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Best shop for women's formal wear: Annarlette

Photo by kc kratt


Best new small retail business

Molly + Kate

35 Main St., Hamburg; 926-9200 or mollynkate.com

Molly + Kate was established by two sisters who are complete opposites. Kate has been working in the fashion industry for the past sixteen years in Atlanta and Boston, while Molly stayed in Buffalo to pursue accounting and raise a family. Together they decided to open Molly + Kate, a lifestyle boutique with a “New England” vibe. This shabby chic shop is one of the many reasons the village of Hamburg is a trendy destination. One step into the store is enough to see that everything is handpicked with love, including beautiful clothing, accessories, home décor, gifts, and even some cute items for the little people in your life.


Best new clothing boutique (women’s)

August Market

650 Main St., East Aurora; 432-7661 or augustmarket.com

Husband and wife team Kwame Taylor-Hayford and Tamara Tribula have brought a “slow fashion” boutique to Western New York. August Market is an incredibly beautiful shop that makes its customers feel incredibly happy. The shop showcases a well-curated selection of womenswear, accessories, and home goods. There’s a sense of intention and methodology behind every item in the store—whether it’s a Rachel Comey kimono-style jacket or earrings by local jewelry designer Peg’s Hardware. The entire inventory can be shopped online. 


Best clothing boutique (established, city)

Half & Half

1088 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 239-1652 or Facebook/Half & Half

Jen and Kilby Bronstein have enlived this longtime Elmwood staple by expanding the women’s offerings and adding men’s clothing and housewares. Its Instagram feed features everything from stylish watering cans, pretty notecards, and unusual holiday oprnaments, in addition to the fabulous apparel lineup that we’ve come to expect.


Best clothing boutique (established, suburbs)


3206 Sheridan Dr., Buffalo; 831-0773 or mabeldanahy.com

It’s rare to leave this longstanding favorite without finding exactly the right outfit or outfit element. Danahy’s is one of the few go-tos in WNY for designer wear, but designer doesn’t have to mean fancy. There are great choices here for work and play.


Best shop for formal wear (men’s)


830 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 259-8141 or bureaumade.com

This custom-made menswear shop takes traditional Italian and British style to another level. With stylistic heroes such as David Bowie and Serge Gainsbourg and jazz legends Miles Davis and John Coltrane, this shop is the epitome of cool. Co-owners Joseph Stocker and Jon Eisenberg opened Bureau in 2013 with the intention of showing men in Buffalo how to rock a custom suit and how important it is to feel good in what you wear. Whether it’s for your wedding day, business attire, or just everyday style elevation, Bureau can make the look work. Come, sit down, listen to some records, get to know Joe & Jon and let them help you design a suit that fits your personality.  


Best shop for formal wear (women’s)


3959 Main St., Amherst; 833-7000 or annarlette.com

PHoto by kc kratt


Annarlette is Buffalo’s answer to high fashion. Since 2015, owners Patti Lawley and Mindy Shine have worked to bring designers and the best of luxury brands to the Queen City. This retail destination is filled with a finely curated selection of head-to-toe looks, including beautiful gowns by Toronto designers Lucian Matis, Wayne Clark, and Frascara. Famed designer Matis (who dresses Sophie Grégoire Trudeau) makes frequent appearances at the shop for local charity events and trunk shows. Patrons of this shop will not have to worry about seeing their outfits on other attendees at the same event.


Best shop for handmade jewelry

Wild Things

224 Lexington Ave., Buffalo; 882-3324 or wildthingsartisans.com

Sure, the merchandise is diverse and delightful here, combining as it does precious/semiprecious, vintage, campy, and quirky. But the friendly atmosphere and laidback attitudes of the artisans who staff Wild Things is what pushes this shop to the top. No wonder it has been thriving for more than thirty years.


Best shop for traditional jewelry

Brian Michael's Jewelers

1150 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda; 833-0700 or brianmichaelsjewelers.com

Choose from an extensive list of top jewelry designers here or work with the shop’s jewelers to design your own. Either way, you’ll come away with a piece to be cherished forever.


Best shop for funky accessories

MMW Style Studio

403 Main St., Buffalo; 812-0937 or Facebook

This cool shop is downtown Buffalo’s go-to for on-trend and affordable women’s clothing and accessories. For those who dare to be different, MMW Style Studio has a colorful selection of unique pieces for all sizes, mixed with bold and funky jewelry and accessories. From bright clutches to G-baby bows, there’s something for every diva.


