M & W-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su brunch noon-3PM. In the words of Buffalo Rising, "dinner with a side of nostalgia" is the order of the day at the Parkside Meadow. Let's talk nostalgia first: this place opened in September 2015 on the site of the similarly named Park Meadow bar, but those who may be familiar with that longtime neighborhood stalwart can be reassured that they're in for a much more relaxed experience than the rowdy frat-boy hijinks they may remember. Owners Nancy Abramo and Len Mattie had their work cut out for them when they bought the place — it had been vacant since 1991 and had seen better days — but not only did they painstakingly restore the building to its former glory, but they filled the interior with such a vast collection of old-Buffalo postcards, photographs, and artifacts that it may as well be considered a satellite location of the Buffalo History Museum. As for the food, head chef Stephen Dulanski, fresh off the success of his run at new downtown hotspot Toutant, has created a menu that is informed but not confined by the classic Buffalo pub grub that defines those bygone days, yet has improved on that template with food impeccably crafted using high-quality ingredients. Sandwiches rule the roost at Parkside Meadow: the reuben features tender, rosy corned beef piled high on thick-sliced, griddled-to-perfection rye, with Russian dressing and sauerkraut that add balanced notes without overpowering the flavor of the meat; meanwhile, in the pulled pork sandwich the spicy and peppery barbecue sauce that the meat is cooked in is tempered with cool, crunchy coleslaw. There are some creative touches too: the shaved lamb sandwich comes on toasted sourdough with melted Havarti cheese and spearmint aioli, for example, and the roasted leek and shiitake farfalle with Madeira cream sauce shows that Parkside Meadow can do more than just sandwiches. Service is excellent even when they're busy (which is pretty much all the time), and the downhome neighborhood friendliness of the staff is yet another reminder of olden times. $15-35.
The popular Hertel Avenue strip can be seen as a middle ground between the upscale, relaxed Elmwood Village and the rowdy, (some might say) seedy Chippewa Street. Aside from the ubiquitous Italian restaurants that line Hertel Avenue, visitors to the bars in "Little Italy" will definitely meet their share of Jersey Shore types.
- Bob & John's La Hacienda, 1545 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 836-5411.
- Checkers, 1854 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 836-9394.
- Colonie Lounge, 1795 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 862-0987. Bar, gentlemen's club, cigar bar.
- Del's, 1553 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 837-5360.
- Gabels, 1285 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 874-3010.
- Gecko's Bar & Grille, 1464 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 835-9073.
- Mel's Tavern, 1316 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 877-9235.
- M. T. Pockets, 1519 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 838-4658.
- Nor-Tel Grille, 732 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ +1 716 877-9495.
- Public House of Buffalo, 1206 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 551-6208.
- Shadow Lounge, 1504 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 835-3975.
- Sidebar, 1459 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 835-1995.
- The Sterling, 1487 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 833-1307.
- Wellington Pub, 1541 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 833-9899.
Along with Hertel Avenue's emergence as a strong second-place on the list of lively commercial strips in Buffalo has come the emergence of a robust coffee culture, with a wide and growing range of options available up and down the strip.
- Bella Mia, 1096 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 447-0922. M-Th 11AM-8PM, F-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su noon-7PM.
- Daily Planet Coffee Company, 1862 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 551-0661. M-Th 7AM-9, F 7AM-10PM, Sa 8AM-10PM.
- SPoT Coffee, 1406 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 551-6275. Su-Th 6AM-11PM, F-Sa 7AM-midnight.
- Sahara Hookah Lounge, 1177 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 877-7143. M-Th 4:30PM-1AM, F-Sa 4:30PM-2AM.
Delaware and Elmwood Avenues
If you're in the mood for a less prefab bar experience than Applebee's, there are also a number of lively neighborhood watering holes on Delaware Avenue and Military Road.
- Amity Club, 340 Military Rd. (Metro Bus 3 or 23), ☎ +1 716 877-9025. A "non-alcoholic bar" serving soda, energy drinks, juice, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate as well as simple food from the grill. The $4 monthly membership fee entitles you to 25% off drinks.
