Buffalo is full of quaint markets with fresh, local produce and specialty items. Each market features some distinct products as well as staples of the “market world”. Find markets reflecting the surrounding neighborhoods and needs of shoppers. Here are some of the markets that stand out in the Buffalo/western New York area and the irresistible provisions they offer.
Lexington Co-operative Market
807 Elmwood Ave / Elmwood Village / Downtown | (716) 886-2667
Not only does The Lexington Co-op have fun, unusual items like “Boozy Bunch” cheese or homemade gazpacho in the summer, but I think what’s truly special about is the volume of items you can buy in bulk. Sometimes you just need a pinch of a certain spice to complete a recipe, but you know you’ll never use it again. Spices can be pricey, so having this option is beneficial. Being able to buy spices by the pound is convenient and cost efficient. The Co-op sells tins that you can wash and reuse to keep the spices fresh. On top of that, you can buy all different seeds, nuts, grains, beans, pastas, flours and much more by the pound.
The Co-op is packed full of all the necessities like fresh fruits, vegetables, organic juices, meats, and fish. You can complete your entire shopping list at the Co-op along with finding some unique items each week, like the “Boozy Bunch” cheeses. The “Boozy” cheese was sharp, tangy, and full of flavor. It was such a real crowd pleaser! The Bella Vitano enhanced with Merlot and the Bella Vitano with Raspberry Ale just melted in your mouth. I still have to give the Cheddar aged with Irish whiskey a try, but I’m sure I won’t be disappointed! The Co-op has a whole salad bar, bakery items, fresh bread (the petite baguettes are delicious) and even sushi. They have a variety of spreads, like smoked gouda spread or chutney, and salads, such as Greek orzo or apple, mint, and beet salad,. They revise the flavor of the creamy goat cheeses sold at the Co-op, according to the season. First Light Farm and Creamery has chipotle honey goat cheese, and in the fall, they carried one of my favorites; pumpkin goat cheese (also available at the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market).
762 Elmwood Ave / Elmwood Village / Downtown | (716) 886-5242
Globe Market is much more than a restaurant. Of course they have delectable grilled paninis like the French brie and apple panini, great salads, like the caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, and soups, such as matzoh ball. All available at a great price; choose 2 for $7.95. Globe has a fantastic dessert case with tapioca pudding, apple pastries, fruit tarts, and pies.
Globe Market contains a cheese case with a variety of options, apricot or peach jam, blueberry orange or tangerine marmalade, hot pepper jelly, teas, salsas, mustards, butternut squash pasta sauce, and many more goodies where that came from. You can make beautiful Globe Market gift baskets with these items.
250 Grant St / West Side / Downtown | (716) 882-7935
The minute you walk into Guercio’s you get a warm, family feeling. Guercios has a large amount of items in bulk, and great jarred spreads like elderberry jelly, pumpkin butter, apple butter, and fresh salsa. I noticed there are all of these unusual flavors of pasta, like carrot noodles, tomato noodles, spinach noodles, basil noodles, and red hot pepper noodles. I couldn’t resist the hot pepper noodles.
In the back, there is a deli with a great selection of Italian meats, antipasto salads with hot peppers, mushrooms, and olives, stuffed hot peppers and different marinated olives. There are pasta salads, meatballs, fresh cheeses and blue and gorgonzola wedges.
Everything looked amazing! They sell a lot of Boar’s Head products in the Deli, which they informed me was all Gluten Free.
I was in the Deli checking out all the different Italian pasta salads they have when a regular customer started telling me how fantastic she thought it was that there was a little Italian Market still standing strong in Buffalo, NY. She loved the family vibe you get when you come to Guercios and explained to me that there’s just nowhere else like it. They make you feel like family.
783 Elmwood Ave / Elmwood Village / Downtown | (716) 887-9777
Penzeys is a market that is filled with spices – everything from Chinese five spice and corned beef to frozen pizza and chip dip seasoning.
