There’s a popular saying in Buffalo that “everything is within a 20 minute drive.” Locals are spoiled by how quickly they can get from one neighborhood to another thanks to our lack of heavy traffic. The nearby village of East Aurora, just a quick drive from downtown, is no exception. East Aurora has many unique retail stores, historical sites and great restaurants – many of which are included on Buffalo Bites’ East Aurora Food Tours. It’s the perfect location for a day trip at any time of the year. Here are a few of the top foodie spots in town:
Elm Street Bakery (72 Elm St) One of the best restaurants in Western New York, Elm Street is worth the drive to East Aurora by itself. The location is warm and inviting and if you can, grab a seat at the bar. Watching the staff cook pizza out of their large wood fire oven is simply mesmerizing (plus it’s honestly some of the best, if not the best, pizza in WNY). Their bread and pastry selection is second to none and their dinner service lead by Chef Jennifer Boye features excellent seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.
Rick’s on Main (687 E Main St) In the six years they’ve been open, Rick’s on Main has become an East Aurora staple and for good reason. The Chef/Owners Rick and Cathy Pohlman have consistently been serving upscale American fare to locals for lunch and dinner. Their specials reflect seasonal ingredients while their menu features various fresh salads, a long selection of steak and seafood entrees and shareable plates. All of this takes place in a two story historic home that has been converted into a gorgeous restaurant.
Bar Bill Tavern (185 Main St) Bring cash and patience. This small bar has expanded over the years to help meet demands but you still might have to wait a bit for a coveted table. The reason for the popularity? Some of the best wings AND beef on weck sandwiches that you’ll find anywhere in Western New York. The sandwiches are cut behind the bar to order and the wings are hand painted with sauce in order to keep them as crispy as possible. My tip? Order the teriyaki wings; they might not be traditional but they sure are delicious.
Aurora Brew Works (191 Main St) While this isn’t a restaurant, this is a must visit for any beer lover who happens to be near East Aurora. ABW acts as both an excellent craft beer store AND a place where you can hang out (or kill time for your Bar Bill wait next door) and enjoy a beer on draft or from their cooler. Head downstairs to their newly renovated tap room if you want to stay a while.
East Aurora Co-op Market (591 Main St) This relatively new member-owned grocery store has basically everything a local foodie would want. The shelves are full of quality produce (often local when possible), humanely-raised meat from some of the best farms (we found a lot of T-Meadow in there), local artisans goods, fresh-to-go snacks and a lot of natural household products.
42 North Brewing (25 Pine St) One of Buffalo’s newest breweries is also one of its most exciting. Located in a renovated building filled with reclaimed wood and exposed brick, the space is a great backdrop for hanging out with some friends and grabbing a couple beers. In the rear, large glass windows allow customers to take a look at the brewery facility below. It doesn’t hurt that their food menu is filled with products from local vendors and farms like BreadHive, Arden Farm and Barrel & Brine.
The Roycroft Inn (40 S Grove St) The Roycroft Inn offers breakfast, lunch and dinner from longtime Executive Chef Andrew Nuernberger and they do a great job. Aside from the great food, the restaurant and surrounding campus offers a unique historical setting unlike any other restaurant in WNY. The inn itself dates back to 1905 and the campus, which is a National Historic Landmark, was founded by Elbert Hubbard, the father of the American Arts and Crafts Movement.