- Dill's Military Road Tavern, 362 Military Rd. (Metro Bus 3 or 23), ☎ +1 716 877-9708.
- Gordon's, 2263 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 874-3020.
- Kelly's Korner, 2526 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 877-9466.
- Maggie's, 715 Military Rd. (Metro Bus 3 or 5), ☎ +1 716 877-9258.
- Murray's Tavern, 2455 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 877-9235.
Over the past decade or two, the formerly vibrant University Heights bar scene has been reduced to a shadow of its old self by competition from the much larger and more popular Chippewa Street entertainment district located a quick 15-minute subway ride from the South Campus, as well as sharply increased enforcement of underage drinking laws by the Buffalo Police that has seen liquor licenses pulled from popular University Heights bars like P. J. Bottoms and most recently Mojo's. Still, there are a few hardy holdouts along Main Street that see their share of UB students and other neighborhood types on weekend nights.
- Broadway Joe's, 3051 Main St. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 836-9555.
- The Steer, 3151 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 838-0478.
- Surrender, 3148 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 371-1880.
Sadly, the coffeeshop scene in University Heights is dominated by national chains — the dueling powerhouses Tim Hortons and Dunkin' Donuts both do an extremely brisk business at their respective locations just across from the South Campus. Caffeine aficionados in search of something more distinctive have only one option in the area: a similar, but locally-owned, coffee-and-doughnut operation at the other end of the strip.
- Famous Doughnuts, 3043 Main St. (Metro Bus 8 or 23; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 834-6356. M-F 6:30AM-6:30PM, Sa 6:30AM-2PM, Su noon-4PM.
- Habibi of the Nile Hookah & Tobacco Lounge, 3124 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 837-2027. M-Sa 7PM-4AM, Su noon-4AM.
- Habibi Sheesha Lounge, 3550 Main St., Amherst (At University Plaza; Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 768-3231. M-Th 6PM-1AM, F-Sa 6PM-2:30AM.
- Pierce Pub, 1680 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☎ +1 716 259-8295.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
For those who absolutely need to sleep in North Buffalo, the options are quite limited. However, there is a much wider range of lodgings in the nearby towns of Amherst (a variety of mostly mid-range chain properties around Exits 6 and 7 of Interstate 290) and Tonawanda (some budget motels of varying quality near I-290 Exit 1 and I-190 Exit 15).
- University Manor Inn, 3612 Main St., Amherst (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 837-3344. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Continental breakfast, fax service. All rooms contain coffee maker; suites with kitchens and microwave available on request. Convenient to University at Buffalo South Campus and multiple public transit lines; shuttle to UB North Campus and airport available on request. $79-89/night.
- Foundry Suites, 1738 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 23), ☎ +1 716 240-9693. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. "Industrial chic" is the name of the game at the former General Railway Signal Company factory, a Nationally Registered Historic Place that's been thoroughly renovated into a mix of offices, apartments and this little boutique hotel. The Foundry Suites has only ten rooms, but they're all beauties: one- or two-bedroom suites custom-decorated in Mid-Century Modern style by the staff of Buffalo's own Coo Coo U, with full-kitchens, floor-to-ceiling windows (the best of which look on to a beautiful tree-lined courtyard with a fountain in the middle), flat-screen HDTVs, and what must be the most luxurious bedding and linens you can find in Buffalo. By day, the "Foundry Lounge" downstairs features coffee in a relaxing ambience; by night you can enjoy a rousing game of pool while bartenders whip you up an upscale mixed drink. The Foundry Suites also provides guests with free parking, free concierge service, free passes to LA Fitness, and a 24-hour business center. Also, the location, while it may seem out-of-the-way at first glance, is quite convenient: the boutiques and restaurants of the Elmwood Village and Hertel Avenue, the greenery of Delaware Park, and the cultural attractions of the Museum District are all within easy striking distance. $249-269/night.
