After years of hitting our local SpOT coffee for lattes and conversation, my friends and I decided to explore some of the newer neighborhood coffee shops around the city. We certainly had a lot to choose from, so many in fact that we’ve probably missed quite a few! But fun times and delicious coffee was had by all.
Our first stop was Tipico, at 128 Fargo Ave., the West Side coffee shop bringing a nice hipster vibe and really fine coffee to this up and coming neighborhood. Featuring a bright open space with glass walls that open to the street in warm weather and a huge tiled Kachelofen stove taking up an entire wall to warm up the Buffalo winters, Tipico manages to be airy and modern and cozy at the same time. A true coffeehouse, the menu here is focused on high end coffees and teas, and simple food items such as toast with toppings like avocado or ricotta and jam. They also carry croissants and other pastries (including….wait for it…homemade pop tarts(!!!!))from local patisserie Butterblock.
If you’re shopping on Elmwood and want excellent coffee and a nice choice of breakfast and lunch items, try Perks at 448 Elmwood. A cozy cafe with lots of nice booths looking out onto Elmwood Village, Perks has a good selection of baked goods, including vegan and gluten free choices, and a menu that ranges from breakfast burritos and french toast, to soups, salads and wraps. They also make their own flavored syrups, allowing for unusual choices like lavender vanilla coffee. (All the usual pumpkin spice type options are available as well).
Branching out into North Buffalo, we stopped at Daily Planet, at 1862 Hertel Ave. Remember when coffee houses had entertainment? Daily Planet does. The lovely space, which makes nice use of reclaimed wood and other natural materials, is centered on a small stage. Musical acts play Thursday through Sunday both at lunch and in the evenings, with an eclectic mix of jazz, folk, and classical. While you enjoy the entertainment, you can also enjoy a full menu of coffees and teas, baked goods, soups and paninis. Vegan and Gluten Free options are also available. A calendar of entertainment is available at their website.
South Buffalo is not immune to the appeals of coffee culture either. Our two forays south of downtown led us first to Undergrounds, at 580 South Park Ave. in the Old First Ward. Located in a former funeral home, Undergrounds tribute to the building’s former purpose doesn’t end with it’s name. A motif of merry skeletons decorates their walls and menus, while the punning continues at their “creamatorium” station. They are deadly serious (see what I did there?) about their food and drink though, with a wide ranging breakfast, lunch and coffee menu with specials named after local people of interest. Silly punning aside, the space is actually quite cozy and attractive, and has the benefit of a nice big parking lot.
Also in South Buffalo, at 688 Abbott Rd., is Dog Ears Cafe and Bookstore, a full service coffee shop set inside a small independent bookstore. The only non-profit organization on this list, Dog Ears raises money for literacy and cultural programs for local children. The baked goods are all housemade and delicious, there is a full breakfast and lunch menu with eggs, salads, sandwiches and wraps, and you can eat and browse for your next book at the same time! Despite the double service of store and cafe, it’s a surprisingly spacious and comfortable setting. Books, lattes and homemade scones; no wrong choices there!
And no way to go wrong trying any of the many local coffee shops springing up all over town.