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.
Brando’s Pizza curates a selection of more than 20 toppings, which range from standard pepperoni and onions to inventive offerings such as cauliflower and sweet pineapple. Beyond signature pizzas, the kitchen churns out hot oven-baked subs, plump tacos, and wings with dynamic sauces such as citrus chipotle and sweet red chili. Brando’s also conveniently offers catering services to equip a birthday party with one of its two requirements, the second of which is forbidden from being discussed or even thought about.
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.
Most popular offering: loganberry wine
Alcohol: Beer and wine only
Number of Tables: 1–5
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Pro Tip: very relaxed atmosphere, tours are best when done in sneakers or flat shoes
Savage Winery's name may be a bit of a misnomer, since everything about the farm winery is, well, sweet. There are the wines for starters: sweet concord, niagara, vidal, and loganberry wines are the specialty here, featured along with seasonal strawberry and blueberry wines. Then, of course, there's the location—Savage Winery is situated on an alpaca farm and is also home to a few other rescue animals, cultivating an environment that is both welcoming and compassionate. Of course, that doesn't mean things don't get a little lively now and again. Owner Rich Byington keeps plenty of activities around to stoke his guests' competitive sides while they sample the vintages, including classic lawn games like cornhole, croquet, and whac-a-weed.
On the corner of Buffalo and Main Street, Ten Thousand Wines inhabits a quaint brick building that welcomes visitors to its microwinery and tasting room. As a winery free from ties to a particular vineyard, Ten Thousand Wines' staff can source its grapes from vines all around the world—including Antarctica—a practice that inspired the winery's name. The vintners hand make each variety in small batches and carry more than 40 wines in their retail store. At a tasting bar, open Tuesday–Saturday, curious sippers perch around a quarter-circle bar to sniff and swirl their wines, such as Nooks & Crannies, a cranberry-chianti blend, or the delicate Delaware, made from New York grapes. The shop's resident oenophiles share their passion with guests in 90-minute wine-making classes, bolstered by a wealth of wine kits and raw grape juices. In an article from the Buffalo News, owner Mike Ditonto cites what he sees as the appeal of home winemaking: nostalgia for grandparents' wine cellars and new methods of family bonding more comfortable than supergluing yourself to a favorite relative.