Every season we round up the most noteworthy new restaurants that have opened in the past few months. This summer 2020 season is an exception, as we’re going back 6 months since before the Pandemic hit since we never got the change to do a spring article thanks to our pal Covid shutting down everything in sight. Happy for us all, these places are finally reopened and ready to go – show ’em some love while you socially distance, wear a mask, and respect current safety procedures!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Big Mood
423 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222
Since June 21, the owners have been completely re-doing the small space to reflect their new branding and concept, a plant-based, quick serve restaurant that will put everything in to-go containers. The change came from a desire to maintain a relevant edge, serve food faster, and limit unnecessary contact between people. The restaurant will serve “nearly all from scratch food” that will be reworked for a fresh, fast casual atmosphere.
172 Rhode Island St. Buffalo, NY 14213
Foibles Coffee & Pie like many small businesses in Western New York was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Back in November 2019, Foibles shared the good news that the business would be moving into their retail space at 172 Rhode Island St. in Buffalo, NY with plans to open in the spring. On March 15, owner, Sadie Mathers hosted a launch party for the opening of the business, just to have it close days after due to the outbreak.
Now months later, as restaurants have begun to open, Foibles is back at it with weekend pop-ups. Currently Foibles is open Fri-Sat (7am-2pm) but plans to expand their hours as the business progresses this summer.
2178 Seneca Street, Buffalo, 14210
When a crisis strikes a community, people typically turn to pillars of said community for support. In Buffalo, one of our pillars is Public Espresso.
Just a few years removed from being a pop-up project, Public has become a big presence in the local coffee scene. The company recently reopened its doors on a second full location in South Buffalo, a part of Western New York in desperate need of more good cafe options.
Located in the venerable Shea’s Seneca theater building, the new location opened last fall, shut for the COVID-19 lockdown and reopened this summer to serve both the local neighborhood and people from outside the area.
4. Shuck Shack
301 Ohio Street, Buffalo, NY 14204
We are so pumped to be announcing new restaurant openings again amid the ongoing pandemic.
We absolutely love to see it, and we’re guessing you do too. Whether you’re basking in the sun and enjoying a new (or old!) spot on a patio while social distancing or grabbing take out from spots like the recently opened El Viejo San Juan, we are here. for it. Just make sure to wear a mask and respect any and all safety protocol and guidelines – oh and tip well!
This past 4th of July weekend a brand new permanent food stand called Shuck Shack opened for business along the Buffalo River. The seasonal oyster restaurant, located at 301 Ohio Street in Buffalo, is basically a trailer parked in a very picturesque spot across the way and down the river from Riverworks, surrounded by a high end picnic area with tables, strung lights, and turf combining to create an actual, legit vibe. It sounds weird, but somehow it absolutely works.
Food Truck – Mobile
Did you know this Buffalo Mexican restaurant has a food truck?
Taqueria Ranchos La Delicias, located at 1516 Niagara Street in Buffalo has a food truck and has been regularly posting up at Niawanda Park in Tonawanda.
According to their website, the restaurant, and now truck, is known for their tacos and also offers daily rice, beans, pepitos, and pork sandwiches. At the restaurant, where they have both indoor and outdoor seating you can also enjoy beer and margs.
For updates on where to find the Taqueria Ranchos La Delicias food truck, visit their Facebook page.
802 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, New York 14222
Starting June 19, Iron Tail Tavern launched their soft opening with take out from their newly opened space on Elmwood Avenue. Since then, they have started service on their patio as well, with a small, simple “Whet Menu” consisting of 7 dishes along with beer, wine and cocktails.
Dishes include Moroccan Spiced Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebab with Quinoa, raisins, olives, almonds, mint, green￼s, Roasted Corn Pasta with bacon, fried leeks, basil and parmesan, and Iron Tail Sirloin with house coffee rub, Gorgonzola polenta, and ribboned vegetable for example.
778 Tonawanda St., Buffalo, NY 14207
In the mid-20th century, there was a massive effort to industrialize and revitalize Puerto Rico by the United States government. Although Uncle Sam’s effort produced, ahem, mixed results, in Old San Juan, the 500-year-old cornerstone of the Puerto Rican capital, the result is a mix of historical and contemporary tourist attractions that has become the model for similar revitalizations across Latin America.