- The Parkside House, 462 Woodward Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 32), ☎ +1 716 480-9507. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Christopher Lavey, Johnny Mora, and their three dogs operate the Parkside House, one of Buffalo's most charming B&B's, in a restored Queen Anne-style house from the 1890s. Located on the curving, leafy streets of the historic neighborhood of Parkside, within walking distance of Delaware Park, the Buffalo Zoo, and Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural masterpiece, the Darwin D. Martin House, the three units of the Parkside House are large and airy, and boast comfortable yet contemporary furnishings, plasma televisions, and full private baths. Common areas include the dining room, where a sumptuous breakfast is served daily, and a front porch. Wireless Internet access is available throughout the property. Limited off-street parking. $140-160/night.
The North Park Branch Library is located at 975 Hertel Ave., a few doors down from Hippodrome Billiards in the plaza at the southwest corner of Hertel and Delaware Aves. In addition to free Wi-Fi, the library contains a 15-seat computer lab with Internet access, as well as three "Internet Express" computers in the main part of the library.
Despite the fact that Buffalo's crime rate has fallen steadily since the 1990s, it is still higher than the national average for cities its size. That being the case, North Buffalo is generally among the lowest-crime areas of the city. In particular, for a district with as active a nightlife scene as Hertel Avenue, the bars are laid-back and draw a much more sophisticated crowd than the Chippewa strip, and drunken violence is nearly unknown.
University Heights is an exception to this rule, with a crime rate that is above average even by Buffalo standards. The bars there, while far fewer in number than those on Hertel, are noticeably rowdier and grittier. However, crime in University Heights is mostly characterized by muggings and home burglaries, with violent crime comparatively rare. The area near the corner of Hertel Avenue and Military Road (far to the west of the Hertel Avenue strip) is another minor area of concern. The same as any urban area, visitors to any part of North Buffalo should use common sense — lock car doors, keep valuables out of sight, keep your wits about you in general.
Compared to other crowded shopping and dining areas, Hertel Avenue is almost completely free of panhandlers — this author would be hard-pressed to name a single time he has been solicited for spare change on Hertel. Beggars do turn up occasionally in University Heights, especially the closer you get to the University Metro Rail Station, but even there the situation is nothing like the Elmwood Village or Allentown. If you do encounter a panhandler, there is little to fear — they are rarely aggressive. If you don't want to give, a firm "no" almost always suffices.
The North Buffalo Courier is a free weekly newspaper that covers neighborhood news and views, high school, amateur, and Buffalo State College sports, event listings, local news from outside North Buffalo courtesy of other Community Papers of Western New York publications, and classified ads.
Published every Thursday, the North Buffalo Rocket is another weekly source for neighborhood news, editorials, classified ads, a police blotter, and other matters pertaining to North Buffalo.
For medical emergencies that most travelers may encounter, the nearest hospitals are Sisters of Charity Hospital at 2157 Main St. in Hamlin Park, and Kenmore Mercy Hospital at 2950 Elmwood Ave. in Tonawanda.
- Buffalo VA Medical Center, 3495 Bailey Ave. (Metro Bus 12, 13, or 19; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 834-9200. Opened in 1950 in the wake of World War II, the Buffalo VA Medical Center is affiliated with UB Medical School and provides medical, surgical, mental health, and long-term care services to veterans of the United States military under the aegis of the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Buffalo's medical center is the VA system's main place of referral in Upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania for veterans in need of cardiac surgery, cardiology, and comprehensive cancer care.
Laundry and dry cleaning
- Abbas Tailor, 1183 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 464-8869. Offers dry cleaning services.
Delaware and Elmwood Avenues
- Becker EZ Wash Laundry, 2412 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 873-2116. Laundromat daily 24 hours, dry cleaner daily 7AM-10PM.
- College Laundry, 3218 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 883-0060. M-Sa 8AM-6PM.
Kenmore Avenue area
- Corvette Cleaners, 530 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5), ☎ +1 716 838-2211. M-F 7AM-6PM, Sa 7:30AM-3PM.
