The Black Sheep, Buffalo, 9/3/21


The Black Sheep is a long space with a bar in the space out front and patio outback.  The lighting is lowered, music is loud, art for sale is on the walls, wooden benches line the wall to match up with small wood tables, walls are brick and votives are on the table.  It is a farm-to-table concept with a small menu of interesting items that is supplemented by a daily list of specials.  The bar serves up modern and classic cocktails as well as beer and wine.  The owners are James Beard nominated chefs Steven and Ellen Gedra, with Ellen being the baker and pastry chef.  The chefs prefer a farm-to-table approach and have learned the value of selecting the proper ingredients and then handing them with care.  It’s a small but inventive menu of small and large plates supplemented by interesting specials.  It was a tasty meal filled with flavors with a little twist to the ordinary. Continue reading

Charlie the Butcher Carvery, Buffalo, 9/3/21


Charlie the Butcher is another Buffalo staple.  Charlie Roesch came from a family in the meat business and is now a media personality as well as a restauranteur.  The family had several generations of Charlies who were butchers and carvers in the meat industry.  The original Charlie also served as Mayor of Buffalo from 1930-1934 but he was the one who started the butcher shop that was operated by the family for 80 years. The current Charlie likened his roast beef on a Kummelweck roll (The traditional sandwich is on a salt-topped roll) to be equal to Buffalo wings for spreading recognition of Buffalo.    To get the word out Charlie appeared on lots of media including ABC’s Good Morning America, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee and made personal appearances across North America.  Feature stories were in Gourmet magazine and in advertising campaigns for Alto-Shaam roasting ovens.  In addition to food trucks and independent storefronts you can also get their food in the grocery store.  We stopped in to try one and found a number of sides, soups, pies and to-go items also available.   It is a simple roast beef sandwich that is nicely done. Continue reading

Chef’s Restaurant of Buffalo NY, Buffalo, 9/3/21


Chef’s Restaurant opened in Buffalo in 1923.  One of the neighborhood busboys worked his way up to restaurant manager and became the owner in 1954.  They started with a limited menu of Italian options which has expanded over the years, most notably to include ‘Chef’s Spaghetti Parm’.  A second dining room was added in 1966 with another addition 3 years later making their current capacity 325 persons and a banquet room for 125.  The owner’s daughter and her son now run the business.  The several bright rooms are filled with photos of notables who have eaten there and red-checkered cloth covered tables.  Music is in the background there are some windows to the street outside.  There is even a dedicated parking lot across from the building.  In addition to the regular menu there is a menu of specials for the lunch hour.  An announcer calls out numbers over the sound system, probably to alert the servers to pick up trays to serve.  Service was amazingly efficient and super friendly. Continue reading

Hutch’s Restaurant, Buffalo, 9/2/21


Hutch’s Restaurant has been serving fine cuisine to folks in Buffalo for over 25 years. They call it “an American take on the French Bistro”.  Named for chef/owner Mark Hutchinson it closed a year ago for a renovation that was to be in stages but instead was done all at once while the restaurant was closed 144 days for Covid.  They were able to double the capacity of the old Floristry building to accommodate 100 socially distanced diners (probably 175 post-Covid) and expand outdoor seating to 20 people.  Today the large restaurant has several rooms with brick walls, carpeting, low lighting, loud music, art on the walls, votive candles on the tables and a large window looking into the kitchen where you could easily spot Hutchinson.  Sound panels on the ceiling helped with the noise level cause it was filled to capacity and buzzing with people celebrating an occasion or closing a business deal.  In addition to the menu they had a large list of daily specials.  Service was slow but in their defense many restaurant workers have not returned to work, but this would be a good job to land in that line of work. Continue reading

Gabriel’s Gate Restaurant, Buffalo, 9/2/21


Gabriel’s Gate has been around for 50 years, located in one of the original Tift Row Homes built in 1864 in the Allentown District.  Inside it’s a mix of antique and hunting lodge.  Between the various objects, old wood booths, tin ceiling, lowered lighting, music in the background and stuffed heads it’s worth going to just to look around.  The large bar in the back room is solidly covered with decorations.  There is a patio when weather permits and fireplaces when it doesn’t.  But they are also a local favorite for Buffalo wings.  However, service is a huge issue and really slow. Continue reading

Swan Street Diner, Buffalo, 9/2/21


The Swan Street Diner is an example of one of the early Sterling Company diner cars made by a Mass. company from 1936 to 1942.  Swan Street is No. 397 from  1937, featuring mahogany trim, barrel vaulted ceiling and walls of porcelain enamel.  This one was originally in Newark, NY as a diner and assembled onsite from pieces.  Since then it has had 3 owners and in 2013 Larkin Development Group purchased it, took it to Akron, Ohio and then to Buffalo for full restoration.  The interior enamel panels, bar stools and wood trim are original and the rest was fabricated onsite, trying to hold to the original design.  The Larkin Soap Company made china among other things and Swan Street was able to purchase some of the last plates and mugs made in Buffalo for the Diner.  They offer breakfast and lunch and have a couple specials.  The food is high quality and it’s a beautifully restored diner with a few original parts.  Great, friendly service. Continue reading

The Dapper Goose, Buffalo, 9/1/21


The Dapper Goose opened in 2016 in Buffalo, NY.   It is on the first floor of a long building with wood floors, large bar, tin ceiling, lowered lighting, music in the background, smallish tables and windows to the street.  Out in back they also have a sizable patio that does not take reservations like the bar seating, but inside is by reservation.   The menu is small, composed of small and large plates of fun combinations of ingredients.  Our server helped us decide what choices gave us the best range of flavors without ordering too much.  There were no off the menu items but halibut was replacing the cod tonight.   It was a really fun and tasty meal, but they need to work on the salt content. Continue reading

Duff’s Famous Wings, Buffalo, 9/1/21


Duff’s Famous Wings starting serving wings in 1969 and by 1985 established that their wings were indeed famous in Buffalo, NY.  Duff’s started in Amherst, a suburb of Buffalo in 1946 as a bar.  It is a ‘classic’ in Buffalo with numerous locations.  We tried one in Depew, another suburb, that was close to the airport.  It was a large sterile place with a big parking lot.  Inside was a large bar and many booth-like tables.  The menu offered wings by the count, not pound but also had salads, wraps and sandwiches.  The wings come in several degrees of hotness and with your choice of dipping sauce, but blue cheese is standard.  We had an order of 10 of medium (which is called hot) that came with a couple stalks of unpeeled celery and milled carrots.  The blue cheese dip was tasteless and the medium was what I’d call mildly hot.  The thick sauce adhered to the chicken well and had a nice lingering spiciness in the mouth.  The drummies were on the dry side but the flats had good moistness.  Overall I wouldn’t call them anything special and can getter better in the bars in Texas. Continue reading