Stores With Stories: The Flower Stand

Zooming up in her compact blue utility vehicle outfitted with a cup holder teeming with pens, a cargo bed holding gardening equipment and paperwork, and a bright yellow sign on the back showing a lady behind the wheel of a tractor, reading “Buy Locally Grown Fresh Flowers and Produce,” Ellen Krzemien (née Rumfola) has just been checking on the progress of her crops.

The late spring fields are planted with rows of emergent flower seedlings – about a month and a half away from summer’s full blooms. Ellen shows spreadsheets of dozens of columns of fine print tracking species, colors, heights, and propagation success.

The Flower Stand owner Ellen Krzemien

“This is the layout of the field, areas A to J, in 18 rows making up the main garden. Then the area behind it is a duplicate of it. There are several kinds of zinnias available, for example, in different stem lengths.” There are perennials, ever-popular dahlias, lavender, Queen Anne’s lace, feverfew, cosmos, baby’s breath, and many more. Flowers in the “everlasting section” include rows of lisianthus, strawflowers, status, and verbena. “I also have an herb area with dill, basil, chamomile, and huacatay – Peruvian mint, with bright green, spiky leaves,” she says.

Transforming a portion of her third-generation family farm, Ellen has created a unique u-pick of a myriad of fresh flowers. It’s agri-tourism, and a fun, family-friendly destination in Springville, New York that’s an easy 36-minute drive from downtown Buffalo.

The Flower Stand, located along Route 240, typically opens around the Fourth of July after what Ellen refers to as her “tax season to get the entire field planted.” She, her husband Jon, her dad Joe, and other helpers plant thousands of seeds for a yield lasting through the first frost, usually mid-October, when several varieties of pumpkins enter the mix.

“My whole life my family has owned this farm – and Rumfola’s Market – since the 1930s and all told it’s 100 acres,” she says. “It’s always a leap of faith. I plant things in the middle of May, hoping there will be no more frost.” What began as 1.5 acres is “pushing into 4 acres now. We’ve had consistent growth and popularity,” she says.

Visits for posy picking are by appointment only; reservations may be made via their website for a 90-minute time slot on one of their days of operation. This, Ellen says, keeps the farm’s plants and grounds healthy by limiting visitors during their open hours Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Everyone is asked to check in and out at the desk located under the awning at their adorable, wooden farmstand, close to the road and adjacent to the parking spots available to u-pickers. Displays outside sell already-cut bouquets, and vegetables grown on the farm. Inside, the small shop carries flower-related gift items like themed t-shirts, tea towels, pots, dried herbs, and bottled water.

All of the necessary equipment is provided for picking – pruners and containers – but anyone may use their own pruners. Bouquet pricing is by the container size/width of its opening: half-gallon or gallon-sized jugs, buckets (small, large, or event-sized), bud vase, and flower box vase. Ellen says that the gallon jug is their biggest seller, priced at $35.

Besides The Flower Stand, Ellen runs a CSA (community supported agriculture) subscription for bouquets, with pick-up sites at the farm, in Orchard Park, and in Larkinville. Since 2005, as Ellen K. Design, she has created floral arrangements and bouquets for weddings and events, and home staging for her real estate clients.

“I first grew flowers to put in my staged homes,” she says. “I sold my surplus flowers at our farm’s roadside stand; it was a hobby at first and then I started getting phone calls – then orders – for my flowers so then the growing became more intentional. And then I was designing little bouquets all the time in my mind.”

“The Flower Stand is part of the ‘Grown, not Flown’ movement of flower farms,” she adds. “It’s a different vibe, and it’s organic. It’s also about mixing native plants with others for a more diverse, natural look.”

Ellen completed the Master Gardener Program at Cornell Co-Operative Extension training course in 2017. “Now I’m an active member,” she says, noting that she is always actively learning more about growing, flowers, and business. She’s also a proud, certified Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) in Erie County. She says she’s contemplating opening a wedding venue on the farm, another seemingly natural progression of her business experience.

“A lot of good things happen here on the farm, people have a visceral reaction to this field. I always say ‘Come with your people, or alone. It’s a meditative experience and there are benches, and butterflies to just sit and be.”

