Buffalo's Neighborhoods


East Aurora, NY

Quaint Americana

The village where America’s Arts and Crafts movement began over a century ago continues to embrace a creative vibe today. Located 20 minutes from downtown Buffalo, East Aurora is full of distinctive attractions, from the only house built by a U.S. president with his own hands to a family owned 5 & 10 store and a variety of cafes, boutiques and restaurants. It’s easy to see why so many visitors stay an entire day or a weekend in the village.

Quaint Americana

Quaint Americana


If you’re planning an hour, a day or a weekend to visit the historic village of East Aurora, do not – repeat – do not make Vidler’s 5 & 10 your first stop. It will be tempting, especially when you see the “Vidler on the roof” politely waving you in. But stay strong and take in the rest of East Aurora first. See, Vidler’s is the largest variety store in the world. So beyond the nostalgia of a five and dime shop, you’re going to be hit with 75,000 items across four connected buildings and over two levels. Once you step in, it’s as if you can’t leave.

So here are some things to consider before you go to Vidler’s.

East Aurora prides itself on being a quaint and charming village. So park along Main Street and start exploring. Grab a coffee and a creative breakfast at Taste or Elm Street Bakery. Then pop in and out of the many food, clothing and antique stores.

Lucky for you, East Aurora is also home to chicken wings that rival the famous Anchor Bar and Duff’s. The Bar Bill Tavern has concocted a variety of the best sauces for its luscious wings, and will serve them to you in such a fashion you’ll think to yourself “these look too good to eat.” Then you’ll devour them.

Ever hear of the American Arts and Crafts Movement? It was kind of a big deal; basically a revolt against the Industrial Revolution to ensure quality craftsmanship lived on. And it all began in East Aurora in the late 1800s.

The Roycroft Campus, National Historic Landmark and vanguard of the creation of the uniquely American “Arts and Crafts” style, sits largely preserved today and is a must for anyone with even a casual appreciation for hand crafted mastery.

Conclude your time at the campus with a proper meal at the Roycroft Inn. Four dining areas, vaulted ceilings, beautiful woodwork, relaxing ambience and incredible food will accompany your experience.

Once you’ve enjoyed these fine allures, head to Vidler’s. You’ll need the rest of the day.

— Charlie Fashana

A Foodie’s Guide to East Aurora

|

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.

ElmStreetPizza16x9

Fresh pizza at Elm Street Bakery

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.

Bar-Bill-1200x675

Bar-Bill Tavern wings

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.

eastauroracoop_pie

Freshly baked pies at East Aurora Co-op (Photo courtesy of East Aurora Cooperative Market)

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.

 

Find Anything and Everything at Vidler’s Five & Dime

|

Ladies and gentleman, step right up and witness the almighty Vidler’s 5 & 10! Come one, come all, to this legendary variety store located in East Aurora. Witness the bizarre, the charming, the colossal, the family-owned destination. Stories of this landmark are all true…just pick a door under the red and white awning and step right into a wonderland of shopper’s bliss!

Celebrating 87 years in business, this 5 & 10 dominates EA’s charming Main Street. With 4 connected buildings, Vidler’s offers twelve departments of fun. A visit is like walking back in time, where the lineup of penny candy jars is never-ending and you can buy Christmas ornaments year-round.

What I love most about Vidler’s is the wacky and wild things you can buy. If you’re looking for something for yourself or need a gift, you will find the perfect one for your mother who takes gardening to another level, your father who loves anything camo, your sister who loves to cook, and your brother who loves anything with a Buffalo on it. This is the place to find everything, and anything you’ve ever wanted, and didn’t even know existed!

You could spend hours in this haven of happiness, and I’m not exaggerating. Every corner you turn puts a smile on your face, and there are a multitude of corners, nooks and crannies too. Could you use some bacon-flavored floss or a mini Hello Kitty frying pan? It’s like every dream you’ve ever had woke up and sat on a shelf. The straightforward but vintage department names alone should help paint the picture: candy, school supplies, bath & body, specialty foods, retro & collectables, seasonal, home décor, crafts, toys, “take a look nook,” kitchenware, and fabrics & yarns. From room to room the sheer size of this store is incredible, and there’s even a basement jam-packed with gourmet and home-spun kitchenware and sundries. I would recommend packing a snack and bringing a water bottle in case you get lost amidst the aisles (perhaps a GPS visitor tracking system would help?), but why not just buy while you are there and taste along the way.

If this hasn’t gotten you into your car and driving towards East Aurora, I don’t know what will. You can’t miss the spot. Look for the GIANT smiling “Vidler on the roof”. It’s family owned and now run by the 3rd generation. So, stop in and play. Even just purely for an epic Instagram photo. This circus of fun is awaiting your visit!

Map TK