Best shop for furniture

Ethan Allen

3875 Sheridan Dr., Amherst; 839-4484 or eaofwny.com

There are many reasons to love Ethan Allen, but probably the most important is the ease of the shopping experience here.  Ethan Allen’s showrooms presents a series of  rooms that anyone would want to live in forever and deciding which one you want is enjoyable and fulfilling.


Best shop for vintage furniture

Mimo Decor

1251 Hertel Ave., Buffalo; 873-0727 or mimo-decor.com

Midcentury modern is hot; industrial is even hotter. It’s a good thing Mimo Decor is here with furniture and home decor in both those styles, as well as others. The items available when we looked included Marcel Breuer chairs, a gorgeous diamond face bar cabinet, a rosewood and walnut Stanley dresser set, and much more. Better hurry.


Best shop for home decor


1400 Hertel Ave., Buffalo; 939-2692 or room-buffalo.com

This go-to for all things furniture and design is run by two of the coolest people we know, Michael Poczkalski and David Brugh. Items range from home décor accents to full-on investment pieces. The in-house design team, Michael P. Design, has worked with HGTV and the DIY network, designing beautiful spaces nationwide. Buffalo’s lucky to have this level of hometown talent. Peep room’s Instagram to start your “want” list.


Best thrift shop

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

501 Amherst St., Buffalo; 1675 South Park Ave., Buffalo

852-6607 or habitatbuffalo.org

ReStore is the place to check out frequently if you’re working on an ongoing home improvement project—especially in an older home—or are decorating on a budget. Inside its two locations are neatly organized with donated and used home appliances, furniture, and building materials. Prices are reasonable and 100 percent of the proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity Buffalo, which has helped in the rehabbing of hundreds of homes for low-income residents since the mid-eighties.


Best shop for unique gifts

Thin Ice

719 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 881-4321 or thiniceonline.com

With two friendly resident felines and a bevy of Buffalo-themed home décor items, Thin Ice is the place to find gifts for any person, near or far, who loves the Queen City. Most prominent in the shop are the jewelry cases; the designs are mostly organic with some bisoncentric. All types of artful objects for garden, kitchen, and walls are available. Some of the most popular items at Thin Ice are the hockey puck bottle openers, decorated with sporty and proud Buffalo themes.


Best shop for men’s gifts

Riverside Men's Shop

6470 Transit Rd., Depew; 883-8401or riversidemens.com

Everything you can throw onto a well-dressed man may be found at Riverside Men’s Shop, a WNY staple (since 1918) that offers casual to formal attire, as well as accessories. The store sells Buffalo-emblazoned shirts, ties, and hats, and gift wrapping is free.


Best shop for women’s gifts (city)

Fern + Arrow

773 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 882-5858 or @fernandarrowshop

Fern + Arrow, with its bright white interior and concrete floors, brings a Brooklyn vibe to the Elmwood Village. This beautiful lifestyle store is the extension of the clothing boutique Anna Grace. Owner Joanne Dina has immaculate taste and has curated a fun shop. From handcrafted home décor and jewelry to great coffee table books, shoppers will find friends and loved ones gifts they will cherish forever.


Best shop for women’s gifts (suburbs)

Tony Walker & Co.

5110 Main St., Williamsville; 626-3280 or tonywalker.com

This iconic retail destination is the perfect place to shop for women’s gifts of all kinds. Tony Walker & Co. has pioneered the shop-in-shop concept with brands such as Lilly Pulitzer, Jonathan Adler, Tory Burch, John Hardy, Mackenzie Childs, and more. This store has morphed into a full-fledged lifestyle brand that just keeps growing and growing!


Best sporting/outdoor life store

Gear for Adventure

305 Buffalo St., Hamburg; 646-4327 or gearforadventure.com

Whether you paddle, ski, board, camp, hike, play disc golf, or are still looking for your ideal sport, this colorful and extensive retailer channels your inner adventurer.


Best place for organic food

Lexington Co-operative Market

807 Elmwood Ave. and 1678 Hertel Ave., Buffalo; lexington.coop

With two handsome locations, this longstanding provider of the local and organic has become more accessible than ever. Two locations mean two great cafes, two places to get goods normally only available at farmers markets, and two places that offer that rare thing—an enjoyable grocery shopping experience.


Best small garden store

Urban Roots Community Garden Center

428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo; urbanroots.org

Photo by kc kratt


Every year, this West Side garden center gets better, which means it’s become a go-to for all of Western New York, not just its intended urban customers. From handsome ceramic pots to native perennials to ergonomic tools, you’ll find it here.