- The Laundry Basket Too, 860 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5), ☎ +1 716 876-6322. M-F 8AM-10PM, Sa-Su 7:30AM-10PM.
- Wesselmann Cleaners, 564 Colvin Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 11), ☎ +1 716 875-3141. M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa 7:30AM-5PM.
- Chayban's Nye Park Cleaners, 2119 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 11, 25 or 32), ☎ +1 716 464-9973. Tu-Th 7:30AM-6PM, F 10PM-6PM, Sa 9AM-2PM.
- Dial Cleaners, 2496 Main St. (Metro Bus 8, 23 or 32; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ +1 716 838-4800. M-Sa 7AM-7PM.
Places of worship
Mirroring the demographics of the Niagara Frontier as a whole, religious life in North Buffalo is dominated by the Roman Catholic church, with no fewer than five parishes located within its bounds. Far from the aging, moribund congregations to be found in other parts of the inner city, North Buffalo's Catholic churches retain a remarkable degree of vitality.
- Holy Spirit RC Church, 91 Dakota St. (Metro Bus 23 or 25), ☎ +1 716 875-8102. Mass Su 11AM, Sa 4PM, Tu & F 8AM, W 6:15PM. Founded in 1910, Holy Spirit Catholic Church was for many years the site of a shrine to Saint Rita, a pilgrimage site for local faithful who came to venerate her as the "patron saint of lost and impossible causes".
- St. Joseph University Parish RC Church, 3269 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 833-0298. Mass Su 8:30AM, 10AM, 11:30AM, also 8PM when school is in session at UB; Sa 4:30PM; M-F 8:30AM in chapel. Founded in 1850 as a country church in what was then a rural area, St. Joseph University Parish actually predates by over half a century the UB South Campus, next to which it is located today. With an identity that fundamentally emphasizes the welcoming of visitors and new members to its flock, St. Joseph mirrors the constitution of the University Heights neighborhood as a whole, with a congregation that is surprisingly progressive and diverse given the traditional reputation of Buffalo's Catholic community.
- St. Margaret RC Church, 1395 Hertel Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 876-5318. Mass Su 8AM & 9:30AM; Sa, M & Th 8AM. Serving the Catholics of North Buffalo from its location in the center of the Hertel Avenue strip (its slogan, the "Heart of North Buffalo", is an apt one), St. Margaret Church was named after the late sister of former Buffalo bishop Charles Colton, a personal friend of its founding priest, Rev. Thomas Timmons. It remains one of the most active Catholic congregations in the City of Buffalo.
- St. Mark RC Church, 401 Woodward Ave. (Metro Bus 32), ☎ +1 716 836-1600. Mass Su 9AM & noon; Sa 4PM; M, W & F 7AM. Parkside's Catholic congregation meets in a robust English Gothic-style church whose bell tower rises 88 feet (27m) above Amherst Street. Linked since 2010 with St. Rose of Lima Church a short distance to the north, the vitality of parish life at St. Mark is attested to by the activity among the congregation of such organizations as the Boy Scouts, the Legion of Mary, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Visitors are always welcome at this friendly faith community.
- St. Rose of Lima RC Church, 500 Parker Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 834-6688. Mass Su 7:30AM & 10:30AM, Sa 5:30PM, Tu-Th 8AM. The youngest Catholic congregation in North Buffalo, St. Rose of Lima was founded in 1926, with a school staffed for many years by the Sisters of Charity of Montréal — the famous Grey Nuns. Always an active force in the surrounding neighborhood that grew up alongside it, St. Rose of Lima remains a vibrant congregation that's engaged in the community.
Protestant churches in North Buffalo are most concentrated in Parkside and Central Park, whose populations still include a considerable number of old-money WASPs. Similarly, the Protestant congregations in University Heights draw a good deal of their parishioners from similarly affluent nearby suburbs such as Eggertsville, Snyder, and Kenmore.
