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The expat report: Monthly look at 3 things ex-Western New Yorkers may have missed

Nostalgia on the menu

We've learned to take a hopeless Sabres season in stride. But losing a bar or restaurant, that can throw us into deep and protracted mourning. Checkers, the historic Hertel Avenue bar, that was one that did not go gentle into that good night.

"Such sad news. The best hole in the wall gin mill in Buffalo," one regular sighed on Facebook. Another chimed in: "My dad loved meeting his old Knights of Columbus friends there for lunch...he said it was old and dirty and perfect."

On the Elmwood Avenue front, the recent sale of Pano's unleashed a flood of nostalgia -- for the tiny place Pano's used to be (in the building that is now Gino's Pizza), for the way Elmwood Avenue used to look before all this gentrification, and, most importantly, for the orange shakes that Pano's used to offer back when it was in its dinky original location.

The Old Red Mill, the famous place out in Clarence that closed in 2015, will soon be reopening under the umbrella of Bar Bill, the East Aurora eatery. Call it the New Red Mill? Just an idea.

A Krupnik of our own

Now that Dyngus Day has come and gone, there is no excuse around here not to have tasted Buffalo's own Krupnik, made in cooperation with the Polish masters across the pond. It is the first commercial Krupnik produced in Buffalo.

On Krupnik Day in March, the Polish Villa II played happy host to St. Casimir's Church fifth annual Krupnik Fest. The faithful had the opportunity to taste the Krupnik crafted personally by St. Casimir's pastor, the Rev. Czeslaw Krysa. Na zdrowie, is all we have to say to that.

Who among us does not remember, with a shudder, the Great Krupnik Shortage of 2016, when Dyngus Day almost went dry? That won't happen again. As the sun set on Krupnik Day 2018, Andy Wegrzyn of Buffalo Distilling hinted at large quantities to come. "Buffalo is probably one of the biggest markets for Krupnik," he told Channel 4. "In the world, possibly. Who knows?"

Experience This: Taste the Krupnik and more at Buffalo Distilling

Is it spring yet?

When Prince sang "Sometimes It Snows in April," it could have applied to Buffalo.

Boom Days, the annual festival celebrating the removal of the ice boom, came and went -- and the boom was still there. (Although the boom did eventually come out April 10.)

Local weather announcers, having pity on us, are saying "cool" and not "cold," and tactfully leaving out the wind chill.

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Each month, Mary Kunz Goldman provides Buffalo's expats a list of three or so things that happened in their former hometown they might not have seen.

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