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.
Executive Chef Chaz Bulera and his team fashion dinner and lunch menus out of selectively sizzled meats, fish, and pasta. Lunch fare, such as a pulled-pork sandwich ($8) and a buffalo-chicken wrap with its coif of blue cheese ($9) effortlessly shame standard sandwich-shop selections. The dinner menu kick-starts appetite engines with sesame-seared ahi tuna ($9) and subtly seasoned calamari ($7) before revving them lightly with a portobello-pesto sandwich ($8) or heavily with a bacon-wrapped filet mignon ($21).
The brainchild of Dr. Joshua M. Smith, his wife Satomi Smith, and his brother Matthew Smith, Serene Gardens blends Japanese-influenced gardening, art, cuisine, and culture in a fluid space that hosts a store, café, and educational space. Influenced by Josh’s stint as an apprentice at Japanese nursery and design company Furukawa Teijuen, the garden center lures in customers with Eastern plants and design elements ready for duty in yards, homes, or cars made of old terrariums. The music of Josh’s shakuhachi bamboo flute—featured on four CDs sold in the shop—wafts through the shop, previewing the art form that clients can learn during in-store classes. Other lessons delve into flower arrangement, which Satomi has studied since she was a child, and the choreography of a Japanese tea ceremony, which demands fewer pinkie lifts and more high-fives than a British high tea.
After lessons or shopping excursions, guests can find peace between the lime-green walls of a café serving tea brewed from loose-leaf blends. At midday, Satomi also delves into family recipes to conjure lunches that incorporate dishes such as edamame, gyoza dumplings, and miso soup.
Jim's Steakout serves up a classic lineup of philly cheesesteaks, hoagies, and chicken fingers, silencing rumbling stomachs from high noon to high moon with locations throughout western New York.
From lunchtime until as late as 2 a.m. or 5 a.m., each of Jim's outposts fills stingers—or hot subs—with steak and cheese, bacon, and combinations of italian sausage and other meats. Hoagies meet nearly every appetite with three sizes, ranging from a lunch-appropriate four-inch Kaiser roll to an Italian roll that reaches an entire foot long. Whichever size diners choose, they can get their roll stuffed with chicken, provolone, and sautéed spinach—known as the chicken-in-the-grass hoagie—or any number of other hot or cold ingredients. The menu also rolls out a red carpet for creative sides such as fries smothered in chopped steak and cheese, stuffed banana peppers, and fried mac 'n' cheese bites. To sweeten each classic meal, the kitchen fries up funnel cakes to order.
Ying's Wings & Every Thing has been a family-owned restaurant since 1988, and ever since its menu has satisfied a diverse range of appetites by presenting international and American favorites. This menu is as long as the line at the last DMV on earth, with cuisine derived from countries all over the world. Originating as a Chinese restaurant, its multitalented chefs soon expanded their repertoire to include specialty pizzas, submarine sandwiches, and hearty half-pound Angus beef burgers, as well as Greek food and tacos. Buckets of their namesake buffalo wings simmer in seven different toppings, such as honey mustard, barbecue, or garlic parmesan, and the restaurant is open until 4 a.m. from Monday to Friday, allowing astronomers to do research while they feast on mozzarella sticks, known by them as breaded mini telescopes.
When the chefs at John's Pizza & Subs’ approach batches of pizza dough, they channel the restaurant's three decades of expertise. Across the shop's four locations, specialty pies such as the Bob's Big Mac, whose combination of hamburger, thousand island dressing, and pickles is lauded by the Buffalo Pizza Fest, join made-to-order pizzas crowned with anchovies, hot peppers, pineapple, and other toppings. John's Pizza & Subs’ is also known for its original chicken-finger sub, as well as other hot and cold subs with unusual names, such as the rib eye and italian sausage Nightmare and the ham-and-turkey Hercules, whose more than 5 ounces of meat can sate each of a hydra's heads. Tacos, wraps, and wings help to round out the hearty menu.