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.
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.
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.
31 Club opened in the 1940s as Buffalo?s exclusive supper club, making it a destination for Buffalo's socialites to see and be seen. Catering to diners with sophisticated palettes and profiles, 31 Club's name was derived from its address, 31 Johnson Park. The restaurant celebrated more than four decades of success, but in 1983 the last glass was toasted and its doors closed. The community looked on as the building's brick facade began to crumble, while ideas circled to restore the building to its original splendor. Years later, the space was finally reopened.
Today's 31 Club is a modern version of the storied restaurant, maintaining the class, style, and sophistication of the original 1940s destination, while adding a contemporary flair to cater to today's diner. The menu is a perfect crystallization of this mission?not only are there reimagined versions of timeless dishes, including pork chops with grilled peach chutney, there's late-night fare such as lobster mac 'n' cheese and strip-steak sandwiches. In that spirit, the wine list includes Old World and New World varietals.
Sunlight floods through rustic stained-glass windows onto the hardwood bar and tabletops of The Oakk Room's historic dining room, which was originally an automobile shop before it was converted to a pub in the late 1980s. Surrounded by walls laden with taxidermy pieces and an antique wooden horse trained to stand completely still, servers bring forth plates of jerk chicken and freshly baked cornbread, and bartenders shake up a menu of 17 different specialty cocktails. The restaurant slakes thirst on Wednesday with $4 martini specials and throws weekly Friday fish-frying events.
The staff at Chateau Buffalo strives to support local farmers, and they do so by using locally produced grapes in their red and white wines. They also produce craft ciders that come sparkling, cold, or warm. Those unsure of what they'd like to drink will find the Chateau's tastings, like a hair tie made of Twizzlers, are both tasty and helpful.