12 Essential Restaurants to Try This Winter

City Guide, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Guides


Written by Step Out Staff

Published on December 13, 2022
Black Iron Bystro / Photo courtesy of Black Iron Bystro

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 winter.


Black Iron Bystro / Photo courtesy of Black Iron Bystro

1. Black Iron Bystro

3067 Delaware Ave, Kenmore, NY 14217

You may (or may not) look back at it fondly now, but the pandemic made many of us do new things. We learned how to work remotely. We learned how to remote school our kids. We learned how to make sourdough. We learned how not to drive.

The pandemic also forced popular local restaurant Black Iron Bystro and its owner Bryan Mecozzi to shift gears — going from a traditional sit-down concept to a more modern tasting menu approach. Probably unlike your foray into sourdough, this pandemic transition turned out to be a lasting success. In fact, the restaurant recently moved to a new Kenmore location to better suit the new concept.

Keep Reading: New: Experience the Unknown Dinner Club –Black Iron Bystro’s Modern Tasting Menu Concept >

Seva Tapas Bar & Lounge / Photo courtesy of Seva Tapas Bar & Lounge

2. Sēvā – Tapas Bar & Lounge

200 Rainbow Blvd, Niagara Falls, NY 14303

While the Canadians may have a bit of Las Vegas stardust sprinkled over their side of The Falls — “our” Niagara Falls is slowly limping along. There are signs, however, that the city may be coming into its own, with supporters championing the vision of a more authentic and a more intimate experience compared to the Canadian side.

Part of the ongoing evolution of our Niagara Falls has been the emergence of locally owned restaurants like the new Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge. Named after the Hindi term for ‘selfless service’ and pronounced “say-vah”, the new restaurant features small plates of internationally-inspired cuisine — a hat-tip to the international nature of the city that surrounds it.

Keep Reading: New: Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge Raises Expectations for Niagara Falls with its Distinctive Cocktails & Authentic Atmosphere >

Brazen Brewing / Photo courtesy of Brazen Brewing

3. Brazen Brewing

5839 Genesee St, Lancaster, NY 14086

As you take Genesee Street out of Buffalo, past the airport and into Lancaster — the road gets smaller and the trucks on it get bigger. With so few buildings on this stretch of road, it’s a bit surprising when the massive, modern, new Brazen Brewing building comes looming out of the woods.

Set in from the road, the new brewery is an impressive mini-campus. In addition to a bar and indoor seating area, there’s also an elevated loft area for private events, an outdoor covered patio, and an outdoor rock patio with oversized beer pong. It’s modern and upscale yet slightly rural — fitting well with this part of the outer suburbs.

Keep Reading: New: Brazen Brewing Stands Out as a Bold, Modern Craft Brew Concept in Lancaster >


Symposium Wine Bar / Photo courtesy of Symposium Wine Bar

4. Symposium Wine Bar

19 W Main St Suite 400, Lancaster, NY 14086

Lancaster is a pretty prosperous suburb. So, it’s a bit surprising that the village hasn’t seen the kind of hospitality development that you can find in places like East AuroraOrchard Park or Hamburg. But that’s been changing recently, and one of the newest additions to the bar and restaurant options in Lancaster is Symposium Wine Bar, part of the $12 million Village Square project that is revitalizing the sleepy village.

“I can say definitively that this growth is a long time coming,” says co-owner Katie McKenna-Heveron. “I’ve only lived in the town for six years, but I’ve listened to our customers who have lived in Lancaster for a long time. They have told us that this is a long time coming. Almost every day I hear someone say, this is just what Lancaster needed.”

As the name indicates, Symposium is meant to be a place for meeting and discussion first, wine second. If you’re not up on the latest and greatest in wine, there’s no need to worry. That said, someone who knows their wine will find a liking to it there. McKenna-Heveron is a DIY winemaker and certified expert.

Keep Reading: New: Gather for Good Food, Wine, & Company at Symposium Wine Bar in the Village of Lancaster >

Lime House Sushi & Ramen / Photo courtesy of Lime House Sushi & Ramen

5. Lime House – Hamburg

5 Lake St, Hamburg, NY 14075

The pandemic made us leaner and meaner. More resilient. More flexible.  Better able to handle adversity. Better prepared for the future.

Those things all seem great in theory — or as headlines scrolling upward on your newsfeed. But in practice, the pandemic forced people to make a lot of difficult choices. Coming out the other end, it’s great to see some of these tough choices actually panning out.

Galvanized during the pandemic, the new Lime House in Hamburg is a distillation of the original Lime House in Williamsville. The OG’s sit-down, Japanese-Burmese concept has been refined down in Hamburg to a fast-casual concept that focuses on a couple of iconic Japanese foods.

Keep Reading: New: It’s All About Sushi & Ramen at Lime House’s Second Location in the Hamburg Village >

Macy’s Place Pizzeria Kenmore / Photo courtesy of Macy’s Place Pizzeria Kenmore

6. Macy’s Place Pizzeria – Kenmore

3100 Delaware Ave, Kenmore, NY 14217

A lot of local restaurants serve dishes that are mashups of foods you wouldn’t think to put together, but no other restaurant has taken the kitchen sink approach to their menu and had success like Macy’s Place Pizzeria.

Named for the place they go viral, the Instagram Pizzas at Macy’s Place have featured everything from SpaghettiOs to burrata cheese to fried chicken. The unconventional approach extends to both the chicken wings and hot sub sandwiches.

Owner Nick Argy recently told us he never knows which combinations will take off.

“We’ve made things that we thought were going to work, that flopped. We’ve also made things that take off out of nowhere,” he says. “Like, we posted a chicken-and-waffle pizza in December (2021), and it went viral nationally. It was getting picked up by every media outlet. That really took on a life of its own. I couldn’t believe how much it got blasted out on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.”

Keep Reading: New: Drool-Worthy Doesn’t Begin to Describe the Insane Concoctions at Macy’s Place in Kenmore >


Lex 220 / Photo courtesy of Lex 220

7. Lex 220

220 Lexington Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222

Watch any fashion segment on morning television and you’ll hear about the value of a well-tailored jacket. Dress it up with some heels! Dress it down with a nice pair of jeans!

The new Lex 220 in the Elmwood Village is like this well-tailored jacket Savannah and Hoda want us to buy. Smart enough for date night, but chill enough for brunch. Being a well-tailored jacket isn’t easy but somehow the little neighborhood bar-restaurant-late-night-low-key-party-spot is pulling it off.

“Lex is a neighborhood bar because the Elmwood Village is a close-knit community, which I lived in all my life,” says general manager Jasmine King. “But at the same time, we offer things that you can’t get somewhere else in the village, from our décor to our atmosphere to our food — especially when it comes to offering it late-night.

Keep Reading: New: Lex 220 is a Chill Yet Refined Late-Night Dining Spot with Creative Cocktails >

The Mami House / Photo courtesy of The Mami House

8. The Mami House

250 Rainbow Blvd, Niagara Falls, NY 14303

Influenced by Chinese, Spanish, American and Pacific island cuisines, Filipino food has a lot of familiar flavors and ingredients, but they’re combined to make something that’s more than the sum of its parts.

Recently opened, The Mami House in Niagara Falls is one of the few places in Western New York you can get Filipino food and it’s the closest Filipino restaurant to Buffalo this side of the US-Canada border. Trying to introduce a new cuisine to an area can be a tough slog. At The Mami House, owners John and Lerm Herher have made the smart choice of basing their menu around mami — a Filipino noodle dish that’s similar to other noodle soups from the region.

Keep Reading: New: The Mami House is the Only Place in Town Serving Up Bold Filipino Flavor >

A’mano Fresh Pasta Kitchen / Photo courtesy of A’mano Fresh Pasta Kitchen

9. A’mano Fresh Pasta Kitchen

5429 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221

Rather than spend his time ordering to-go cocktails and binging everything on Netflix, John Sweeney spent COVID developing a fast-casual restaurant concept, and recently, that concept swung open its doors on Main Street in Williiamsville.

A’mano Fresh Pasta has a lot in common with restaurants like Chipotle or Fresh Catch Poke. These concepts use rice as a platform for different flavor combinations, and Sweeney thought the same could be done with pasta. Using his 11 years of experience as food service manager at UB, Sweeney applied his industry know-how to bring A’mano to life.

“I knew a fast-casual concept with pasta was doable,” he says. “But I decided that the right way to be different is to not use boxed noodles. So I spent some time during COVID learning how to make fresh pasta, and realized just how quickly you can cook it.”

Keep Reading: New: A’mano Fresh Pasta Kitchen Has All the Italian Cafe Vibes You Need >


Crazy Good Eatz / Photo courtesy of Crazy Good Eatz

10. Crazy Good Eatz

2285 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214

Owner of Cake Crazy Bakery, Shetice Jackson is a one-woman tour de force.

The success of the bakery has now led to the opening of Crazy Good Eatz — a savory sibling restaurant. On our weekday visit, the place was bustling like any good lunch spot should be. The heavy traffic is also a testament to the quality of the food. You can taste the years of diverse, professional culinary experience in each bite. The chicken gumbo we tried could go toe-to-toe with any Cajun gumbo in Louisiana. Our short rib sandwich was as decadent as you’d expect but the welcome addition of pickled red onions gave it a smart balance. 

In addition to being a restaurant serving killer comfort food, Crazy Good Eatz is also a supportive place for people looking to realize their own culinary dreams. Flexing her background in education, Jackson takes it upon herself to coach and mentor employees who show an interest in running a restaurant.

Keep Reading: New: Crazy Good Eatz Lives Up to Its Name with Scratch-Made Soups & Savory Comfort Foods >

Owl Eyes Cafe / Photo x Step Out Buffalo

11. Owl Eyes Cafe

162 Allen St, Buffalo, NY 14201

Understandably, there are a lot of New York City foods that don’t translate up here to Western New York. But one of the most maddening, and puzzling, is the fact that we have many bodegas slinging cheap breakfast sandwiches. Roll + egg + meat + cheese isn’t a hard or expensive equation, and it’s one that is universally loved.

Owl Eyes Cafe in Allentown is here to remedy our affordable breakfast sandwich situation, at least on one corner. Located in the old Grindhaus Cafe (RIP), Owl Eyes Cafe is more of a takeout-friendly spot than its predecessor. Rather than peddling chill cafe vibes and premium coffee, the new cafe is more focused on everyday food and drink, with a killer breakfast sandwich being the crown jewel. 

Keep Reading: New: Owl Eyes Cafe Sets the Standard for What a Breakfast Sandwich Should Be >

Coffee & Stone Cafe / Photo courtesy of Coffee & Stone Cafe

12. Coffee & Stone Cafe

54 Webster St, North Tonawanda, NY 14120

Located in North Tonawanda along the canal, Webster Street is quickly becoming a well-rounded dining and entertainment district. The new Coffee & Stone Cafe is just the latest feather in Webster Street’s cap and a needed addition.

You might tend to only think about entertainment strips like Webster Street on weekends and evenings. But Webster Street bustles during the week. Open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Coffee & Stone gives the daytime crowd what they have been calling for, a café that serves modern coffee and food essentials. The café is also a well-oiled machine right out of the gate, thanks to an ownership group of hospitality veterans.

Keep Reading: New: Coffee & Stone Cafe is a Modern Hub for Breakfast & Lunch Along the Canal in NT >

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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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