They have an assortment of steak, poultry, and pork rubs. There’s Dutch process high fat cocoa and fresh baking spices. They even sell salad and sandwich “sprinkles” to enhance the flavor of your food without adding high fat dressing. Penzeys offers great gift boxes like “Taste of Mexico:” adobo seasoning, ground ancho, ground chipotle, cilantro, Ceylon true cinnamon, ground cumin, epazote, and Mexican oregano. There are simple gift boxes, with the necessities, or unique sets like a salt free grill and broil gift box, or spicy wedding shower basket.
Penzeys offers many sizes of gift sets, from mini baking gift boxes for only $14.95 to the two hearts gift crate. I challenge you to think of a gift basket they haven’t thought of yet!
Spar’s European Sausage Shop
405 Amherst St / Black Rock / North Buffalo | (716) 876-6607
Spar’s has a compilation of sausages, cheeses and imported products.
The variety of home made sausage they sell is unreal. Oh, the options! I’ve heard of Spar’s through my brother in law, so I thought I’d check it out. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as sweet potato sausage. Spar’s has T-bone rib chops and so many kinds of sausage, such as sweet potato, la bella salciccia, hot calabrese sausage, all fresh “bangers”, polish sausage, flying bison buffalo lager beer brats, german bratwurst, kabanosy, weiswurst, smoked debrezinger, smoked bavarian bratwurst, knackwurst, smoked german sausage, spicy pepperettes, the list goes on and on.
When I was chatting with the guy behind the counter, I asked him what the shop is known for, and he responded with “Spar’s double smoked bacon.”
Oh. My. Gosh. You can whip up a mean B.L.T. with that bacon! I tried their nitrate free, antibiotic free turkey and their smokehoused pastrami. Both absolutely fabulous. The smoked cheeses are out of this world.
I couldn’t leave without some of their smoked hot pepper cheese, smoked swiss, and onion cheese – outstanding. The smoked swiss was so delicious. They posess specialty imported rubs, glazes, and candies. Spar’s is a one of a kind shop. You can’t get this varitey anywhere else!
999 Broadway / East Buffalo | (716) 893-0705
A tradition for my family, and almost all of buffalo is to head to the Broadway Market this time of the year!
There’s great food, live music, dancers, wine tasting, and all different goofy items to buy – from pierogi earrings to butter lamb t-shirts. The vendors at the market have such tasty and special items. There’s a variety of olive oils such as, butter oil, garlic, green chili, chipotle, blood orange, black truffle gourmet oil. At the same stand there are balsamic vinegars like fig, blueberry, and cranberry pear. An array of treats like jalapeno peanut brittle, milk or dark chocolate eggs filled with butter cream, maple, peanut butter, cherry, orange cream, or marshmallow, and chocolate covered peeps from Strawberry Island. Chrusciki Bakery sells delicious fresh bread and treats. When you pick up some crisp bread from Chrusciki, make sure you buy a butter lamb to go with it. The butter lamb is another long living Buffalo tradition that will continue to be “a traditional Easter symbol” in our city.
Taste some fresh beet horse-radish that will clean out your sinuses or, one of my favorites, Deb’s Delights jams, dilly beans, olives, and pickles. I love the original dilly beans and the sweet and sassy jalapeno slices. I thought it was so creative that they personalized their jars with historical facts about buildings in buffalo.
On the jalapeno jar, it had a picture of the Richardson Olmsted Complex and explained some history about the building. Even the local wine bottles have recognizable Buffalo sites on the bottle. I found “Old Mill Red” this year, which wasn’t overly sweet, but still had a strong concord grape flavor. I also always try to pick up a bottle of 999 Broadway Red from Chateau Buffalo, made with loganberry. At another stand, I noticed a cookbook with recipes from the vendors at the Broadway Market. What a great idea if you want to pick up items from the market and whip up some tasty meals in your own kitchen. If you don’t want to cook, and you’re done exploring what the vendors have to offer, order some polish sausage and award winning pierogies while listening to the live music!
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