12 Essential Restaurants to Try This Spring 2023

City Guide, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Guides


Written by Step Out Staff

Published on March 1, 2023
Bella Ciao / Photo courtesy of Bella Ciao

Every season we round up the most noteworthy new restaurants that have opened in the past few months. Our pants are tight, our wallets slim, but there’s food to be devoured and so we trek on. Here’s a list of recently opened restaurants/bars/breweries/bakeries/cafes/you name it to add to your must-try list this season.


Twin Petrels / Photo courtesy of Twin Petrels

1. Twin Petrels Seltzer Co.

1250 Niagara Street Suite 400, Buffalo 14213

The original Resurgence Brewing location on Niagara Street ushered in a wave of brewery-restaurant openings, and sadly, in 2021, Resurgence closed that original location.

As the brewery turns a page to its more polished operation in the Old First WardTwin Petrels Seltzer Co. is turning the page on Niagara Street — giving the old Resurgence home a massive refresh.

“Resurgence is a great brewery and there are just so many great breweries in Buffalo,” says Twin Petrels co-owner Katrina Piechowicz. “But we’re definitely providing a different experience than what’s at a local brewery.”

Keep Reading: New: Housemade Seltzers & West Coast-Scandi Vibes at Twin Petrels >

GG’s Diner / Photo courtesy of GG’s Diner

2. GG’s Diner

5833 Camp Road, Hamburg, NY 14075

The winning formula of a good diner isn’t a secret: Serve cheap, delicious, processed food to the masses. But now, a new wave of diners is winning fans over with scratch cooking and one of the newest to do that is GG’s Diner in Hamburg.

“We do as much as we can from scratch,” says Abby Young, manager and the daughter of owner Susan Young. ”We make the salad dressing. We make the pancake batter from scratch. Many diners don’t do that.”

Keep Reading: New: GG’s Diner Proves Less is More With Focus on Scratch Cooking >

Parivaar / Photo courtesy of Parivaar

3. Parivaar Pub

708 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222

Butter chicken, chana masala, samosas, Taj Mahal beer… 

A typical Indian restaurant in Western New York isn’t without its charms. But it’s more likely to be a place where you chase away a hangover, not get started on one.

At the new Parivaar Pub in the Elmwood Village, owner Priya Rathod is bringing something desperately needed to local Indian food options: the modern gastropub concept. Born in the United Kingdom but mostly raised in Batavia by multicultural parents, Priya spent her formative years both working in the hospitality industry and visiting extended family in major cities like London, New York and Toronto. It’s this diverse background and a Millennial sensibility that she’s bringing to Parivaar.

Keep Reading: New: Parivaar Hypes Up Indian Cuisine With a Modern Gastropub Concept >


Nowhere Lounge / Photo courtesy of Jason Wood

4. Nowhere Lounge

3115 Delaware Ave, Kenmore 14217

If you haven’t been home brewing or learning French cooking or house flipping in the past couple decades, then you’re in the minority. We are DIY-obsessed these days, and thanks to the good ol’ interwebs, we can learn how to do just about anything, including teaching your cat how to high-five.

The new Nowhere Lounge in Kenmore embodies this DIY zeitgeist. Co-owners and service industry pros Jason and Julie Wood have a craft cocktail concept they’ve galvanized from the floor up. Yes, they developed the cocktail menu, but Jason actually built the bar with his own two hands.

Keep Reading: New: Nowhere Lounge is a Total 70s Vibe With Expertly Crafted Cocktails >

The Barrel Factory Kitchen / Photo x Brett Llenos Smith for Step Out Buffalo

5. The Barrel Factory

65 Vandalia St, Buffalo, NY 14204

You can’t overstate just how much COVID-19 completely disrupted the bar and restaurant industry. We lost some of our favorites and some places completely reinvented themselves.

