With summer vacation season peeking around the corner of the calendar, Buffalo-bound travelers are getting their itineraries in shape.
For many, eating leads the list of attractions. Those returning to the Queen City often have a list of new places they want to try. As The News’ food editor and restaurant critic, I get lots of questions about the new places.
Then they tell me where they’re going first. They don’t need a map for those.
Drawing from those conversations and a call for nominations on social media, here’s the most mentioned spots for Buffalonians-at-heart to find their first taste of home.
I never became a big fan myself, but facts are facts: Mighty Taco, having captured the hearts of Buffalonians for decades, was mentioned the most. The Super Mighty is a magnet that draws folks back like iron filings.
“It’s a rule in my family that whoever visits Buffalo picks up a couple of Super Packs on the way back to Syracuse,” wrote Alexis Semanchuk.
One of the tastes restaurants can’t seem to get right outside the 716 area code is beef on weck. In that regard, Charlie the Butcher is a mainstay for the hometown eating crowd.
Its Cheektowaga location puts its consistent hand-carved beef less than a mile from the airport, which also makes it a gateway drug for new visitors.
“If they arrive at the airport, we like to head to Charlie the Butcher for beef on weck and a malted shake,” Monica Roland said.
Don’t try to tell Buffalonians that a hot dog is just a hot dog (or a sandwich). They’ve had a taste of Ted’s Hot Dogs, and will not be denied upon returning to the land of the charcoal-grilled frankfurter.
“1. Duff’s, 2. Anderson’s, 3. Ted’s” wrote Mitch Gerber. “It’s a Sheridan Drive feast.”
[Read more: Thanks to Liaros, there's no topping Ted's Hot Dogs]
As it turns out, a whole lot of expats have Gerber-esque palates. Several people homing in on Duff’s Famous Wings noted that its Depew location is barely a mile from the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, making an emergency crave-erasing convenient.
Others insisted that only the original Duff’s Sheridan Patio would do.
Considering the Anderson’s original Sheridan Drive location was started by a homesick Buffalonian, perhaps it makes sense it’s the frozen custard shop expats mentioned most often. Not just for the ice cream, either; Anderson’s beef on weck remains a beacon to many, like Susan Achramovitch.
“Anderson's. Beef on weck, curly fries and loganberry,” she wrote. “Not gonna lie, chocolate custard, too!”
Bocce Club Pizza, a standard-bearer of the thick-and-cheesy Buffalo-style pie, was mentioned more frequently than any other pizzeria. I’m not sure why similar pizzas with massive Buffalo followings like La Nova and Imperial didn’t get more mentions, but Bocce lovers definitely take their ardor on the road. There’s a reason Bocce has a nationwide shipping option on its website.
These were all mentioned at least twice: John & Mary’s, Elmwood Taco & Subs, Bar Bill Tavern, Schwabl’s, Picasso’s Pizza, George’s Hot Dogs, Reid’s Drive In, Taffy’s, Nine Eleven Tavern, Antoinette’s Sweets, and Wegmans.