That blend of old and new can be seen in the new Riverside takeout restaurant El Viejo San Juan (“Old San Juan”). Located in the back of the Mega Market corner store, the restaurant may be offering traditional dishes, but with two owners that are just 21 years of age – the sensibility is anything but old school.
Temporarily closed due to Covid-19
According to data from Visit Buffalo Niagara, Buffalo is becoming a legit tourist destination. Hotel revenue is up. Tourism spending is up. Even tourism employment has grown.
Apparently tipped to this trend, Tipico Coffee’s Jesse Crouse told us he’s opened a second Tipico location right on the Elmwood Strip to take advantage of downtown Buffalo emerging as a destination.
“When we were thinking about the next spot,” he Freudian slipped, “I was looking at all the other companies opening up new locations: There’s this commitment to opening up on the outskirts of the city. But, I wanted to open up a big billboard right on Elmwood Avenue that basically said, ‘We’re not afraid of the spotlight. We’re here to be, hopefully, the coffee company that people want most in Buffalo.’
5611 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221
Not too long ago, if you wanted to go to a local brewery, you had to trek over to an old industrial building in an old industrial part of Buffalo.
Now, it seems like everywhere in Western New York there’s a local brewery within bike-riding distance – and that’s a good thing: Lyfts to downtown and back aren’t cheap youse guys.
The latest brewery to pour open its doors is Britesmith Brewing, located on Main Street in the Village of Williamsville. Sat on the south bank of Ellicott Creek and located in an old blacksmith shop, Britesmith Brewing pairs craft brews with great food and brilliant views. Essentially an upscale restaurant with a big in-house brewing program, the new Britesmith Brewing is a far cry from the food-less, old industrial garage breweries that were de rigueur just a few years ago.
10. Company B
1250 Niagara Street, Buffalo, NY 14213 – Suite F
If you’re all about eating and drinking locally, allow us to introduce you to the Westside’s newest tasting room at 1250 Niagara Street. Company B is an urban tasting room and market owned by Blackman Cider Company, and shares the same dedication to supporting New York State farmers and producers.
As for the space, it’s rustic in all the right ways. When you walk inside, you’ll be welcomed by natural lighting, greenery, repurposed wood, and all around good vibes. This place is perf if you’re looking for a spot to meet for breakfast or lunch, or you’re on the hunt for a place to hit up post work sesh. There are all sorts of seating options for solo visitors, couples, and large groups. And yes, they have Wifi, we already checked!
9 Washington St, Ellicottville, NY 14731
If you were ever a 20-something living in Western New York, you know a right of passage is stumbling around drunk at the annual Ellicottville Fall Fest, held each October. You know the routine: Pregame before driving down, shots at the Gin Mill, chugging beers at Balloons, squeezing into Ellicottville Brewing Company, spending the rest of the afternoon looking for your friends, avoiding creepy old dudes and finally, passing out in the back seat of a Chevy Cobalt during the drive back home.
All these years, you’ve probably associated Ellicottville with cheap booze and stomach-lining comfort food. But the times, they are a-changin’, as they say out in Cattaraugus County. With new places like West Rose, and now The Banq Cocktail Lounge, Ellicottville is slowly becoming a foodie destination.
27 Chandler St., Suite 111a, Buffalo, NY 14207
The words ‘southern junction’ might make you think of an old cattle town in New Mexico, or a country music bar with a drunk-tossing, vomit-triggering mechanical bull; thoughts inspired by old American clichés.
However, the American South and the Southwest are changing and the clichés are fading away. Walking around the streets of a city in the South or Southwest these days, you’re just are likely to run into a software developer who was born in Asia as you are a local cattle rancher.
Southern Junction is a new takeout spot in the quickly-evolving Chandlerville district that suitably encapsulates this change – and how food is changing along with it. Born in India and having spent his formative years in Texas, owner Ryan Fernandez is bringing a fusion of Southern Indian cuisine and Texas barbecue that is essentially his life story on a plate.
13. Yankee BBQ
3379 Lake Shore Rd, Hamburg, NY 14219
Every weekend, friends and family across the country get together to eat, drink and generally forget about the cruel grind of daily life. In Western New York, we do that around the backyard grill or the Bills game day spread. In Texas, weekend commiserating happens around smoky, barbecued meats.
