Foodie alert! Foodie alert! With its recent uptick in tourism and a fairly extensive selection of regional dishes, Buffalo, NY is becoming a magnet for day trippers. Problem is: finding our hidden food gems is another matter.
Buffalo has a rich culinary palette with tradition dating back to the 1800s. With roots in its influx of Eastern European immigrants, Buffalo draws on some of these old world traditions. But it has also developed its own unique flavors. Here’s our list of top 7 must-try foods while in Buffalo.
(Full disclosure: we lead food tours and history tours by bike, which bring you to many of the city’s best food hotspots – on two wheels!)
7. BUFFALO DOUGHNUTS
Ok – let’s just get this out of the way: you’re not going to lose weight on this trip. While our regional culinary traditions can hold their own against anywhere in the country, it’s not going to win you many points with your Fitbit.
When it comes to doughnuts, Buffalo’s got plenty. This is the birthplace of Tim Horton’s, the world-famous doughnut chain named after Buffalo Sabres’ legend Tim Horton.
But ask any local and they will direct to you Paula’s Doughnuts. The place is classic – with prices that haven’t changed since they opened! You’d be remiss to not stop by Flying Bison Brewery to try their doughnut infused beer, Holy Cannoli.
But our personal favorite has to be Public Espresso. Form classic fritters to seasonal flavors– these are artisanal, farm-to-table doughnuts. Public Espresso is also one of several stops on our Renaissance Ride.
Few outside WNY know the strange drink known as loganberry but any true Buffalonian knows it well. If I were to try to explain it, I’d say something between bug juice, grape juice, and straight up syrup. Loganberry was originally sold at Crystal Beach theme park. After the the park closed in 1989, it has since lived on as a unique summertime beverage.
5. SPONGE CANDY
Buffalo has an uncommon dessert uniquely Buffalo – sponge candy. It’s a light and crunchy but delicate toffee made from sugar, corn syrup, and baking soda. The recipe is very simple but produces a unique flavor reminiscent of toasted molasses. For the best in town check out Fowler’s, Parkside Candies, or Watson’s…and pick up a bag (or two).
4. BUFFALO’S NEWCOMER RESTAURANTS
If you’re looking for classic restaurants, Buffalo’s got you covered. Italian joints like Chef’s and Santaserio’s and Greek mainstays like Kosta’s all serve decent American fare at affordable prices.
But the real secret is Buffalo’s new crop of up and coming restaurants. You’ll want to check out the New American fare at The Dapper Goose, Daniella, and 100 Acres. But Buffalo is also home to new international culinary traditions, due in large part to the city’s booming immigrant population.
Explore Buffalo’s new halal eateries, Burmese restaurants, and even East African cuisine. The easiest snapshot of international food is the Westside Bazaar, where you can sample food from around the world, all under one roof. It is also a stop on our Renaissance Ride.
3. BUFFALO PIZZA
Buffalo-style pizza has long been a secret but word is getting out. What’s it all about? Cup-and-char pepperoni, thick, puffy dough, sweet sauce, and plenty of cheese to guarantee a stringy pull. If you only have time for two pizzerias, we suggest Bocce Club Pizza and La Nova. But you can literally spend days just touring Buffalo pizzerias (and gaining a few pounds).
2. BEEF ON WECK
Buffalo has its own sandwich and its history is more than 100 years old. While there is no definitive story, most people believe it was introduced by a food stand at the 1901 Pan American Exposition. For those who are unfamiliar, it’s a carved roast beef sandwich served on a unique, salty kimmelweck roll. For our best tips try Charlie the Butcher or Schwabl’s.
1. BUFFALO CHICKEN WINGS
Let’s face it – we all know Buffalo for the chicken wing. It’s an international sensation and it all originated here in Buffalo, NY. And while most people attribute the invention of the chicken wing to the Anchor Bar, that may be more urban myth than actual fact. Check out our Insiders Guide to Buffalo Wings and view the video we produced exploring Buffalo wing history below. The contested history is something of legend – and explored at length on our wing tour.
BUFFALO TOURS: EXPERIENCE BUFFALO ON TWO WHEELS!
If you dig reading about Buffalo’s unique foods, you’ll probably dig Buffalo Bike Tours. We lead daily food tours, tasting some Buffalo’s best food hotspots – including wings tours as well as Buffalo’s newcomer restaurants.
Be sure to also check out our Buffalo history tours and Team Building Activity Tours for a private tour experience. Or do a tour on your own with one of our self-guided tours of Buffalo. Buffalo bike rentals are also available.
Check out our entire schedule here. Ready to discover the real Buffalo? Book your tour now.