As a testament to the undeniable sense of promise and baked-in perseverance that has carried Western New Yorkers through the leanest of times, the coldest of winters, and the most tragic of sports team losses, more than eighty new restaurants, delis, bakeries, coffeeshops, tap rooms, and watering holes have opened in our region, against all odds, in the throes of a global pandemic.
Due to space limitations, this list includes joints that have opened since fall of 2020, but we are certain we missed a few (and a few more have most definitely opened since we sent this issue to print). We welcome you to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if we missed your new favorite spot. Tell us why you love it!
In alphabetical order, here’s a quick rundown of those that hit our radar.
220 Allen Street, Buffalo; find it on Instagram
Located across the street from the Old Pink, Allentown Cafe offers breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Saturday. A simple menu of flatbreads and flapjacks, salads and sandwiches, mac ’n’ cheese and a good ol’ fish fry make this a great addition to its neighborhood.
3234 Main Street, Buffalo; amysplacebuffalo.com
She’s back! This University Heights staple has reopened and returns with its quirky menu of Lebanese-inspired hits. This time, however, it’s gone 100 percent vegetarian. Those who know know that the lentil berry sandwich, Barb Special, vegan mac, and Veggie Wet Shoes will please anyone, even carnivores.
Amy & Co.
6926 Buffalo Avenue, Niagara Falls; find it on social
A cute spot for coffee and scratchmade baked goods in Niagara Falls
Diner & Kabab House
1389 Bailey Avenue, Buffalo; find it on social
Forty-nine different curries set this Bangladeshi-Indian restaurant in Lovejoy apart, but its menu of samosas, kebabs, and dozens of both meat- and vegetarian-centric mains are what will keep folks coming back.
B&D’s Bagels & Locks
21 Main Street, Lockport; find it on social
Importing bagel dough from NYC, B&D’s freshly boils and bakes its bagels. Get ‘em while they’re hot!
Barney’s Ice Cream
754 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo; barneysicecream.com
Based in Mayville, Barney’s sister location on Elmwood is a super cute scoop shop offering small batch scratchmade ice cream. Typically, this location features eight flavors, four plant-based and four dairy-based options.
The Bean Bastard Coffee
448 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo; thebeanbastard.com
Bean Bastard is the best coffee shop to utilize this location thus far, and offers killer coffee and decent food. Quick service makes it an easy daily stop, but a nice dining room means you can cozy up with a loved one or a laptop for a longer stay.
The Beer Keep
1002 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo; thebeerkeep.com
Elmwood’s newest beer spot encourages guests to sample brews from ten taps and an endless selection of bottles and cans. As a bottle shop, guests can also take home tough-to-find releases.
Bella’s Parkside Tavern
1125 Tonawanda Street, Buffalo; find it on Instagram
After closing its Pizza Bella Riverside location after a fire in 2018, the local fave has reopened as Bella’s Parkside, which features some of the original location’s ’zas, but also a menu of Mediterranean-infused casual fare.
2835 Delaware Ave., Kenmore; bengalgrillbuffalo.com
Kenmore gets its own Indian/Bangladeshi restaurant with an added bonus: an owner focused on using fresh ingredients.
Big Mama’s Hustle & Soul Barbecue Takeout
934 Niagara Falls Boulevard, Tonawanda; find it on social
A new takeout location for the folks behind Big Mama’s food truck means diners can score its signature plates of soul food every day, rain or shine.
Seneca One Tower; 1 Seneca Street, Buffalo; theblendbuffalo.com
The nutrition-focused food truck opens its first brick and mortar inside Seneca One, Douglas Jemal’s forty-floor love letter to Buffalo.
5175 Broadway Street, Depew; find it on social
In case you were as worried as we’ve been about the lack of garbage plates available in Buffalo, we have good news! At Depew’s newest burger spot, you can get burgers, dogs, loaded fries and a wide variety of plates o’ trash.
475 Ellicott Street, Buffalo; 716brothers.com
Its first location on Hertel won diners over with its menu of bold flavors and generous portion sizes. In September, the owners opened a sitdown restaurant on Ellicott Street in the former Seabar.
