In 2009, the American Planning Association named Kenmore one of the top ten great neighborhoods in the United States. It’s easy to see why; this turn of the 20th century village just north of Buffalo features tree-lined streets and well-kept homes surrounding a vibrant central business district. Kenmore has several long-running businesses that have become part of the fabric of Buffalo: a family-owned submarine shop, ice cream parlor and one of Buffalo’s original producers of sponge candy have collectively served the village for nearly 200 years.
Buffalo's First Suburb
Within a few blocks of Kenmore’s central business district are several eateries that are part of Buffalo food lore.
Start your food adventure with a giant submarine sandwich from Mike’s Subs, which has been serving Kenmore for over 50 years. Try the royal – made with capicola and Buffalo’s own Mineo & Sapio sausage – for a singular sandwich experience.
Then, cross the street for a sundae at King Condrell’s, which has been serving the village for nearly 50 years. The sundaes are enormous, made with the regional Perry’s Ice Cream and ranging in size from one scoop to ten. The homemade candy toppings and old-time atmosphere set a King Condrell’s sundae apart.
You’ve already had a veritable feast, but we’ve saved one of the best for last – sponge candy at Watson’s. This is the original location for one of Buffalo’s favorite candy shops dating back to 1946, and also one of the most popular spots for sponge –that sugary, crunchy regional confection covered in chocolate.
Then it’s time to work off all this food! Kenmore’s walkability makes an after-meal stroll a breeze; saunter among the village’s quiet, tree-lined streets and well-maintained homes.
This may be enough food to fill you for days, but just in case, there are several other restaurants great for a sit-down meal in Kenmore, including La Divina, Marotto’s, Amici’s and Taste of India.
Before the rise of Dairy Queen and Cold Stone Creamery, the local ice cream parlor was the prime destination for your chocolate fix. These days, genuine, old-fashioned ice cream parlors are a rare treat.
Luckily for Buffalo, King Condrell’s Candy and Ice Cream, 2805 Delaware Ave, Kenmore, NY, has served up scoops of vanilla topped with nostalgia for more than 50 years. The shop, a cornerstone of Delaware Avenue since 1966, is known for its hand-crafted chocolate and toppings made from high-quality ingredients.
Photo courtesy of King Condrell’s
Popular sellers are the sponge candy, melt-away fudge, and “Buffalo Chips” – potato chips covered in peanut butter and chocolate. The brave of heart can test their stomach on the “Kitchen Sink,” a literal sink filled with 16 scoops of the flavor of your choice.
Before 2017, little had changed in King Condrell’s after owners Melissa and Rich King purchased the shop 20 years ago. The original Condrell’s Candies sign still hangs above its doors. But in January, the parlor closed for a month to undergo a complete remodel.
I paid a visit to the shop to check out the new décor and, of course, satisfy my sweet tooth. Even though it was a Monday evening, the place was full. Once inside, I was immediately greeted by a colorfully decorated wall of chocolates and vibrant, ice cream-themed images. Your gaze is quickly drawn to a massive mirror sporting the King Condrell’s name that is surrounded by vanity lighting. The room is energetic enough to brighten anyone’s mood.
Even with the freshly painted walls and new furniture, King Condrell’s maintains the feel of the old-fashioned ice cream parlor. The vintage candy- and ice cream-themed images spread throughout the store add to the nostalgia. Customer service is a major focus for the staff. Everyone was helpful and exuded the warmth you rarely find outside of mom-and-pop shops.
King Condrell’s menu is filled with dozens of ice cream flavors and an equal number of potential toppings. An avid lover of cheesecake, I ordered the Cheesecake Galore, a bowl of two scoops of vanilla drizzled with strawberry sauce and topped with strawberries, cheesecake chunks and hand-made whipped cream. My taste buds were in utter bliss.
Rich King will start making his own ice cream this spring, which offers all the more reason to visit. Melissa says that in addition to all of the traditional flavors, they will craft unique mixes, such as sponge candy ice cream. King Condrell’s is open every day between 10:30 a.m. and 9:45 p.m. They open and close a bit later on the weekends.