Recently opening on Route 5 in Woodlawn, Yankee BBQ is looking to bring Texas-style barbecue and barbecue culture to this beach-industrial section of the Southtowns. While barbecue styles from Carolina and Memphis are based on slathering cuts of meat in thick sauces, Texas-style barbecue is all about the wood, according to Yankee BBQ owner Brian Nagy. In fact, different parts of Texas tend to use different kinds of wood in their barbecue pits.
14. Bar-Bill North
8326 Main St, Clarence, NY 14221
Over the past decade or so, thanks in large part to foodie TV shows, the Bar-Bill Tavern has gone from East Aurora hotspot to a nationally renowned destination for chicken wings and beef on weck. Like Duff’s and Anchor Bar before them, Bar-Bill recently opened the doors on a second location after building a massive reputation based on popular local specialties.
Opening another location of an iconic local restaurant poses one overarching question: How to go about repeating runaway success? Bar-Bill owner Clark Crook told us the secret to his success has been consistency, and consistency is the main focus at the new location.
“We stick to our knitting,” he said. “We don’t do a lot of different things, but we do everything as well as we can. We’re focused on a consistent product.”
323 Ganson St., Buffalo, NY 14203
When you open a restaurant, your goals are usually: 1) Keep the lights on. 1a) Make money for yourself. But at the new Wonder Coffeehouse, located on Ganson Street in Buffalo next to Riverworks, one of the primary goals is spreading wonder through joy and a foundation of philanthropy.
It’s been reported that Wonder Coffeehouse is an extension of Wonder Church, but church leader and cafe co-owner Kate Vacanti told us they are separate entities, with the coffeehouse being a for-profit business.
16. West Rose
23 Washington Street, Ellicottville, NY 14731
Going downhill on skis or a snowboard may sound like fun but – it’s actually hard work, you guys. After a day of extreme sporting on the slopes, you need hygge – the Scandinavian word for wrapping yourself in comfort, and in Ellicottville, the new West Rose is where you make that happen. Nothing crushes aches and pains like a warm bowl of fondue, steamed mussels, white wine and tossing witty ripostes into a cackling fire.
West Rose owners Brad and Caryn Rowell made names for themselves with their Village of Hamburg hit, The Grange, and Brad Rowell said the new Ellicottville restaurant is a chance to create a more fully-formed vision; one that’s specific to the Southern Tier vacation spot.
“When we decided on Ellicottville, it was really just for personal reasons,” he said. “We wanted to be a part of that community. So, we’re going to do things that we think are going to fit better down there (than in Hamburg).
55 Chicago Street, Buffalo, NY 14204
When you think of your favorite spirit — say vodka or whiskey — you probably think of a favorite brand or cocktail.
But bourbon is so much more than just Knob Creek or a Manhattan: A certain type of bourbon might remind you of a trip down to Kentucky, or a tasty rum might inspire an afternoon of Mai Tais with friends.
The idea that spirits are tied to experiences is the driving force behind the new Hartman’s Distilling Co., which recently opened its doors on Chicago Street, next to the Resurgence brewery in the Old First Ward. Owner Justin Hartman told us his experiences at clandestine craft cocktail bars years ago in New York City triggered a long journey that culminated in the new distilling operation.
“My wife and I lived in New York for 7 years, in Midtown Manhattan, and that was our go-to was getting craft cocktails on a Friday or Saturday night,” he said. “We really got into finding little hidden bars that make phenomenal craft cocktails. It just so happened that one of the times we came back to Buffalo, we went to a birthday party at Vera and I remember saying, ‘These cocktails are just as good as they are in New York City.’
18. Haak’s Cakes
9 E Union St, Hamburg, NY 14075
When it comes to opening a new business, there’s a lot of labor and time that goes into this. Throw a pandemic into the mix, and you have yourself a whole new obstacle to overcome.
Cue in Haak’s Cakes, the newly opened bakery in the heart of Hamburg, who’s business had to rearrange its operation before it even began. Haak’s Cakes was set to open shop with a celebration back in March, only to have news that businesses were to close due to the spread of Covid-19.
In a recent interview with owner Stephanie Haak, we asked her how the outbreak has affected her business and the decisions she made amidst the uncertainty.
“In the beginning it was really intense.” She explained, “It was a difficult decision to make but I decided to join in the curbside pickup that was happening in the Hamburg neighborhood.”
“I think in a way though, it ended up helping my business because the community as a whole was super supportive and wanted to help each other out.”
Think we missed one? Tell us about it at email@example.com.