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 an order of Buffalo wings at one of the stops along the new Buffalo Wing Trail, 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.
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 seniority that makes the Swannie a must see stop on any Buffalo culinary expedition. Local connoisseurs swear by the Swannie’s beer-battered Buffalo-style haddock fish fry, calling it one of the best in the city.
Working our way up Main Street, take the Metrorail to the Lafayette Square stop and head to the Lafayette Brewing Company (391 Washington Street) for a mouthwateringly delicious beef on weck slider. Located inside the architectural splendor of the Lafayette Hotel building, the Lafayette Brewing Company serves a tasty version of one of the great American sandwiches: thinly sliced roast beef piled high on a kimmelweck roll accompanied by plenty of horseradish.
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.
The next leg of our journey takes us to the corner of Chippewa and Pearl Streets for a little slice of heaven. 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 and generous toppings of mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. When in downtown, Lovejoy Pizza is the go-to place for a pie.
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 finger licking culmination to a night on the town for generations of Buffalonians. Is the chicken finger sub good for what might be ailing you? There’s only one way to find out.