388 Porter Avenue, Buffalo; cafegodotbflo.com
Owned and operated by longtime restaurant veteran Roy Bakos and Spree food writer Kevin Thurston, this tiny West Side daytime restaurant focuses on scratchmade global comfort fare that often includes vegan and vegetarian options.
9980 Main Street, Clarence; campfiregrill.org
Another Campfire Grill has opened, this time on Main Street in Clarence.
727 Maple Road, Amherst; cantina62.com
Another Cantina 62 has opened, this time on Maple Road in Amherst.
The Cereal Spot
1212 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo; thecerealspot.com
Being the home of Cheerios, Buffalo was perhaps overdue for a cereal-themed restaurant. However, your choices aren’t limited to the o-shaped oats we all know and love, or even their honey-flavored sisters. Instead, more than a hundred cereals, a half-dozen types of milk, and even Perry’s ice cream are just waiting for you to mix and match, or enjoy as part of cereal sundaes, tacos, or other ice cream treats.
1458 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo; chickmex.com
A second location of the popular halal Mexican joint that first tantalized UB students.
4775 Transit Road, Williamsville; chruscikibakery.com
Ring leaders behind the Polish triple threat gracing the Eastern Hills Mall (Sto Lat Bar and Simply Pierogi), Buffalo’s famed bakery reinvents the food court and the region’s perception of Polish fare with its latest set up.
4493 Walden Avenue, Lancaster; clarksburgcider.com/tap-room/
In apple country, shouldn’t every hamlet have a cidery? Each year WNY gets closer to that reality, and Clarksburg is a great addition to the growing roster of regional cidermakers. The Clarksburg tap room also offers a full menu of fare, from cider-steamed clams to pizza, and even a sturdy pork chop entree.
Cookies & Cream
2114 Seneca Street, Buffalo; cookiesandcream716.com
Located in the same building as Cantina 62 and Public Espresso, this scoop shop is differentiating itself from the herd by serving Gifford’s ice cream, a fifth generation maker located in Maine.
2082 South Park Avenue, Buffalo; find it on social
Nestled into a convenience mart in South Buffalo, this taco joint has quickly won fans by adopting one of the internet’s latest (but perhaps most delicious) fads, the birria taco.
Ellicottville Brewing Tap+Bottle & Taqueria
20 Washington St., Ellicottville; ellicottvillebrewing.com
A hop, skip, and a jump from its homebase, Ellicottville Brewing has opened another location, this time in partnership with Mexico’s Falling Piano Brewery. It features a brewpub, bottle shop, and a taqueria.
@42 North Brewing Company; 25 Pine Street, East Aurora; fatbobs.com
A second location of Fat Bob’s has opened at East Aurora’s 42 North Brewing Co.
Fattey Beer Company (two new locations)
908 Niagara Falls Boulevard, North Tonawanda; fattey-beer.myshopify.com
6696 US-219, Ellicottville; fattey-beer.myshopify.com
Two additional locations of the popular local brewery opened in 2021.
First Line Brewing
4906 South Buffalo Street, Orchard Park; find it on social
This list is packed with firsts, and, in this case it’s the opening of Orchard Park’s first brewery! First Line keeps it fun, with dessert and cereal-inspired beers alongside more traditional offerings.
The Flaming Fish
535 Main Street, Buffalo; theflamingfish.com
Another longtime food truck fave has opened a brick and mortar location downtown. Diners will discover po’ boys, hoagies, salads, and tacos predominately featuring fish and seafood, but fish haters should note that beef and chicken are also available.
Frankie Primos +39 (second location)
26 Webster Street, North Tonawanda;
A second Frankie Primo’s location has opened in North Tonawanda.
Fresh Catch Poke Co. (second location)
305 Franklin Street, Buffalo; freshcatchpoke.co
Buffalo’s favorite (and only) poke shop has opened a second location in the new Aloft on Franklin and West Tupper.
800 Center Street, Lewiston; gallorestaurants.com
Lewiston’s well-respected restaurant group opens a Mexican spot to complement its existing assortment of Center Street offerings.
Ghada Have It!
