Amaretto Bistro produces a menu of Italian-centric dishes that feature rich and simple ingredients. Housemade venison link sausage and mussels seasoned with white wine and butter serve as preludes to Amaretto's entrees, which include fresh pastas, seafood, and steak such as the bone-in rib eye with radish-chive compound butter. For lighter fare, the kitchen churns out goat-cheese salad tossed with green-apple and raspberry-chianti vinaigrette.
On warm days, Brando's Pizza & Ice Cream Stand attracts visitors with ice cream, soft serve, and other frosty treats. Visitors can sit outdoors to savor the sweets or walk to nearby Como Lake Park. Although the spot is popular in the summertime, patrons visit Brando's year-round for pasta dishes, subs, and Buffalo-style pizzas with toppings such as sirloin tip steak or chicken tenders.
Mayer Bros. Cider Mill founder Jacob Mayer first squeezed juice from apples in 1852. Local farmers brought baskets of their apples to his mill, and he sent them on their way with jars of cider. Jacob passed his mill on to his son, John, who started brewing hard cider in 1936 by fermenting the fruits of apple trees that he watered with whiskey. Today, Jacob’s fourth-generation heir—also named John—carries on his forebears’ tradition in the same rustic building, painted in the dusky crimson hue of a Red Delicious apple.
Many autumns have passed since that barn was raised, but each year is more or less the same: a stream of visitors flocks to the mill for apple fritters, donuts, and jugs of flash-pasteurized apple cider. Guests can also purchase pies, seasonal cheeses, and apple juice made as Mother Nature intended—without any sweeteners or additives.
Williamsville, NY. The early 20th century. A man guides his family’s horse-drawn carriage through the flurries of snow sweeping across their circular driveway before coming to a halt in front of a striking two-story home. The ride was long and chilly, but inside, homey warmth awaits. Today, teleportation discs may have replaced the horse and buggy, but travelers still traverse the same driveway in search of a warm welcome. Now the home of Parings Wine Bar, the turn-of-the-century house reflects the goal that owner Shelia Paolini shared with the Amherst Bee’s Jessica Finch: “We want it to feel like you are coming into a living room, that you are at home, not at a bar.”
As soon as guests push open the bright-red front door, they enter a space that combines the comfort of a lived-in family room with the gourmet flavors found at traditional wine bars. Lit by flat-screen TVs and a cozy fireplace, guests peruse Chef Scott Martin’s ever-changing menu, which often features mediterranean nachos, lobster mac 'n' cheese, and horseradish beef tenderloin. Resident sommelier Alphonso DiMono’s wine list, which culls vintages from global wineries from Australia to France to California, perfectly complements the chef's creations. The bar’s mixologists also shake up more than 20 martinis infused with treats such has espresso vodka, Godiva white-chocolate liqueur, and pumpkin puree. As they sip and eat, guests can also join in special event nights that include art shows, live music, and happy hours that feature 20 types of wine for just $20 per bottle.
From its charming Bryant Street storefront, Trattoria Aroma serves up authentic boot-country fare using local and organic products whenever possible. Launch a decadent dining experience with an order of peppercorn-seared pork belly, served with a cracked egg, sweet-pea pesto, and shaved parmesan ($9), or opt for the crispy fried artichoke hearts over parsley pesto ($7). Gourmet pizzas ($12+) and house-made pastas, such as the lobster ravioli with fried leeks and brandy cream ($21), offer sophisticated twists on familiar flavors, while Trattoria Aroma's meaty fare perks up frownful Florentines. Poultry loyalists exchange regal high-fives over juicy bites of chicken saltimbocca, a fragrant sage- and prosciutto-enhanced dish with asparagus, roasted potatoes, and a white-wine-lemon sauce ($22). Vela osso bucco Milanese, with saffron-parmesan risotto and gremolata ($29), offers a marrowful meal for opulent meat-lovers and makes an ideal accompaniment for any of the fermented favorites off of Trattoria's award-winning wine list.
Recently featured in Buffalo Rising, The Wine Thief navigates a laser-beam-guarded landscape to offer fine wine and a menu of inventive new American fare to Buffalo residents. The wine list boasts various vinos by the bottle or glass, eschewing fermented juice boxes in favor of more reliable receptacles. Worldly whites, such as the 1734 Vouvray ’06 (Loire, France), compete for imbibers’ taste buds against alternative reds, known for their early 1990s grungewear and soft-loud musical dynamics. The Wine Thief is also home to a Cuvee wine storage system, which keeps open wines fresh for up to two weeks, allowing a total of 36 by-the-glass wines to be ready at any one time.