Buffalo is not a new city. In fact, it’s so old that they have a place called Ulrich’s 1868 Tavern. The 1868 means it first opened in 1868, you know, three years after the Civil War concluded and the first year of the Meiji Restoration. So the place is old, and despite some recent renovations, Ulrich’s definitely maintains the old world charm that makes it easy to picture old shipmen in the 1800s hanging out with Buffalo wenches.
In a little part of town called Allentown (not that Allentown) lies a place known to have some of the best chicken wings in Buffalo. It’s called Gabriel’s Gate, which likely has some sort of heavenly connotations. And if heaven is filled with chicken wings, I will do my damnedest to get there. It was easy to get a seat at the bar to eat and after a conversation with the bartender my buddy and I decided what to order.
Elmwood Village is definitely one of the cooler parts of Buffalo, with lots of cool shops and restaurants. One of these restaurants is a gastropub known as Blue Monk. Where the name comes from, I cannot say, because a look at the menu might have led me to think it should be called Blue Duck (in the style of Billy Madison). That’s because half of the menu items seemed to be duck-based.
It’s easy to make a sandwich special by putting unique items into it. I still applaud places like that, but it something even more special to take a pretty basic sandwich and make it exceptional. I always loved Bay Cities for doing this in LA (in no small part because of the bread), and while it is nothing at all like Bay Cities, I have found a place that follows the same mold in Buffalo. It is called John & Mary’s Subs, and while it seems like your average Buffalo subs and tacos spot, I found my sub to be much more.
Mexican food and subs seems to be a combination prevalent in Buffalo. In trying to account for this, I’ve come to the conclusion that both are delicious after a few drinks. Still, a lot of things are delicious after tossing a few back, so I’m not quite sure how this combination formed. Nonetheless, the curiosity brought me to Elmwood Taco & Subs in Elmwood Village, where they have another surprise to throw in with the tacos and sandies.
Beef on Weck may sound like some sort of disgusting mistake, but it’s really just roast beef on a roll with salt and carraway seed. Despite its relative simplicity, it’s a huge deal up here in Western New York. One of the supposed best is Charlie the Butcher, which has more than a few locations around town, including one in East Aurora. The East Aurora location, though, is is an express and resides within a gas station.
Over in Lewiston for a nice little night of music in the Artpark, I found my way to a food truck called Macarollin’. Interestingly enough, this truck wasn’t some old school taco truck, but more of a U-Haul truck, which I’m guessing had to go through some sort of crazing zoning board before getting to sell food. But I digress, Macarollin’ served only four things on their menu and they were all varieties of mac and cheese. This was a good thing, because I hate it when food trucks try to do to much.
In my continuing quest for Buffalo’s best BBQ, I made my way to Fat Bob’s Smokehouse with a few guys. Unlike Dinosaur, Fat Bob’s is a Buffalo native with only one location in Buffalo. Like some other BBQ places, Fat Bob’s doesn’t seem to have an actual specialty, unless you count their mac and cheese. Fortunately, this one has combo platters to ensure an unvegan like me can sample around.
Down in little East Aurora is a bar called Leo’s Pizzeria. Yes, I said bar. Yes, I said pizzeria. Because Leo’s is one of those rare breeds of drinkeries that just can’t be contained by one title. In fact, it would even be fair to call Leo’s a sub shop or a number of other things on the menu. But pizzeria fits, and I was looking forward to finding out just how good the pizza could be.
Downtown Buffalo hosts all sorts of fun events during the summer and so far none more fun than Thursdays at Canalside. But right by Canalside is place called Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, which is supposed to have some good things to eat and drink. As a man who loves brewery food, I was excited at the prospect of Pearl Street and after ordering one of their seasonal beers I took a gander at their menu.