4900 Saunders Settlement Road, Niagara Falls; ghada-have-it-homecooking.business.site
There’s something for everyone at Ghada Have It! Diners experience a menu of pizzas, pizza logs, and wings, but also tacos, burgers, falafel, and gyros.
537 Main Street, Buffalo; graylynnginbar.com
Graylynn is a gin bar, but you can have just about any libation here. A simple menu of European-themed bar fare, a large cooler of to-go options, and a great downtown patio have won Graylynn an early and passionate following.
Harvest at Bent’s Opera House
444 Main Street, Medina; harvestatbent.com
Fine dining has hit Medina. Located in a refurbished opera house, Harvest boasts a fresh and seasonal menu of simple, modern cuisine.
190 Scott Street, Buffalo; hofbrauhausbuffalo.com
Buffalo’s iteration of the popular German-themed restaurant chain opened mid-pandemic in September 2020 to smaller but no less enthusiastic crowds.
House of Charm
517 Washington Street, Buffalo
You won’t find a website or social media account for House of Charm, but you can expect no-nonsense drinks and service at a fair price, great paté, even better tunes, and the kind of vibe the Old Pink likely gave off in its early years.
1010 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo; jackrabbitbuffalo.com
Located in the former JP Bullfeather’s on Elmwood, Jack Rabbit is a more modern interpretation of its predecessor with a broadly appealing menu and a dedication to live local music.
1507 Pine Avenue, Niagara Falls; find it on social
Judas Tree considers itself an amaro bar, and, while we haven’t been yet, we are thrilled to see craft cocktails have found a home in the Cataract City.
128 Fargo Avenue, Buffalo; khariscafe.com
Located in the jewelbox on Fargo Avenue formerly home to Tipico, the menu at Khari’s Cafe offers hot and cold coffee- and tea-based drinks, tonics, and a modest menu of sweets, wraps, bagels, and salads.
345 West Ferry Street, Buffalo; find it on social
Having once graced the cover of Buffalo Spree, we can’t say enough about this Latin-themed restaurant, especially in its new stand-alone location.
4038 Hoover Road, Hamburg; lago210.com
A great place to soak up lake views, Lago 210 focuses on wine, charcuterie, and small plates featuring vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.
Long Weekend Bakery & Cafe
34 Central Avenue, Lancaster; find it on social
The plant-based bakery makes the short list of local spots with a 100 percent animal-free menu. Humane housemade pop tarts, anyone?
151 Grider Street, Buffalo; lovebirdsrestaurant.com
Bright and simple Indian-Bangladeshi fare is on offer at this small corner cafe. Guests order at the counter and take their food with them or have a seat in the dining room.
Luxor Steak & Lobster
3199 Main Street, Buffalo; luxorsteakandlobst.wixsite.com/luxorsteaklobster
Given its name, it is clear Luxor prides itself on its lobster and steak offerings, but chicken wings, an Angus burger topped with a lobster tail, and lamb chops are a few of the other items diners will find on the menu of University Heights’ newest restaurant.
Manito Taco Shop
3958 Lockport Olcott Road, Lockport; manito-taco-shop.negocio.site
Manito is a taco truck with a permanent place in a lot and plenty of tables and chairs set up for diners to enjoy a meal outside. It’s also super authentic if you skip the optional shredded cheese and sour cream.
Middle Sister Sandwiches
69 Chenango Street, Buffalo; find it on social
This diminutive sandwich popup in a commissary kitchen on the West Side is making some of the best banh mi Buffalo has ever seen.
Mike & Pop’s
Bistro & Tavern
3020 Delaware Avenue, Kenmore; mikeandpops.com
Replacing a neighborhood pub is always tough, but the father and son team behind Mike & Pop’s seem to have the perfect recipe for winning regulars, new and old. Some say it’s the banana peppers; we think it’s the hospitality.
346 Connecticut Street, Buffalo; mistersizzles.com
Holding down the prime real estate at Horsefeathers, Mister Sizzle’s has killer chicken sammies, smash burgers better than Shake Shack (yeah, we said it), milkshakes, and a full cocktail bar.