The Barrel Factory in the Old First Ward falls into the latter category. The old brick building mostly had tenants to provide foods and drinks, but when COVID hit, major tenants decided to pull out and building owner Steve Bystran had to pivot: He renovated the space and opened The Barrel Factory Kitchen, a restaurant serving elevated New American fare. The building still houses Barrel Factory Distilling and features beers from Pressure Drop Brewing.

Keep Reading: New: The Barrel Factory Reinvents Itself With a Seasonally Curated Menu Focused on Local Ingredients >

Alibaba Kebab / Photo courtesy of Alibaba Kebab

6. Alibaba Kebab – Kenmore

827 Military Rd., Kenmore, NY 14217

It’s a cliché to say that the best food comes from hole-in-the-wall places, but it’s often true.

Located in the shadow of the Central Terminal on the East Side of Buffalo, Alibaba Kebab is one of those hole-in-the-wall places. It’s been so successful, a second location recently opened on Military Road in Kenmore, and there are plans for an entire local chain to serve the restaurant’s signature Indian-Mediterranean fusion menu.

There’s a good chance that you or someone you know has gotten amazing food from Alibaba Kebab and never set foot in the place. According to local restaurant consultant Chris DelPrince, who’s currently working with the restaurant, Alibaba Kebab does an absolute ton of business through food delivery apps.

Keep Reading: New: Alibaba Kebab Wins Over WNYers With Signature Indian-Mediterranean Dishes >


Buffalo Kitchen Club / Photo courtesy of Buffalo Kitchen Club

7. Buffalo Kitchen Club

431 Elmwood Ave , Buffalo, NY 14222

The stretch of Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo between Utica and Bryant streets used to be a go-to for drinking and dining, but this part of the Elmwood Village has been through an identity crisis in recent years.

Hopefully, that changes with the recent opening of Buffalo Kitchen Club. Owned and operated by hospitality veterans Raelean McGee, Shawn McGee and Stanley Booker, the new restaurant brings a mature party vibe that adds to the other nearby bars and restaurants, which include Uncle Jumbo’s DistillingThin Man Brewery and Saigon Café.

Over just a few short months, Buffalo Kitchen Club quickly became a destination for karaoke on Thursday nights and Bills games on (mostly) Sundays. It also regularly hosts “Recess Happy Hours” on Fridays, celebrating local teachers with drink specials and a live DJ. Special holiday events have included a Dope Sweater Party for Christmas and New Year’s Eve bash.

But Buffalo Kitchen Club is really all about what’s coming out of the kitchen: elevated takes on modern American fare from chef Dwight Land III.

Keep Reading: New: Buffalo Kitchen Club Brings Elevated Nightlife & Weekend Brunch to Elmwood >

Bella Ciao / Photo courtesy of Bella Ciao

8. Bella Ciao

200 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14202

Casual, independently-owned red sauce joints have been the backbone of Italian food in Western New York for decades, but over the years, we’ve seen them decline in numbers.

The new Bella Ciao in the Avant building Downtown isn’t a new red sauce joint, but it is a logical step forward that is more focused on modern tastes. Set in a beautiful space, Bella Ciao offers elevated versions of those classic Italian-American dishes you remember from when you were a kid.

You may have loved pasta from a red sauce joint like Tina’s Italian Kitchen, but odds are, that pasta wasn’t made from scratch. Fresh-made pasta is the centerpiece of the menu at Bella Ciao, and its presence of elevated classics like fettuccine alfredo ($22) and vodka rigatoni ($22).

Keep Reading: New: Bella Ciao is a Modern Take on Italian With House-Made Pastas & Refined Cocktails >

Hustler’s Tavern / Photo courtesy of Hustler’s Tavern

9. Hustler’s Tavern

800 Center Street, Lewiston, NY 14092

Not many places these days can lay claim to a local legend: The newly-opened Hustler’s Tavern in Lewiston was named after a bar that used to inhabit the same very spot more than 200 years ago.