- Central Park United Methodist Church, 216 Beard Ave. (Metro Bus 8, 23 or 32; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ +1 716 833-3193. Services Su 10:30AM. Headquartered in a lovely English Gothic edifice with exquisitely ornate art-glass windows, Central Park United Methodist Church is considered the cathedral church for Methodism in Buffalo. A diverse and welcoming congregation, Central Park Methodist Church truly lives out its mission of outreach to the community through its mentoring program for at-risk students at nearby Bennett High School, its partnership with the Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida in service to the Spanish-speaking community of Buffalo's West Side, and its support for worthwhile organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous, and Journey's End Refugee Services.
- Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 96 Jewett Pkwy. (Metro Bus 8 or 11; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ +1 716 833-1151. Services Su 8:30AM & 10:30AM. Founded in 1888 on land donated by Elam Jewett, the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd is a longstanding cornerstone of the Parkside neighborhood. An architectural wonder, this stout Romanesque edifice was designed by the Syracuse-based architectural firm of Silsbee and Marling and boasts several lovely stained-glass windows designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Darwin D. Martin, whose Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house is located kitty-corner from here, was a parishioner in the early days. With the Reverend Catherine Dempesy-Sims at the helm, the Church of the Good Shepherd, like many of Buffalo's Protestant congregations, is a progressive, diverse and accepting faith community (describing itself as "a place of welcome to all, no exceptions") which is active in a wide range of charitable and neighborhood-improvement organizations and initiatives.
- North Park Lutheran Church, 310 Starin Ave. (Metro Bus 23), ☎ +1 716 836-2785. Services Su 10:45AM. North Park Lutheran Church has traditionally been a congregation whose outsize sense of community — both within the congregation and as a component of the larger community — belies its small size. A choice of traditional and contemporary worship services are held by this church whose zeal for sharing their faith and love for the community is really remarkable. Visitors are welcomed with open arms.
- Parkside Lutheran Church, 2 Wallace Ave. (Metro Bus 23 or 32), ☎ +1 716 836-1361. Services Su 10AM. Founded in 1912 as a mission of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church on the Near East Side, the congregation of Parkside Lutheran Church met for several years in the building later known as the Fairfield Branch Library before the construction of the stately Tudor Gothic stone church in Central Park in which it is currently situated. Today, Parkside's energetic young pastor, Nate Preisinger, leads a progressive and inclusive congregation that is as dedicated to reaching out to the larger community as it is to rolling out the welcome mat to regular parishioners and first-time visitors alike.
- St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 3107 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: LaSalle), ☎ +1 716 834-9337. Services Su 8AM & 10:30AM. St. Andrew's describes itself aptly as a "spiritual oasis", warmly opening its doors to visitors of all stripes. Founded in 1875 as an anomaly — an English-speaking Episcopalian congregation on the East Side, which in those days was largely German and Catholic — St. Andrew's has been a University Heights landmark (and, in fact, a Nationally Registered Historic Place) since the construction half a century later of the elegant Gothic Revival building it currently calls home. St. Andrew's pastor, Ellen Brauza, leads a faith community which is, in the words of the church itself, "friendly, diverse and inspirational". Two types of services are held each Sunday: a modern, simplified one bright and early, then traditional "high church" later in the morning.
- University Presbyterian Church, 3330 Main St. (Metro Bus 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 34, 44, 47 or 48; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 836-7660. Services Su 10AM. University Presbyterian Church was founded at an opportune time — almost simultaneous to the purchase of the old Erie County Alms House across the street by the University of Buffalo for use as their new campus. A longstanding neighborhood landmark, University Presbyterian is a gorgeous Colonial-style church building whose 70-foot (21m) bell tower stands sentinel over Main Street. Its identity bears many similarities to that of the college across the street, providing a caring, tolerant, diverse, and intellectually stimulating environment for worship, public service, and loving outreach to university students as well as other members of the community.