3030 Delaware Avenue, Kenmore; mojomarket.com
The owners of Snyder’s O3 have reinvented their business model, its menu, and its location to a much more appealing (read: delicious) and inviting experience. Kenmore denizens are lucky to have this lovely spot in their collective back pocket.
1535 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo; moorroombuffalo.com
Hertel gets its own reliably capable Shatzel joint.
10678 Main Street, Clarence; morluskis.com
One of Clarence’s newest ventures is a pub featuring Polish and Italian favorites on two separate menus. From cabbage rolls and pierogi to gnocchi and tiramisu, this place will make most WNYers feel at home.
Off the Wall
4068 North Buffalo Street, Orchard Park; offthewallsandwichcompany.com
If you love gameday chow, then Off the Wall will be right up your alley. Smothered in sauces and cheese, a unique selection of burgers and sandwiches is a sport in itself.
OSB Ciderworks Taproom
517 Main Street, Buffalo; osbciderworks.com
Lakeville, NY’s OSB Ciderworks recently opened a second tasting room in downtown Buffalo, contributing to the nightlife on the 500 block of Main Street. Wild cider flavors, such as grape and matcha, set this local cidery apart.
Overwinter Coffee (third location)
5548 Main Street, Williamsville; overwinter.coffee
Another location of Overwinter has opened in a fabulous spot on Main Street in Williamsville.
822 Seneca Street, Buffalo; paulasdonuts.com
A super fun fourth location of Buffalo’s favorite old school doughnut shop has opened in Larkinville.
Pellicano Vineyard Hamburg Winery
6736 Boston State Road, Hamburg; pellicanovineyard.com
Hamburg’s first winery and tasting room also offers visitors a menu of small plates and creative mimosas.
1030 Payne Avenue, North Tonawanda;
A second location of Pizza Amore has opened in North Tonawanda.
265 Kenmore Avenue, Tonawanda; poppapetes-alebanesejoint.square.site
This tiny one-man shop is takeout-only, but with the bold and crazy fresh Lebanese fare he’s churning out, we bet you won’t make it all the way to your driveway without pulling over to dive in.
Positiv Cafe and Bakery
121 Prospect Street, Attica; positivcafeandbakery.com
Attica needed a place like Positiv, where super fresh salads, sandwiches, and breakfast options augment a decent coffee program in a casual environment.
Pour Taproom Buffalo
490 Pearl Street, Buffalo; pourtaproom.com
The first of its kind in Buffalo, this tap room is a franchise from Asheville, but owned and operated by locals. It offers guests a pay-by-the-ounce service model and over fifty taps from which to choose.
2437 William Street, Cheektowaga; pubskipub.com
Did the pandemic make everyone miss the comfort of Polish food? We think that may be how so many new restaurants are focused on the Eastern European fare we love so much. At Pubski, it’s less like “pierogi and latkes and goblaki” and more like “Krakow Chowder” and ’kraut covered sausage bombers.
Roma Thai and
964 Maple Road, Amherst; roma-thai-burmese-cuisine.business.site
COVID got the best of our favorite karaoke spot, but in its place is a new Burmese and Thai restaurant that’s quickly garnishing very enthusiastic reviews.
Rosie’s Handcrafted Ice Cream
431 Main Street, East Aurora; havearosieday.com
Rosie’s has quickly garnered a loyal following with scratchmade, small-batch premium ice creams, available in dairy-free or traditional.
Pub and grill
1 Galleria Drive, P102, Cheektowaga; santoras.com
Located outside the Walden Galleria, this new iteration of the age-old WNY favorite includes a broader menu of non-pizza offerings and a thirty-tap brewery.
4475 Transit Road, Williamsville; simplypierogi.com
Part of a new effort to inject life into the Eastern Hills Mall, Simply Pierogi is a fast casual concept located inside with its sisters, Sto Lat Bar and Chrusciki Bakery. Its menu, as the restaurant’s name implies, is based on our region’s favorite dough pocket.
