Around Town: Buffalo eats edition
Explore Buffalo's neighborhoods through restaurants
Us poor college students can only handle so much campus food and it’s likely you’ve already reached your saturation point. Luckily, whether you’re at North, South or City campus, you’re just a few minutes away from a delicious, inexpensive meal. Sometimes, the best part of eating out is discovering a new area of the city, so here’s a list of tasty eats broken down by area.
Since Hallmark designated February as the month of love and romance, it might be a good idea to start planning ahead for the big day. Just Vino, at 846 Main St., is a wine bar with more than 80 wines from Australia, Europe and North America – perfect for a romantic night out with a lover or a fun night with friends.
Don’t be fooled – Just Vino is more than just wine. If you’re more of a beer drinker, Just Vino has a small beer list, including local favorites Flying Bison Aviator Red and Southern Tier 2x IPA, and European choices like Hoegaarden and Hofbrau Hefe Weizen.
The wine bar also offers up an impressive menu of small plates, ranging from a $3 cookie sampler to a European cheese platter for $13.50. From Buffalo favorites (like a chicken wing twice baked potato – say what?), to Cajun shrimp pasta to three types of wine pie, all the taste buds will be satisfied.
Fat Bob’s Smokehouse
Fat Bob’s Smokehouse is home to some of the best hamburgers and barbecued fairs in the city. Although the narrow street Fat Bob’s calls home – 41 Virginia Place off of Allen Street – fills up quickly with food-seeking patrons, a short walk in the freezing Buffalo air will be rewarded with delicious, massive meals.
If you’re ready to spend some money, for $19.99 you can get a 12 oz. NY strip steak, topped with Tabasco fried onions and Fat Bob’s homemade steak sauce. Combo platters, ranging between $17.99 and $20.49, give you choices of meats and two sides letting you taste all the flavors of barbeque.
For a simpler, and slightly less expensive dinner, Fat Bob’s burgers are large but never too much. My personal favorite is the BBQ Bacon Burger – topped with KC BBQ sauce, Tabasco fried onions and cheddar cheese for just $9.99. The sides that come with the meals are spectacular, like a heaping bowl of baked beans or hand-cut sweet potato fries.
English Pork Pie Company and British Chippy
What is today the “Best of British Shop in America” of 2010, 2011 and 2012 and the 2010 and 2012 winner of the “Best of British Shop in the World” began in a garage in Vermont. After moving from Vermont to a bakery in upstate New York, the English Pork Pie Company (EPPC) has planted itself at 1216 South Park Ave., in South Buffalo. EPPC sells English fare that you can take home and cook yourself, like Scotch eggs, sausages and various meat pies.
At the same location is British Chippy, where you can get “proper fish and chips,” with fish imported from Iceland and locally sourced potatoes. An entrée of “proper fish and chips” is $12, but you can also sit down and try some other British classics like Yorkshire Fish Cake for $3.95 or Cornish Pasty and Chips for $10. The restaurant’s website boasts that all of the décor, salt and vinegar shakers and the inkless newspaper the fish and chips are served on are imported from the UK.
Although Buffalo is known for its massive fish fry Fridays during lent, British Chippy provides a new alternative to fish.
Delicious Puerto Rican food for under $10 sounds like a college student’s dream. Niagara Café, at 525 Niagara St. on Buffalo’s lower West Side, has won the Taste of Buffalo twice and was voted #1 Hispanic restaurant by Artvoice. The well-established restaurant, which opened in 1992, is a neighborhood favorite and a hidden gem of the city.
Appetizers and sides range from $2 for Relleno de Papa (potato with beef) or Pastelillo (claimed to be the best in the city) to $8 for a large side of rice, so you can sample a large selection of Puerto Rican food for very little money. Dinners cost between $9 and $10, including Bistec Encebollado (marinated steak with onions), Carne Frita (fried pork) and Camarones Fritos (fried breaded shrimp). If you go with a larger group of friends, split the Family Package which includes a whole chicken, large rice and beans for just $15.
Break’n Eggs Creperie
Even though weekend waits can often be more than 45 minutes to enter the restaurant, Break’n Eggs Creperie is one of the best spots for breakfast and brunch in the Buffalo region. The restaurant is only a five-minute drive from North campus at 5235 Main St. in Williamsville.
Dessert lovers will swoon over Break’n Eggs’ dessert crepes, like the Dulce de leche crepe filled with apples, candied walnuts and caramel sauce for $6.75 and the Smores crepe, stuffed with melted chocolate, marshmallow fluff, graham cracker crumbs and topped with chocolate sauce for $6.25.
For those looking for a little more substance and a little less sugar in their breakfast, the classic breakfast crepe for $10.50 is a solid choice as it is filled with two eggs, a choice of cheese and served with ham, bacon or sausage, home fries and fresh fruit. Savory crepes and crepes benedict provide options for some rather interesting and complex dishes. You can also build your own crepe or go with other breakfast classics like French toast or buttermilk pancakes.
Taste and Medici House
A trip to the adorable village of East Aurora wouldn’t be complete without stopping in Taste for one of their many hot drink selections or having dinner at Medici House (formerly Tantalus). The two establishments are next door to each other, so if you have to wait for a table at Medici House, grab a coffee, tea or espresso drink and hang out and check out the local art hanging on the walls.
Medici House has a massive menu with dinner entrees topping $25 a meal but you can also choose from generous servings of pasta dishes, signature pizzas, calzones, soup, salads and Sirloin burgers. Most meals are between $13 and $20. Stop by for lunch and you’ll be picking from quiche, pasta, grilled salmon, steak, sandwiches and wraps. With intriguing sounding foods like drunken clams, apricot tenderloin, vodka sacchettini and the tart cherries, blue and manchego pie, you’re definitely going to find a new favorite at Medici House.
Medici House also boasts the largest selection of beer in the Southtowns, according to the restaurant’s website. You can choose from more than 250 bottled or canned beer but 17 rotating taps. The bar specializes in “premium and ultra-premium liquors and spirits,” according to the website.