- The Church in Buffalo, 2540 Main St. (Metro Bus 8, 23 or 32; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ +1 716 870-2540. Meetings Su 10AM (English) & 11AM (Mandarin). The oldest extant building in North Buffalo — the Washington Russell House on Main Street in the Vernon Triangle — is now the meeting hall (don't say "church"; which, according to the website, is a word reserved for the congregation itself) of The Church in Buffalo, a nondenominational, heterogeneous community of Bible-believing born-again Christians who hold one service each on Sundays in English and Mandarin Chinese. Visitors are welcome to those "Lord's Day meetings" as well as special weekly functions for young people (Saturdays) and UB students (Wednesdays).
- Evangelical Christian Church of Buffalo, 351 Tacoma Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 875-5740. Services Su 11AM, W 7PM, Sa 6PM. Though multiethnic today, the Evangelical Christian Church of Buffalo was founded in 1990 by a motley group of newly landed refugees from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and other regions of the soon-to-be-former Soviet Union, led by pastor Leonid Ostrapovich. Today, Pentecostal services and Sunday school classes for children are held in English and Russian in the former Ahavas Achim Lubavitz Synagogue on Tacoma Avenue, the church's home since 2002. Visitors, Slavic and otherwise, are welcomed enthusiastically.
Parkside is home to a majority of North Buffalo's black churches — particularly the blocks close to Main Street, which serves as the district's boundary with the East Side, long a stronghold of Buffalo's African-American community. There are perhaps half a dozen of these churches in the area; listed here are two of the largest.
- Gospel Temple Church of God in Christ, 143 Beard Ave. (Metro Bus 8, 23 or 32; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ +1 716 833-3302. Services Su 11:05AM & 7PM. The former home of the Parkside Baptist Church, a stout Romanesque edifice in handsome stone that dates to 1894, is now the home of the Gospel Temple Church of God in Christ. Led by Pastor Willie James Flurence, the Gospel Temple's services, which take place on Sundays at 11:05AM and 6:45PM as well as Friday nights at 7PM, are a mélange of traditional and contemporary styles of ministry and music. Special ministries for children and young adults also take place on a weekly basis.
- North Buffalo Community Church, 350 Kenmore Ave. (Metro Bus 5 or 34; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 833-6598. Services Su 10:30AM. Kenmore Avenue in University Heights is where this small but tight-knit community of believers, led by Pastor William H. Smith, has been situated since its foundation in 1994. With services every Sunday at 10:30AM, small-group ministries catering to young people, men, and other specialized sectors of the church population, and extensive community outreach programs, the primary dedication of the North Buffalo Community Church is evangelism. Affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the North Buffalo Community Church is a friendly congregation that, while primarily African-American in constitution, is multiethnic and welcomes all to its lively services.
- St. George Orthodox Church, 2 Nottingham Terrace (Metro Bus 11 or 32), ☎ +1 716 875-4222. Services Su 10AM. St. George Orthodox Church began its life in 1913 in Black Rock, serving a small enclave of immigrants from Romania, and found strength in 1963 through its merger with a Russian Orthodox congregation whose struggle with small size and declining membership mirrored its own. An affiliate of the Orthodox Church in America, St. George describes itself today as a "pan-Orthodox" church that is a syncretic combination of the traditional liturgies of many Eastern faiths. The Rev. Jason Vansuch leads services in their modern building in Park Meadow, immediately adjacent to Delaware Park, where worshipers of all stripes are enthusiastically welcomed.
Though it's not the hotbed of Semitic culture that it was 50 or 75 years ago, Hertel Avenue and the adjacent side streets retain several synagogues — primarily dealing in the same strain of Orthodox Judaism that has always characterized Jewish North Buffalo.
- Chabad. An Orthodox ministry connected with the University of Buffalo, Chabad is especially active in North Buffalo:
- Chabad House — UB Jewish Student Center, 3288 Main St. (Metro Bus 8; Metro Rail: University), ☎ +1 716 833-8334. Founded in 1971, the UB South Campus' Jewish Student Center provides services to the entire diverse gamut of UB's Jewish student population regardless of affiliation in a warm, inviting, and relaxed atmosphere. Lectures, workshops, symposia, and other special events are also held or sponsored on a frequent basis.
