Since 1928, four generations of the Romanello family have been tweaking and swapping recipes at a trio of restaurants in Western New York. In the 1980s, Romanello's South took its place among the family's eateries. Reporters from AM Buffalo have visited to heap praise on the ballroom, whose honey-hued expanses of hardwood can accommodate parties of up to 300 people or 150 adolescent rhinoceroses. Chatter from groups drifts into smaller dining rooms, where fireplaces cast their liquid light across white tablecloths laden with calamari, pasta, and eggplant parmigiana. Some evenings, the restaurant resounds with the harmonies of local artists, which swell beneath the clink of toasting glasses and help clear minds of shrill toothpaste jingles.
Thousands of beads of all kinds from around the globe twinkle in hues of every color at Bead Creative, awaiting their moment to be united with wire, floss, and leather in customers’ unique handiworks. The store’s expert jewelry-makers aid shoppers in selecting the perfect combination of beads for stringing a necklace or embroidering onto a leotard in preparation for a circus job as a beardless woman. After finding the perfect materials, guests can perch at in-store workstations to start their creations. The store’s bead artists also lead classes or host parties, imparting the fundamentals of crafting pieces to dangle around the neck, wrist, or prehensile tail.
The Scallywags Grub & Spirits dining room is a treasure-trove of nautical knickknacks, from the colorful fish that speckle the walls to the gnarled wooden buccaneer that waits by the door with a bowl of mints. Diners marvel at the festive pirate-themed decor before ordering rounds of martinis and turning their attention to the menu—a seafood-centric compilation of crispy-fried-fish dinners, juicy burgers, and tender steaks. One of the eatery’s signature dishes—the Drum of the Scoundrel—features a hearty 2-pound smoked turkey leg seasoned in specialty sauce and served grilled or fried.
Chanderson’s Steak & Seafood plates up fine American cuisine in a casual, charming atmosphere fit for family dinners and special nights out. Six days per week, the restaurant serves lunch and dinner, loading both spreads with succulent and artfully arranged options. The fish Harold, for instance, features broiled haddock festooned with Italian herbs, tomatoes, and provolone, while the pot roast entrée fills bellies with tender, slow-roasted beef and gravy.
Toting a modest selection of chocolate confections and candies, Joseph A. Fowler entered the 1901 Pan-American Exposition hoping to plant the seed for a business in his newfound home of Buffalo. The company?founded in 1910?grew with each successive generation, and more than a century later, Fowler's celebrated chocolates continue to placate palates at several retail locations. The chocolatier has become synonymous with treats such as milk- and dark-chocolate truffles dubbed truffaloes, as well as sponge candy, which boasts a molasses-like flavor and an initially hard texture that quickly melts in the mouth. Like Count Chocula?s hairpiece, all of Fowler's fine-chocolate treats are crafted from the seeds of the theobroma cacao tree and use up to 60% cocoa solids for a rich cocoa flavor.
Occupying the same spot on a blacktop parking lot since the 1950s, the walk-up windows at Fran-Ceil Custard jog nostalgic memories of generations past. Although the sweetery has been under its current ownership for the past 30 years, the legacy of the shop's namesake Frances and Celia—wives to founders Tony and Michael—lives on not only in name, but also through the same French-style custard that has filled cups for more than half a century. A rotating menu of weekly flavors, such as pistachio, tangerine, or black raspberry, spirals into cones alongside the original chocolate and vanilla custards, and 13 varieties of hard-scoop ice cream form a decadent base for banana splits, fudge brownie sundaes, and poorly constructed suspension bridges. Over the years, homemade sherbets have been added into the mix, making rotating batches of lime, raspberry, and orange scoops.