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Phil Wagner

Freelance local food writer with a passion for the staples and a palate for adventurous eating.


Gusto

Situated on the first floor of the Cathedral Place building with access from both Main Street and Cathedral Park, newly opened Mon Ami Café & Bakery is bringing refined French flair downtown. Serving an selection of Parisian café classics along with a concise array of sandwiches and small plates, Mon Ami is catering to the city center’s workforce with delicate, flav…

Gusto

The long-awaited sister restaurant of The Irishman Pub & Eatery is now open in the heart of East Aurora. This newest rendition by the same name holds much of the Gaelic spirit of its Williamsville counterpart, though its bolstered menu, sleek aesthetic, and contemporary features lend it a character that’s a step outside the traditional tavern. Sporting exposed br…

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Expanding upon their flagship operation in Depew, Teton Kitchen has opened its second location in the heart of Allentown, at 153 Elmwood Ave. In a location plagued by restaurant churn over the past few years - it was formerly formerly Pasion, Black Swan Lounge and Cozumel Grill - Teton Kitchen is hoping to gain a foothold in the neighborhood with an Asian fusion menu th…

Food and Drink

The newly opened Sticky Face BBQ in North Tonawanda is adding another smoky destination to the slowly expanding barbecue scene in Buffalo. Never something for which we've been particularly known, Buffalo barbecue has experienced a recent uptick in spots serving smoked meats both full-time and as rotating specialties. Sticky Face is a full-time barbecue joint serving …

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Now boasting the biggest beer garden on Hertel Avenue, the Garage Café’s newly opened patio, dubbed the Wrecking Yard, has made it through the bodywork and is ready to hum. The fledgling Garage Café that’s garnered an avid following with homestyle meals and decadent breakfast options has blown out the back door and effectively doubled its footage with the addition of th…

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Constrained by zoning restrictions that prohibit open flames and a building structure that won’t accommodate a formal kitchen, Matthew Krupp, the co-owner of new The Lackawanna Grove Bar with Morgan Crewson, has managed to offer a brand-new barbecue menu. The smoked meat offerings at The Grove leverage three meats in a variety of sandwiches, resulting in a respectable s…

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The newly opened Patina 250 Courtyard inside the Westin Hotel at the Delaware North headquarters is a must-see downtown destination for locals and travelers alike. The chicly fashioned semi-covered outdoor space boasts an extensive features list coupled with a cocktail program and eclectic small plates menu that’s sure to satisfy anyone with a flair for adventure in the…

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On a small peninsula at the border of Lockport and Pendleton, where the Tonawanda Creek splits from the Erie Canal, sits a time-honored and storied spot that remains one of the area's best-kept summer retreats. Ship n' Shore dates back to 1917 as a tavern, with the building’s history extending even further beyond that. Tied closely to the development of the Erie Canal, …

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Translating directly to “pride” from French, Fierté is a relatively new club, just off the strip of Allen Street’s de facto gay quarter, on Virginia Place. The former Twilight Room boasts a new sleek industrial design that’s been woven into the standing wood to create an ambiance that reflects the duality of the bar’s character. An ambitious endeavor from the start, Fie…

Food and Drink

What do you really know about your favorite wing flavor? What if there were no limits to your sauce potential? How far would you go if you knew you couldn’t fail? Well, you can fail because Sriracha Nutella doesn’t jibe, but the rest is all at (or on) your fingertips at 716 Wing Kings’ new location at 484 Elmwood Ave. Opening in early June next to Thin Man Brewery, W…

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Located smack in the center of EXPO Market, Breezy Burrito Co. is a build-your-own burrito and taco experience that’s retrofitted its time-honored familial Mexican recipes to the popular quick-serve business model of today. A refreshing blend of familiar classics and Instagrammable mash-ups like its own choco taco, everything on the menu shares the common ground of bein…

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It’s baseball season from now until what will eventually feel like forever, and the crowds are shuffling back to Coca-Cola Field for Bisons' games. It’s tradition to stop off for a bite and a cold one before you’re locked in and hit with stadium pricing (albeit more reasonable at Bisons' games), and Union Pub, formerly the Irish Times, has always been my pregame watering h…

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The newly branded “Original” Warehouse in Blasdell has re-opened just in time for summer. True to its name, the massive floor space includes a modest arcade wrapped around its perimeter, with a seemingly endless patio accessible via large glass garage doors in the bar, pleasantly blurring the line between indoor and outdoor space. The menu at the Original Warehouse i…

Food and Drink

Bruno Italian Grill has moved in to the space formerly occupied by Rachel’s Mediterranean on the corner of Chippewa and Delaware. Trusting a similar business model to Rachel’s but a different cuisine, Bruno is hoping its fast-casual, build-your-own Italian concept will hit the ground running in stride with the time-crunched business crowd it’s hoping to entice. Bruno…

Food and Drink

Mezza is no more, as Nine29 moves its textbook continental menu into the former Middle Eastern restaurant at its namesake location of 929 Elmwood Avenue. Open seven days a week, the late-night kitchen has left the ethnic fare behind in favor of done-up but affordable bar staples with surprising housemade touches. Like its sister restaurant Hearth & Press, Nine29 …