If you haven’t seen the news (and more news) that Buffalo, and the surrounding region, is undergoing something of a culinary renaissance, then you need to take another look. From casual to fine dining, American to ethnic, there’s been an absolute explosion of new restaurants. One of the most notable microcosms of this food revival can be seen in the recent wave of new taquerias and Mexican restaurants that have opened their door. Whether it’s ultra-authentic preparations or innovative new concepts, if you’re a fan of tacos, you need to try these top taco spots:
Lloyd Taco Factory & Trucks, 1503 Hertel Ave., Buffalo, 5933 Main St., Williamsville & several mobile locations These are the founders of the Buffalo taco truck scene (the entire food truck scene, actually). Lloyd serves up unique spins on classic tacos with flavors mimicking chicken and waffles and a Big Mac, appropriately named the Big Lloyd.
Casa Azul, 128 Genesee St., Buffalo Never one to shy away from culinary experimentation, New York Times lauded chef Victor Parra Gonzalez recently morphed his tantalizing creations into taco form just over a year ago.
Taqueria La Delicias, 454 Pearl St., Buffalo Tortas, quesadillas and, of course, tacos fill the vast menu at Taqueria La Delicias, known for its quality ingredients and a huge array of customizable options, all in the heart of downtown Buffalo.
Lone Star Fajita Grille, 1853 Hertel Ave., Buffalo
This has been a Hertel Avenue staple for decades, and offers some of Buffalo’s most affordable tacos and fajitas in a cozy space adorned with sombreros, flags and other Tex-Mex paraphernalia.
Kiosko Latino at West Side Bazaar, 25 Grant St., Buffalo The West Side Bazaar, a small business incubator, currently showcases several small restaurants featuring cuisine from Dim Sum to East African injera. To much acclaim, Kiosko Latino, serving Puerto Rican and Mexican fare, has now opened within the bazaar.
Photo courtesy of Deep South Taco
Deep South Taco, 291 Ellicott St., Buffalo, 1707 Hertel Ave., Buffalo & 6727 Transit Rd., Lancaster Don your favorite luchador mask and head to either Deep South location, either in the heart of downtown Buffalo or up north on Hertel. PS: the downtown location throws an annual block party just for Cinco de Mayo.
Cantina 62, 2723 South Park Ave., Lackawanna Fusing together the best of Mexican and American cuisine, Cantina 62 even takes it a step further than other local taquerias, offering early morning treats including churros, crepes and breakfast tacos.
Gramma Mora’s Mexican Restaurant, 1465 Hertel Ave., Buffalo A mainstay of the Hertel avenue food culture, Gramma dishes out delicious Mexican grub, excellent happy hour drinks and has even become so popular that her burritos are sold in local grocery stores.
Photo courtesy of Cantina Loco
Cantina Loco, 191 Allen St., Buffalo Situated in the eclectic Allentown community, Cantina Loco offers fresh Mexican food likes tacos, quesadillas and a killer tortilla soup, with a generous side of people watching.
Taqueria los Mayas, 3525 Genesee St., Cheektowaga A talented newcomer to the local taco scene, Taqueria los Mayas boasts a whooping 11 styles of taco on their menu plus tons of other, mouth-watering authentic Mexican fare.
Monte Alban, 507 E. Center St., Medina
These tacos are simple and traditional, but done extremely well; corn tortillas with meat, onions and chopped cilantro. Get after the chorizo when you visit as it’s a must-try. Tip: only open in the summer months, cash only.
Photo courtesy of Left Coast Taco
Left Coast Taco, 603 Oakwood Ave., East Aurora
Heading out to the charming village of East Aurora? Stop in Left Coast for a west coast-inspired menu with tacos filled wish fish, guacamole and citrus flavor. Feeling brave? Try the spicy Death tacos.
Ranchos, 1516 Niagara St., Buffalo
Along the Niagara River, Ranchos takes the classic taco and adds their own awesome Venezuelan flair. Be sure to try the arepas, too!
Hali Boyz, 388 Amherst St., Buffalo Pop into this Blackrock eatery adorned with floor-to-ceiling graffiti art and a totally unique spin on tacos like their Chili Deshebrada – beef in their signature Hali orange chili.
Photo courtesy of Dos Amigos
Dos Amigos, 3800 Hoover Rd., Blasdell It’s Spanish for two friends, but feel free to bring more than two to this sprawling outdoor oasis on Lake Erie. Get comfy on one of the couches, ask the staff to light up a fire-pit, and get ready for an Instagram worthy sunset over a plate of delicious tacos.