Best big garden store

Lockwood's Garden Center

4484 Clark St., Hamburg; 649-4684 or weknowplants.com

Lockwood’s does know plants, from the roots up. It grows them, finds unusual varieties of them, and takes care of them once they’re on the garden center shelves. Many of the newest varietals can be found at Lockwood’s first, and the friendly staff is always knowledgeable and helpful.


Best florist

Petrichor Flora

1203 Hertel Ave., Buffalo; 949-0033 or petrichorbuffalo.com

It’s easy to identify a Petrichor arrangement. Just look for lesser-known plants, striking color combinations, and close attention to texture. Once known for his flower cart, Denis Guerin has developed Petrichor into Buffalo’s go-to for flowers people remember long after they’ve faded.


Best shoe repair

Sole Man

565 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 836-6464 or solemanbuffalo.com

Sole Man keeps the old-school shoe shop tradition alive. Owner Brian Gavigan is a wizard when it comes to shoe repair—if there’s such a thing as a modern cobbler shop,  Sole Man is it.


Best shoe repair (suburbs)

Evanstown Shoe Repair

20 Evans St., Williamsville; 633-6608

Long WNY winters can be particularly hard on our soles—pun intended—but if yours wear out, or a heel pops off, all is not lost! Breathe new life into your broken-in boots, pumps, and shoes with efficient service and fair prices at Evanstown Shoe Repair. Keep in mind this classic cobbler shop is cash only.


Best pet grooming


2964 Delaware Ave., Kenmore; 768-4004 or buffalolaundromutt.com

Here’s a place that offers pet grooming with options: patrons can use the self-service wash stations  to clean their own pets (without the mess to clean up at home) or the professional stylists can do the job for you. It all adds up to a very popular operation, as our poll responses easily demonstrate.


Best pet boarding

Cara Mia Pet Resort

6429 Transit Rd., Williamsville; 568-2272 or caramiapetresort.com

Pampered might be an understatement for the furry friends visiting Cara Mia Pet Resort. Boarding packages include luxurious, climate-controlled suites with clean comfortable beds, room service, premium bottled water, and calming classical music. Over-the-top amenities, such as a heated swim spa, relaxing stroller rides, and rose petal whirlpool bubble baths with warm towels and robes are the ultimate in luxury for your pet, while service for the humans is top-notch, too. To accommodate busy schedules, drop-offs by appointment are as early as 4 a.m. and pick-ups as late as midnight.


Most environmentally conscious retail business

EcoVerde Organics

1773 Blakeley Rd., East Aurora; 209-3166 or ecoverdecompost.com

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to leave composting to the professionals, especially when the professionals belong to EcoVerde Organics, a company which makes compost on a large scale, in the process helping to stem the huge tide of food waste that is so prevalent in Buffalo and throughout the US.


Best customer service (retail)

Delta Sonic

Many locations; 800-843-5477 or deltasoniccarwash.com

Car upkeep is nobody’s favorite thing, but Delta Sonic makes it easy. The technicians here cheerfully pull off inspection, car washing, detailing, and other services quickly and efficiently. It doesn’t hurt that there is a nice clean waiting room with snacks and reading material nearby.


Best place for wine tasting

>>> Tie

Paradise Wine

435 Rhode Island St., Buffalo; 322-5396 or paradisewinebuffalo.com

photo by kc kratt


It was recently named in a list of Bon Appetit magazine’s favorite natural wine shops, but most Western New York wine lovers don’t need a national endorsement to confirm that Paradise Wine offers something Buffalo has never had before: an expertly curated lineup of wines and small batch spirits with a focus on biodynamic and organic producers. Tastings are weekly, always with fun themes.


Winkler & Samuels

500 Seneca St., Buffalo; 235-8121 or winklerandsamuels.com

The most recent wine purveyor in Buffalo offers classes, personal sommelier services, and wine storage. It’s much more than a wine store, and it’s located in the beautiful 500 Seneca complex. The wines have been personally selected by proprieter Melissa Winkler and free tastings are held on Fridays and Saturdays.


Best big wine/liquor store

Gates Circle wine & liquor

1430 Delaware Ave., Buffalo;  884-1346 or gatescircleliquor.com

Gates is not all that big, which is a good thing. It’s small enough to be easily navigated, but large enough to contain a wide selection of wines and liquors—definitely enough to supply any home bar or s party. The staff is very friendly and customers are usually greeted and offered help as soon as  they arrive. There is alwasy a great line-up of bottles on the tasting table.