- Knesset Center (Bais Haknesset Hagadol), 500 Starin Ave. (Metro Bus 5), ☎ +1 716 832-5063. Shachrit M-F 7:30AM, Sa 10AM, Su 8AM; mincha and maariv daily 15 minutes before sunset. Chabad also operates this Orthodox synagogue on Starin Avenue just south of Kenmore Avenue, with two Shabbat services held weekly: the small, intimate Saturday morning services (followed by a hearty lunch!) provide a quieter counterpoint to the busy, lively Friday evening ones. Midweek services are also held.
- Congregation Achei T'mimim (Saranac Synagogue), 85 Saranac Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 23), ☎ +1 716 876-1284. Describing its approach as "a fresh take on traditional Jewish values", Congregation Achei T'mimim was founded in 1911 as among the first of what would soon be many synagogues serving a thriving Jewish community in North Buffalo — in point of fact, it is the only remaining unaffiliated Orthodox shul in the entire city. Though it is Ashkenazi Orthodox in constitution, Achei T'mimim welcomes Jews of all stripes, regardless of ethnic or denominational differences, to their still-vibrant services which take place Fridays at sundown as well as Saturday mornings at 9:30AM.
- Masjid At-Taqwa, 40 Parker Ave. (Metro Bus 8, 23 or 32; Metro Rail: Amherst Street), ☎ +1 716 836-9789. Located in Central Park, At-Taqwa is a traditional Sunni mosque, including formal jum'a, with a multicultural congregation and services in English. The building was a private residence before being purchased in the 1970s by the Islamic Society of the Niagara Frontier and is now a mainstay of the local Muslim community. It's still easily mistakable for an ordinary house, however, and there's no real exterior signage.
Are you a fan of the mansions in Park Meadow and Central Park, and thirsty for more? In the Delaware District, Millionaire's Row (located along Delaware Avenue between Bryant and North Streets) and Lincoln Parkway (just south of Delaware Park) are a pair of National Historic Districts that boast mansions even more luxurious than the most palatial ones in North Buffalo. Architecture buffs will marvel at these beautifully preserved examples of turn-of-the-century upper-class residential design.
Like the shopping and nightlife on Hertel Avenue? The Elmwood Village centers on a 1.8-mile (3 km) stretch of Elmwood Avenue that's even more densely packed with boutiques, bars, and restaurants than Hertel. In contrast to the antique shops and trendy furniture galleries of Hertel, the Elmwood Village's stock in trade is high-end, fashion-forward clothing boutiques catering to hip, upscale urbanites — alongside which are found some of Buffalo's most cutting-edge restaurants.
Located immediately north of the city, Kenmore was Buffalo's first real suburb: its history can be traced back to 1889, when real estate speculator Louis P. A. Eberhardt purchased a tract of farmland at the corner of Delaware Avenue and Town Line Road (today's Kenmore Avenue), at the center of which the National Register-listed Eberhardt Mansion still stands. But Kenmore is far from the faceless tract of cookie-cutter housing most people picture when they hear the word "suburb" — Delaware Avenue, the main drag through the village, is a lively strip of shops and restaurants that combines urban hipness (in an accessible, Hertel Avenue way; not a pretentious, Elmwood Village way) with small-town charm.
Eggertsville and Snyder are two more of Buffalo's earliest suburbs, centered along Main Street between University Heights and Williamsville and with a history that dates back to the 1910s and '20s. Those who noticed the verdant streets and ample houses in North Buffalo's University Park Historic District will find more of the same here — the homes in Eggertsville and Snyder have mostly retained their comfortable middle- and upper-middle-class luster, and seven of the distinctive stone gates that stand at the entrances to the side streets off Main have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Eggertsville is also the site of the Museum of disABILITY History, an uplifting collection of exhibits focusing on the accomplishments of Americans with disabilities.