After a crazy 2014, most diners were expecting 2015 to be a quiet year in our local food scene. That did not happen. This year we saw plenty of exciting restaurants open their doors. Some came out of nowhere and others were long anticipated openings. It was very difficult to narrow down this to just five, but in my opinion here are the best new restaurants for 2015 (in no particular order):
Allen Burger Venture, 175 Allen St. I’m pretty confident that Mike Shatzel is slowly taking over Buffalo. ABV makes four restaurants that Shatzel runs in the city of Buffalo and each one of them serves excellent craft beer. ABV might also be the coolest location and is a personal favorite spot of mine to grab a drink. With a punk rock theme, a gorgeous bar and an excellent craft beer and whiskey selection, I’m not sure what else you’d want. Oh! How about Burgers? Their menu features a variety of burgers with some ridiculous toppings that go very well with a cold beer.
Marble + Rye, 112 Genesee St. After running The Black Market Food Truck for two years, Christian Willmott and Mike Dimmer decided to open up their first brick-and-mortar restaurant. They’ve taken advantage of their new space and some additional talented staff to pull off an ambitious and exciting menu. The bar features an ever growing list of whiskey, craft beer and some really exciting cocktails. For me, it’s all about their burger. In my opinion, they are easily making the best burger in town and that’s worth a visit all on its own.
O.G. Wood Fire Food Truck. The opening of OG Wood Fire was a huge coup for the local food community. Owner Jay Langfelder is a pizza fanatic and will not accept anything less than serving the best wood fire pizza possible. That means sourcing excellent ingredients, waiting for his wood fire oven to be properly heated and throwing out pies that aren’t good enough for his customers. We know he’s planning to open a restaurant next year and I’m ready to become a regular.
Sato Ramen, 3268 Main St., Buffalo. Josh and Satomi Smith opened up their second location at the end of summer in the University Heights area of Main Street. The restaurant has a small menu and is focused primarily on ramen. From the looks of it, they are doing everything right. They are making their own noodles, the restaurant is open late and the place feels like an authentic slurp shop (complete with a long bar in front of an open kitchen). We can’t wait to see what crazy flavors they come up with next year.
Toutant, 437 Ellicott St. When Toutant opened their doors in May of this year, local foodies collectively lost their minds and for good reason. Chef/Owner James Roberts has long been considered one of the most talented chefs in Western New York; the only problem was his food was only being enjoyed by members of the Park Country Club. Toutant has been consistently packed since their opening thanks to a great bourbon/cocktail selection, Southern fare that’s approachable and a very affordable and gorgeous three story restaurant. It’s easy to recommend the fried chicken but the rest of the menu is fantastic as well. Also make sure you try the daily selection of BBQ. And don’t forget about brunch. I’ve eaten at Toutant more times than I can remember this year and will probably continue to do so in the future.
Honorable Mentions: Lloyd Taco Factory (opened just a little too late in 2015, place looks awesome and the food is as good if not better than what’s on the trucks), La Divina (excellent tacos made with freshly made tortillas), Big Ditch Brewing (gorgeous taproom with some of the best local beer available), Tipico Coffee (great coffee, hip location), Public Espresso at the Hotel Lafayette (perfect match of backdrop and menu, great pairing of coffee and baked goods)