Best boutique wine/liquor store

City Wine Merchant

715 Main St., Buffalo; 931-9114 or citywinemerchant.com

Buffalo’s first truly curated wine store is still killing it. The selection is smart and diverse; you’ll find a few familiar names, stocked for their continuing high quality, as well as rare bottles from small producers. The prices are diverse too, with plenty of space devoted to value, as well as those special-occasion bottles that are well worth their pricetags.


Best boutique wine/liquor store (suburbs)

On the Rox liquors

4382 Bailey Ave., Amherst; 838-4000 or ontheroxliquors.com

With its intriguing upsidedown signage, prominent placement, and expansive parking, this cute store makes a stop-in very easy.  There are regular tasting and the staff is eager to help.


Most fun place to shop

>>> Tie

Elmwood Village farmers market

Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; elmwoodmarket.org

It’s so much more than the fresh, local produce. There are dogs, musicians, coffee vendors, beer tastings, and—most important—all your friends.



676-694 E. Main St., East Aurora; 652-0481 or vidlers5and10.com

If you haven’t visited this place yet, what’s stopping you? It’s worth the trip to East Aurora just to shop shelf after shelf of merchandise you had no idea existed or needed to exist. There are also plenty of useful items here, but the fun part is browsing the thousands of just-plain-insane goods that are—unbelievably—for sale here.


Best fitness classes

Revolution Indoor Cycling

1716 Main St., Buffalo; 908-0622 or revolutionbuffalo.com

One of the online reviewers of this fitness studio mentions that she loves Revolution but is hesitant to let others in on the secret. Too late. The secret is out now, as our poll results clearly demonstrate. Revolution has a fan base unlike any other such facility in WNY.


Best fitness classes (suburbs)

Rebel Ride

6449 Transit Rd., East Amherst; 691-7433 or rebelride.com

The exciting high-intensity workouts here come complete with music and theatrical effects. Particpants get the feeling they’re dancing as much as riding; anything that makes fitness this much fun deserves a try. And the first ride at Rebel Ride is always free.


Best dance classes

>>> Tie

Swing Buffalo at Polish Cadets

927 Grant St., Buffalo; swingbuffalo.com

Vintage dance styles like Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Jitterbug are alive and well in WNY, thanks to Swing Buffalo. Newbies are welcome and no special clothing or equipment is needed. Swing Buffalo even supplies newcomers with partners. It’s low pressure and fun, qualities that most of us prefer when it comes to dance classes.


Baila Salsa Dance Company

208-0461 or salsabuffalo.com

With regular Sunday lessons at their headquarters at the Pucho Olivenia Center,  261 Swan Street, and frequent pop-ups at locations like canalside and Delaware Park, Baila makes it easy to get your salsa on. Cofounders and award-winners Calvin Rice and Fanny Olaya have been dancing together for almost ten years.


Best yoga

Love in Motion

1250 Niagara St., Buffalo; 262-8145 or loveinmotion.yoga

We love this from their mission statement: “serious yoga for those who don’t take life all that seriously.” Classes include basic, vinyasa, and the famous Downward Goat at Alpine Made Farms.


Best new workout movement

November Project buffalo

1285 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; november-project.com/buffalo-ny



In rain or shine, snow or sleet, a tribe shows up at 6:10 a.m. every Wednesday behind the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, ready to work out with the November Project, a free fitness movement that began in Boston in 2011 and now has a presence in forty-five cities across North America, Asia, and Europe. Locally, fitness buffs Jason Jerome and Steven Procknal organized their first group workout last May and were officially welcomed as a November Project tribe a month later, celebrating the occasion with a special group workout out at Coca-Cola Field.


Best cycle shop

Tom’s Pro Bike

Multiple locations; tomsprobike.com

This bicycle shop specializes in road bikes, service, and custom fitting; it’s also a go-to for serious bikers looking for high-end professional equipment. Newbies are welcome too; word is that Tom’s won’t upsell customers when all they need is a basic bike.


Best tattoo shop

Divine Machine Tattoo

82 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 883-1300 or divinemachinetattoo.com

Six resident artists do the inking at Divine Machine, conveniently located in tattoo-rich Allentown. Walk-ins are welcome but reserving a favorite artist is highly recommended: examples from each are available on the shop’s website. Patrons are able to message their chosen tat artist directly, outlining concepts for their custom skin art.


Best spa treatment & best customer service salon

Excuria Salon and Spa

5725 Main St., Williamsville; 839-3106 or excuriaspa.com

Savor every moment of your rejuvenating spa experience at Excuria. The menu offers treatments to cleanse, nourish, and hydrate the skin. Services are provided in elegant, private treatment spaces that allow you to relax and recharge both body and mind.


