Each morning at 7 a.m., Justin Brandon and his mother, Joan, open the doors of Bertha's Diner—the cozy North Buffalo restaurant they took over from former owners Ken and Liz Kerr. The spot "oozes with charm and delicious food," according to one Buffalo News writer, who savored breakfast items including fresh blueberry banana bread, pancakes that were "cooked to perfection," and "heavenly hash, obviously made in the kitchen from real corned beef." When lunchtime rolls around, the kitchen crafts delicious eats such as tuna melts and meatloaf sandwiches smothered in gravy. Images of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and other 1950s icons decorate the walls alongside a giant 45 rpm record. Bertha's Diner is open until 3 p.m. except for Friday, when they are open until 8 p.m. for fish fries. They open at 8 a.m. on Sundays.
Inside the kitchen at Gramma Mora’s, cooks flip sizzling shrimp and assemble four-cheese enchiladas, preparing succulent entrees that earned the restaurant the title of Best Tex-Mex Eatery in Buffalo from the readers of Artvoice in 2011. Seated at tables inset with tile, diners can taste dishes made from century-old recipes passed down through the Mora family. A vibrant mural of a Mayan pyramid in a lush jungle decorates one wall, next to guests consuming pork smothered in green-chili sauce or steak chimichangas. Caramel-glazed flan and lime margaritas provide notes of sweetness for diners who otherwise would have had to carry scoops of ice cream to the table in their pockets.
The brainchild of owner Dale Ali and chef Sergio Aquino, Epic Restaurant and Lounge captures diners? interest with dishes that showcase fresh, seasonal ingredients as well as the chef?s mastery of culinary techniques ranging from classic French to peasant, according to Buffalo Spree. The menu?which the Buffalo News called ?ambitious? and ?totally different from any other in the area??comprises upscale dinner fare with unexpected twists: the grilled rib eye arrives with pomegranate jam, and the duck breast is flanked by a cilantro-nutmeg emulsion and rubber-ducky bodyguards.
The eatery also strives to be epic in its drink selection with a varnished wooden bar offering more than 25 imported or microbrewery beers as well as an extensive wine list. Diners can kick off the weekend with dinner, drinks, and jams every Friday night, with entertainment alternating between salsa and live bands.
It should come as no surprise that pizza is a specialty at JUST PIZZA & Wing Co. The restaurant's cooks infuse specialty crusts with sesame seeds, lemon pepper, and other seasonings, pile on fresh cheese and toppings such as sirloin steak and tiger shrimp, and even bake whole-wheat and gluten-free pies. But contrary to its name, JUST PIZZA & Wing Co.'s menu doesn't end there—non-doughy options include chicken wings in a variety of sauces. Patrons can even explore possible wine pairings on JUST PIZZA & Wing Co.'s website.
Niagara Cafe offers a menu filled with fresh, tasty Puerto Rican–style cuisine that makes mouths water like panting clouds. Start with tostones ($2.50)—chips made from expertly sliced plantains—or a beefy deep-fried empanadilla ($1.84), and then taste test a quarter rotisserie chicken served with fries ($5.52). For lunch (11 a.m.–3 p.m., Monday through Friday), patrons can try the fried pork chops ($4.60); dinnertime guests, on the other hand, can enjoy the chicken stew ($8.28). All lunch and dinner plates are accompanied by yellow or white rice and beans, which are side staples for most Caribbean culinary traditions and Tritons. For dessert, appraise the custardy contents of homemade flan ($2.30) before escorting leftovers down the gullet with a small gulp of parcha juice ($1) or a 16-ounce soft drink ($1.50).
At Cozumel Grill & Tequila Bar, good food, drinks, and entertainment reward diners drawn in by the bright, laid-back atmosphere. While diners nosh on spicy barbecue wings, bartenders put out mouth fires with 40 domestic and imported beer selections and 30 types of tequila, along with a lineup of frozen drinks and specialty cocktails. Chefs bake corn tortilla-based chicken or beef enchiladas with cheese and ranchero sauce, and satisfy vegetarians or reformed steak knives with equally tempting eats such as grilled veggie tacos with roasted red peppers and goat cheese. The restaurant is housed in an historic carriage house, where brick walls and a cobblestone-like floor create a pleasant contrast against party lights and multiple TVs. During warmer months, patrons entertain themselves by listening to live music on the patio, while winter's howls are drowned out by the cheers of pool or darts players and the exuberant zither music that mysteriously emanates from the cozy fireplace.