When you open the refrigerator and realize it’s time to replenish the supplies, most of us think of heading to one of the big-box grocery chains. I mean where else can you pick up your weekly necessities of Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch, rainbow sherbet and a pound of frozen sweet potato fries? But in Buffalo, there are plenty of reasons to combine a trip to Wegmans with a visit to one of Buffalo’s classic neighborhood grocery stores – Guercio & Son’s.
When the Guercio family first opened this location in 1961, they were situated in a largely Italian neighborhood on the west side of Buffalo making it THE place to stock up on fresh produce and Italian essentials like olive oil, cheese, deli meat and more. Not much has changed in 55 years, it’s still the go-to place for many long-time residents and intrigued next-gen newcomers who are looking for that classic Buffalo vibe, to buy local and dive face-first into a killer capicola, roasted red pepper and provolone sandwich for $4.50 at the deli.
For visitors, it’s the type of place that will make you feel like a longtime member of the community – a place where you’ll see Buffalo’s west side in its truest form, proud, friendly and diverse. Once you spot Guercio’s signature blue awning you know you’re in the right place. Stroll past the fresh, fragrant produce that lines the storefront sidewalk, peruse the wide selection of hard-to-find goods that only Guercio’s provides and witness the organized chaos of the deli counter at peak hours. These folks are here for that same list of reasons to visit Guercio’s: salami, mortadella, capicola, prosciutto, sopressata, provolone, parmesan, pecorino, mozzarella and asiago, among other delicacies.
You wander through the store, look at what fills the shelves, overhear the neighborhood conversations and it takes you back. Takes you back to a simpler time, a time when you weren’t inundated with 43 different kinds of one product, a time when you knew the name of the person behind the counter and a time when buying local was a given.