The Flower Stand, 13187 Vaughn Street, Springville | | (716) 913-0626 | Facebook | Instagram

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Eat Your Way Through Elmwood Village with Buffalo Food Tours

There’s no better time than the start of summer to get out and get acquainted, or for locals – get reacquainted, with Buffalo’s local food scene. That’s exactly what I had the opportunity to do with Buffalo Food Tours on a picturesque June day.

Newly launched, Buffalo Food Tours is determined to prove that Buffalo is “more than just chicken wings.” They currently offer a walking tour of the Elmwood Village, complete with diverse small plates, sips and a side of Buffalo history. Owner and international traveler Adam Sandecki returned home to Western New York with a plan to explore his passion for food and shared experiences.

Vegan Smoked Salmon “Lox” sandwich from Tipico Coffee

“During the pandemic, our plan was to return to the states, more specifically Buffalo, and I knew this would be a perfect time to attempt something new,” Adam explained. “Food has always been a passion of mine. I love to find new or old restaurants that are either hidden gems or unexpectedly putting out quality food.”

Walking tours occur rain or shine and typically include 5-7 stops. My adventure included bites at Tipico Coffee, Taste of Siam, Charlie the Butcher’s Carvery, Forty Thieves Kitchen & Bar, Watson’s Chocolates, with a refreshing palate cleanser at Squeeze Juicery. Each stop featured a sampling unique to the establishment and in some cases, a history lesson. At Taste of Siam, I enjoyed handmade wide rice noodles with chicken and fresh vegetables while learning of Thai family recipes that began on Hertel Avenue more than 20 years ago.

House Noodles (Savory Peanut) with Chicken from Taste of Siam, Banana Crunch Rolls from Forty Thieves Kitchen & Bar & Mini Beef from Charlie the Butcher’s Carvery

At Charlie the Butcher’s, I dined on a classic beef on weck sandwich and learned that Charles E. Roesch, Mayor of Buffalo from 1930 to 1934, went on to open up the now infamous butcher shop at the Broadway Market. Needless to say, the local history was as robust as the food itself.

We enjoyed an incredible vegan smoked salmon “lox” sandwich from Tipico, stuffed banana pepper crunch rolls at Forty Thieves, capping off the experience with dark chocolate sponge candy and ice cream from Watson’s. Each location demonstrated that one beloved street can showcase both famous favorites and the diversity of Buffalo cuisine. One thing is for sure: you will not go hungry.

“This past year and a half has been so hard on so many. It’s been a pleasure getting to talk with new people who are excited about getting back outside and going to restaurants again. It’s been great sharing that with them,” Adam says.

A gorgeous display at Watson’s Chocolates

Online booking is now open for tours on Thursdays and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Private tours are available for groups seeking a personalized itinerary. Each tour will include appetizers, a lunch item and dessert. Drinks are available for an extra fee. The maximum party is 10 people, age 12+.

Buffalo Food Tours | | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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7 of Buffalo’s Hottest July Festivals

As summer heats up, so does the festival scene in Buffalo. July is the month of heavyweight celebrations centered around our fantastic local food, rich musical culture, neighborhood diversity and the wonders of nature right in our own backyard(s). When you’re making plans to come to town, be sure to put these events at the top of your Buffalo summer checklist!

Taste of Buffalo, July 10 – July 11
Bigger, better and foodier than ever, the Taste of Buffalo is back! The largest two-day food festival in the United States, join thousands of hungry visitors on the streets of beautiful downtown Buffalo and sample the culinary creations of over 50 local restaurants, breweries and wineries. In addition to live music, family friendly activities, vendors and eating contests, there will be tasty demonstrations so you can become a chef in your own home. This is the most mouth-watering festival of the year!

Williamsville Old Home Days, July 13 – July 16
A weekend of reunions, parades and all around good times await in the historic Village of Williamsville. Visit the beer tents, chow down on a delicious Chiavetta’s chicken BBQ (a Buffalo staple), groove to the music of local bands like Hit N Run and Black Widow plus lots more.

East Side Garden Walk, July 17
The East Side Garden Walk is a free, self-guided tour that brings visitors who share a love of gardening into the creative gardens of Buffalo’s East Side neighborhoods – explore Masten Park, Willert Park, Emslie, Lovejoy, Emerson, Schiller Park, