Every season we round up the most noteworthy new restaurants that have opened in the past few months.
Sure 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 summer.
Think we missed one? Tell us about it at email@example.com.
1. Barrel + Brine
155 Chandler Street, Buffalo, NY, 14027
Bacteria, algae and mold have gotten a bum rap, you guys.
But maybe not anymore.
Researchers are finding the mini-galaxy of microorganisms that live within our guts are vital to our health, and chefs around the world are increasingly harnessing microbes to create exciting new flavor profiles.
Clearly, there isn’t a better time for local fermenters Barrel + Brine to be smashing the doors open on a new cafe and tap room.
Co-owner RJ Marvin told us he’s definitely noticed growing interest in fermented foods over the past few years.
2. The Quarter
26 Virginia Place, Buffalo NY, 14202
Whether you’re marching down Bourbon Street looking to get as drunk as possible for as cheap as possible, listening to Grammy-winning jazz musicians in the back of a dingy little club, or dining at world class restaurants, there’s a lot to be inspired by in New Orleans.
Brandon Carr, owner of the new NOLA-inspired restaurant The Quarter, said he fell in love with the Crescent City on his very first visit.
“Immediately it captivated me, the city itself, every inch of it,” Carr told us. “Every little detail was just mind blowing. From the atmosphere of the music in the streets and the jazz that was playing and everything there to the food, the food was just magnificent. I couldn’t believe how incredible and diverse the food was.”
3. Casa Azul’s Torta & Churro Food Truck
Great news, Mexican brick and mortar restaurant Casa Azul, located at 128 Genesee St., is opening their first mobile kitchen – Buffalo’s FIRST “Torta Truck”! The truck is Chef/owner Zina Lapi’s first expansion project and mirrors the restaurant’s style of making everything, in house, from scratch.
1448 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo, NY, 14216
The area around Hertel Avenue in North Buffalo boasts many casual restaurants and classic dining experiences, but a hip, modern night out is in short supply.
That changed a bit recently with the opening of SZND, located at 1448 Hertel Ave., but with an entrance on Norwalk Avenue, around the corner of the building.
Serving New American dishes and featuring a full bar, SZND (pronounced “seasoned”) grew out of the Niagara Falls-based Everyday Gourmet catering company. Co-owner Andrew Gill told us that the new restaurant is aiming to meet the needs of sophisticated eaters from North Buffalo and beyond.
5. The Halal Guys
1595 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst, NY
In the 1950s, Ray Kroc famously stumbled onto a restaurant concept so good — it went on to take over the world.
The Halal Guys may not be the next McDonald’s, but the franchise is a great example of how good food, plus a good model for serving that food, can develop a massive cult following. The franchise recently opened a location in the Boulevard Consumer Square on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst, right next to Naan-tastic and Blaze Pizza.
Started in the 1990s as a converted hot dog cart in New York City, The Halal Guys became known for serving cheap, delicious Mediterranean food, to the point they launched a mini fleet of food carts. At one point, The New York Post said The Halal Guys carts were “perhaps the city’s most famous open-air dining destination.”
6. The Rose Bar
199 Scott Street, Buffalo, NY 14204
Even though there is a lot to be talkin’ proud about in Buffalo right now, even the city’s biggest supporters would likely admit; it could be better when it comes to diversity and inclusivity.
With her new bar-restaurant, called The Rose, Lisa Roosevelt is looking to change that. Located in the Fairmont Creamery Building, just a stone’s throw from KeyBank Center, The Rose is dedicated to bringing a diverse crowd together through good food, strong service and great music.
7. Buffalo Cider Hall
155 Chandler Street, Buffalo, NY 14207
While hard cider has been a thing in the UK for as long as anyone can remember, most people in the US probably never heard of “a cider drink” until that 90s hit about getting knocked down… and getting back up again.
The popularity of hard cider has skyrocketed stateside since the 90s and gotten a lot more sophisticated in the last two decades. Craft ciders are no longer just that thing for people who don’t like beer. Ciders can be highly complex and as dry as a prosecco, or as earthy as kombucha.
8. JAM Parkside
301 Parkside Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14214
While Buffalo’s restaurant scene has seen a massive resurgence lately with openings like, it would be fair to say a good chunk of that resurgence has been powered by the powerful; deep-pocketed developers who have carved up the city like Charlie the Butcher slicing away at a steaming roast beef.
The story behind JAM Parkside, a new cafe in the city’s Parkside neighborhood, could not be more different.
Monica Cichon, Jesse Crouse and Amber Small founded the cafe with community involvement and community ownership in mind.
9. Tappo Pizza @ Thin Man
166 Chandler Street, Buffalo, NY 14207
Although it could just be massive amounts of tree pollen, there is a buzz in the air right now and we suspect that buzz actually is coming from an area being dubbed “Chandlerville”.
A low-slung, slightly-out-of-the-way stretch of old industrial buildings along Chandler Street in Black Rock is currently a hive of builders and local tourists. Earlier this year, Blackbird Cider opened the doors to a cider hall here, and now a second location of the Thin Man Brewery has added heft to the area as a destination. The new location for local fermentarium Barrel + Brine is expected to open soon, as is a culinary incubator, a brewery hub and a ‘pool club’ by developer Rocco Termini has been announced for an opening next summer.
10. In the Mix Brewery & Creamery
1693 East Ave, Barker, New York 14012
Looking at all the milkshake IPAs and sugary ‘dessert stout’ beers that are popular right now, you’d be forgiven for thinking today’s craft brewers are more inspired by Willy Wonka than Samuel Adams.
This recent ‘shift to sweet’ among the craft beer community couldn’t be at a more perfect time for Jared and Austin Mesiti, who recently opened In The Mix Creamery and Brewing – a restaurant that makes its own beer-infused frozen custard. The restaurant also brews its own beer and serves up gourmet burgers.
11. Woodcock Brothers Brewery
908 Niagara Falls Blvd, North Tonawanda, NY 14120
When Western New York breweries first started opening their tasting rooms to the public, they were the kind of industrial spaces that felt more suited to a game of cornhole with the bros than sitting down for a light lunch with the kiddos.
However, the newly-opened Woodcock Brothers Brewery on Niagara falls Boulevard in North Tonawanda shows how many newer WNY tasting rooms are more focused on family-friendly food and service, while the breweries they are attached to still churn out quality beer.
12. Mon Ami
298 Main Street, Suite 100, Buffalo, New York 14202
Everyone who works in downtown Buffalo could use a nearby low-key oasis: a park, a favorite restaurant, a bar.
Mon Ami Cafe & Bakery is that oasis; a little French-themed getaway tucked into the Cathedral Building on Main Street. TBH, it won’t exactly whisk you away to Paris, but the cafe does offer a much-needed respite from the daily grind, a bit of sunlight cleaving through grey skies.
Owner Greg Grigorian told us this stretch of Main Street, between the Main Place Mall and the ballpark, had been crying out for a breakfast-lunch spot that offered sit-down quality food.
387 Forest Ave., Buffalo, NY, 14213
Many of us amateur cooks have this romantic idea of what it would be like to open a restaurant.
You start small, doing pop-ups or catering. Then, your food is so good, you get more customers through word-of-mouth alone. Eventually, you need to expand, and after you do, word gets out: All of a sudden every local media outlet is knocking on your door.
“I didn’t expect all this craziness, what I call Pinsa-mania,” Kayser told us over the phone. “I just wanted to have my commercial kitchen to do my catering and then have this little cafe. So if I’m not busy catering, I can still sell some sandwiches and the Italian stuff that I like, kinda keep it simple. But now it’s crazy, and I’m just trying to find this balance.”
14. Prosper Brewing
72A Webster Street, North Tonawanda
Some breweries are inspired by the latest (hop) trends and innovation, while others are steeped deeply in providing a 360-degree customer experience. Prosper Brewing, the latest addition to Western New York’s brewery landscape, is clearly in the latter category.
Claiming to be the first brewery to open in the Tonawandas in the last seven decades, Prosper Brewing is a small operation on Webster Street in North Tonawanda. The brewpub’s small size means a more intimate connection between the brewers themselves and the customers. If you want to critique one of Prosper’s beers, there’s a good chance the person manning the taps had a hand in brewing said beer.
That intimate connection also helps build a sense of community. Brewers at Prosper are more likely to know the names and faces of their customers because they interact with them personally; unlike bigger operations where the brewer or brewers are more removed.
Think we missed one? Tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.