South Transit BBQ Grill
6703 South Transit Road, Lockport; stransitbbq.com
South Transit’s first-time owners have pulled out all the stops by freshening the once-dusty and dated diner and developing a menu of morning options (replete with pulled pork hash) and classic barbecue entrees. (Gotta love a ’que joint with a breakfast menu.)
Sto Lat Bar
4475 Transit Road, Williamsville; stolatbar.com
WNY loves Polish food, but, over the years, most restaurants dedicated to it have struggled to find year-round business. Fingers crossed that Sto Lat Bar’s modern dining room and fresh approach to the beloved flavor profiles of this Eastern European cuisine earn it the large and enthusiastic crowd it deserves.
Sunshine Vegan Eats
893 Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo; sunshineveganeats.com
Word on the street is that this woman-owned restaurant on Buffalo’s East Side is a veritable bastion of sumptuous vegan comfort food. The word is right!
Tacos, Community & Beer
1275 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo; tcbbuffalo.com
The popular suburban taco shop has opened a second location in an unusual spot. Currently offering the only outdoor dining along Millionaires’ Row (aka Delaware Avenue), diners can sit inside or outside the multi-story building recently reimagined by developer TM Montante.
Tappo Day Club
140 Chandler Street, Buffalo; tappodayclub.com
In case you missed it, Rocco Termini opened a pool club with a bar and small plates in Chandlerville this summer—the first of its kind in WNY.
1849 Grand Island Boulevard; Grand Island; find it on social
Grand Island lands an authentic-leaning taco shop—and a pretty good one at that. Heck, they even have horchata.
Tees and Taps
10 Centre Drive, Orchard Park; teesandtaps.com
Golf simulators and a boozy menu collide to create a mancave with better lighting.
9297 Erie Road, Angola; find it on social
Really a brick and mortar extension of the Frozen Hog food truck, this bowl joint offers Mexican-themed fare and gelato.
Tortuga Sandwich Shop
5835 Buffalo Street, Sanborn; tortugasandwich.com
This Sanborn sandwich shop has made pretty big waves with its predominantly South American flavor profiles, mammoth sandwiches, and a rave review from the Buffalo News.
Aloft Hotel; 500 Pearl Street, Buffalo; vicebuffalo.com
Every downtown hotel needs a pricey and well-decorated upscale restaurant and this one is called Vice.
Wandering Gypsy Brewing
3301 Braley Road, Ransomville; wanderinggypsybrewing.com
This great little brewery is located in Ransomville and is run by the owners of Midnight Run Cellars, who will continue to make a few wines while shifting their primary business to beer.
Whisk & Spoon Bake Shop
9840 Town Line Road, Barker; whiskandspoonbakeshop.com
This little shop in Barker specializes in macarons, cookies, cupcakes, and beautiful custom sugar cookies and layer cakes.
w xyz bar
Aloft Hotel; 500 Pearl Street, Buffalo; 500pearlbuffalo.com/food-drink/w-xyz-bar
Every downtown hotel needs a bar to complement its swanky nightclub and this one is called w xyz.
A few of our (new) favorite things—in no particular order—from the slew of eateries, bakeries, and taprooms that opened over the past year or so.
Chicken liver paté with accoutrements at House of Charm
The Gustavo at Tortuga Sandwich Shop
Manito Taco Shop’s lengua tacos
Everything pretzels at B&D Bagels
Sto Lat Bar’s placek Monte Cristo appetizer
Middle Sisters Sandwich Shop’s Spam banh mi
Fresh naan at A-Salam Dinner & Kebab
Rosie’s lavender and honey small batch ice cream, Honeylou
The Vegan Street Box from Poppa Pete’s
Mister Sizzle’s namesake, the Sizzle Burger
Cookies and Cream’s Toasted Marshmallow shake
Wine Slushies at Wandering Gypsy
OSB’s ’Weck Me Up Cider (do it for the ‘gram!)
The decadent Oreo (dairy-free) shake at Sunshine Vegan Eats
Clarksburg’s Dry Hard Cider
Any of the seasonal lattes at Mojo Market
The Blend’s Just Brew It protein shake
A pint of Hop, Drop, and Roll at First Line Brewing
The cider mimosa at Harvest
Any single origin coffee from Bean Bastard