When British soldiers attacked Lewiston during the War of 1812, they burned the village to the ground. However, they spared one building. According to Historic Lewiston, the British kept Hustler’s Tavern standing because they enjoyed drinking something the owner Catherine Hustler has concocted, a drink she called a “cocktail”. Yes, the old Hustler’s Tavern supposedly invented the cocktail as an alcoholic drink that was stirred with a rooster’s feather.

While the old tavern may have remained standing because it gave the British soldiers what they wanted, the new Hustler’s Tavern carries on that tradition, by giving Lewiston the things it’s been calling out for. In addition to carrying on the tradition of serving classic cocktails, Hustler’s also serves Detroit-style pizza, which is hard to come by in these parts.

Keep Reading: New: Classic Cocktails & Detroit-Style Pizza Bring an Old Legend Back to Life at Hustler’s Tavern >


12 Gates of EVL / Photo courtesy of 12 Gates of EVL

10. 12 Gates of EVL

14 Washington St, Ellicottville, NY 14731

Skiers and snowboarders always keep one eye on Ellicottville during the winter, and while the ski resorts have been trying to cope with historically low snowfalls in recent years, the expanding drinking and dining options are becoming a draw on their own.

One of the newest places to open its doors is 12 Gates of EVL, which is a satellite location of 12 Gates Brewing Company in Williamsville. The brewery’s original taproom, located in an industrial park, is fit for purpose, but hardly a full-blown hospitality experience. The new 12 Gates of EVL is a chance for the brewery to truly flex its hospitality muscle.

Keep Reading: New: 12 Gates Opens Second Taproom Expanding on Ellicottville’s Beer Scene >

Ciao Ciao / Photo courtesy of Ciao Ciao

11. Ciao Ciao

1368 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216

Ciao Ciao is a new Italian-American bar-restaurant on Hertel Avenue in Buffalo that marks a new era for co-owners Maurizio Conti, Vito Semeraro and Paolo Tagliaferri.

The three men have been co-owners of Romeo & Juliet’s Café since that business opened its doors just down the street in the late 90s. Although the men have helped open other locations of their successful café, Ciao Ciao is a major departure from the proven formula.

According to general manager Tommy Sheedy, the success of Romeo & Juliet’s gave the co-owners the freedom to pursue something they’ve always wanted.

“Romeo & Juliet’s are amazing Italian bakeries and restaurants, but the owners always wanted their own bar,” he says.

The new Ciao Ciao isn’t a standard bar-restaurant. Instead, the decision was made to go for a lounge format.

Keep Reading: New: Modern Italian Dishes Meet Cozy Lounge Vibes at Ciao Ciao >

Wingnutz @ Froth brewing / Photo courtesy of Froth Brewing

12. Wingnutz @ Froth Brewing

700 Military Rd, Buffalo, NY 14216

In 2005, Ed and Alicia Wrazen had chicken wings so dismal, they spent a year developing their own ideal wing and over time, the wing they developed attracted a cult following. Fast forward to 2021 and the Wrazens’ Wingnutz restaurant goes viral internationally thanks to coverage from the wildly popular Pardon My Take podcast.

In addition to becoming a more popular local wing joint, Wingnutz now attracts people from all over the country, even the world. Now, when wing fans come to Buffalo, they often make a beeline for Wingnutz. After solving the problem of making a better chicken wing, the Wrazens had a new problem on their hands: bringing it to scale. Enter A.J. Giordano. The chef and owner of the Munch restaurants partnered with the Wrazens in July 2022 and the company is now taking steps toward everything from retail sales to franchising.

Keep Reading: New: Wingnutz @ Froth Brewing Offers Beer Flights & a Wing Sampler Like No Other >

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Written by <a href="" target="_self">Step Out Staff</a>

Written by Step Out Staff

A group of Step Out Buffalo team members worked together to create this post from research and writing to editing and imagery. Thanks for reading!


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