Climbing the Buffalo Food Pyramid

Fact: Buffalo is one of America’s great food towns. And no trip to the BUF is complete without sampling our smorgasbord of regional specialties.

Get the party started with a small order of Buffalo wings, but save some room for a beef on weck sandwich, a charbroiled hot dog, a Friday night fish fry and maybe a slice of Buffalo-style pizza. You can even top things off with a delectable piece of sponge candy.

Here’s our insider’s guide to the best of classic Buffalo eats for visitors based in the downtown core. Each of these establishments is within walking distance of the above ground section of the Metrorail, which is free of charge between Erie Canal Harbor and Fountain Plaza.

People have been bellying up to the bar at Swannie House (170 Ohio Street) for more than 120 years, making this modest looking corner tavern a genuine Buffalo classic. But it’s more than its seniority that makes the Swannie a must see stop on any Buffalo culinary expedition. It’s the quality of their wings and the size of their fish fry — a huge piece of beer-battered haddock complete with sides of potato salad, macaroni salad and coleslaw. Bring your appetite.

swannie wings

Wings from Swannie House

Sorry thin crust, no disrespect deep dish, but Buffalo style pizza is just right – a hefty but not too heavy base that supports plenty of tomato sauce, generous toppings of mozzarella cheese and all the pepperoni you can eat. When in downtown, Pizza Plant (125 Main Street) is the go to place for all things pizza and pods (you’ll find out).

Working our way up Main Street, take the Metrorail to the Seneca Street stop and head to Charlie the Butcher’s (295 Main Street) for a mouthwateringly delicious beef on weck sandwich. Located inside the architectural splendor of the Ellicott Square Building, Charlie serves one of the great American sandwiches: thinly sliced roast beef piled high on a kimmelweck roll and accompanied by plenty of horseradish. Add a dill pickle and your life will be complete.

Beef on weck from Charlie the Butcher

From here, jump back on the Metrorail and head to the Fountain Plaza stop and Chippewa Street, home to many of Buffalo’s best bars, clubs and restaurants. Here you’ll find another staple of the Buffalo food pyramid – charbroiled hot dogs – served by one of the city’s truly legendary dining establishments, Ted’s (124 W. Chippewa Street). For more than 90 years, Ted’s has been cooking its franks over a bed of glowing hardwood charcoal, infusing them with an irresistible smoky tang that keep customers coming back again and again. Pro tip: Order the fries. You can thank me later.

Charbroiled dogs from Ted’s

Our final stop takes us to Jim’s Steakout (92 W. Chippewa). Many a late night on the Buffalo bar scene has ended at one of Jim’s locations scattered throughout Buffalo. Why? A chicken finger sub, of course. Served hot, medium or mild, this traditional Buffalo sub has been the traditional ending to a night on the town for generations of Buffalonians. Is the chicken finger sub good for what might be ailing you? Try one and find out.

Other downtown locations serving classic Buffalo fare:

Bada Bing (42 W. Chippewa Street) — Wings

Casa Di Pizza (11 E. Mohawk Street) – Pizza

Fowler’s Chocolates (75 Main Street) – Sponge Candy

Local Kitchen and Beer Bar (88 W. Chippewa Street) — Wings

Pan-American Grill and Brewery (391 Washington Street) – Wings

Pearl Street Brewery (76 Pearl Street) – Wings, Beef on weck, Fish Fry

Prima Pizza (396 Pearl Street) – Pizza

Sidelines Sport Bar and Grill (189 Delaware Avenue) – Wings

Tap House Pub and Grill (85 W. Chippewa Street) – Wings

Washington Square (295 Washington Street) – Wings