Best hair color

Chez Ann Salon

5140 Main St., Williamsville; 632-2258 or chezannsalon.com

Whether you want a subtle enhancement, bold change, or color correction, the experienced staff at Chez Ann live up to their reputations for meticulous work and great service. Not sure what color works best for you and your lifestyle? Book a free fifteen-minute consultation to get all your questions answered in person.


Best massage

>>> Tie

Trés Auraé Spa

Wyndham Lobby, 5195 Main St., Suite 1B, Williamsville; GR8-SKIN or spabuffalo.com

When the stress of life has your body tense and your head spinning, experience the healing power of touch at Trés Auraé Spa. Choose from a variety of custom therapeutic, prenatal, oncologic, and relaxation treatments, or let the experienced massage therapists make a recommendation. Your body (and mind) will thank you!


The Woodhouse Day Spa

5933 Main St., Williamsville; 458-5700 or buffalo.woodhousespas.com

A four-handed massage? Yes, please. This is among the dozens of therapeutic massage options at Woodhouse Day Spa, each assuring tension release, circulation enhancement, and overall wellness. Each massage incorporates a foot cleansing ritual and essential oil treatment to induce deep relaxation.   


Best manicure

Serendipity Salon & Day Spa

466 Evans Rd., Williamsville; 634-4058 or serendipitysalononevans.com

With more than forty years’ experience, manicurists at Serendipity offer nail options from natural manicures to gels, from traditional to trendy. Enjoy a cozy, comfortable environment, great customer service, and, above all, perfectly manicured nails.


Best pedicure

Corto’s Salon and Seasons Spa

Multiple locations; cortossalonandspa.com

Whether to relax and catch up with friends while getting sandal-ready (the Hamburg location has eight chairs), or just enjoy a quiet, exclusive experience (visit the Orchard Park spa), Corto’s has you covered. From the initial soak to the exfoliation and hydrating lower-leg and foot massage, nothing is more pampering or relaxing than a great pedicure. Signature, essential, or wellness treatments are available, as well as junior pedicures for those twelve and under.


Best blow-out

Capello Salon & Spa

Multiple locations; capellosalon.com

Since the establishment of its flagship salon in the Village of Williamsville in 1970, the Capello family business has grown to three WNY locations offering a full range of salon and spa services. After a new cut and color or between services, a wash and style from Capello is a good-hair-day guarantee.


Best facial

The Spa at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

310 Fourth St., Niagara Falls; 278-3696 or senecaniagaracasino.com/stay/spa-salon

Amid the exciting action one expects from a casino is a tranquil oasis offering luxury facials among a full menu of spa and salon offerings. Add a citrus mint scalp massage to your treatment for ultimate relaxation.


Best medispa

>>> Tie

Spa Niagara

6932 Williams Rd., Suite 1700, Niagara Falls; 205-0039 or spaniagarausa.com


WNY Plastic Surgery Medical Spa

7 Hopkins Road, Williamsville; 202-8409 or wnyplasticsurgery.com/medical-spa

Interest in MediSpa services that offer transformative results without invasive surgery has exploded in recent years. Results-driven treatments are customized to client needs and overseen by a medical professional. Both Spa Niagara and WNY Plastic Surgery Medical Spa offer top-notch service and treatments for a wide range of skin care concerns.


Best haircut (women's)

Studio M Hair Design, Inc.

5987 Main St., Williamsville; 632-9670 or studiomhairdesign.com

A great haircut is the start of every good hair day. Michael Bryant and daughter Nicole Bryant-Lupas call on artistic flair and years of experience to create the perfect cut for your hair and lifestyle.


Best haircut (men’s)

Hair Works Salon

671 Delaware Rd., Tonawanda; 873-3163 or hairworkswny.com

From conservative, classic looks to cutting-edge trendy styles, master barber and salon owner Angelo Albert has been barber to legions of WNY men for more than five decades. Loyal fans agree that he’s perfected the art of the perfect cut.


Best salon for weddings & Best make-up services

Salon Elizabeth

720 Jamison Rd., Elma; 863-8489 or lizzydugan.com

Not only are owner Lizzy Dugan and her team of beauty pros talented, they also make wedding day preparations fun and relaxing. Located just off Route 400, the gorgeous salon boasts a private bridal suite, beautiful marble garden patio, and photo-ready interior design. Whether you’re looking for on-site or in-salon services, bold glamour or natural beauty look, enlist make-up services from Salon Elizabeth for any special occasion.


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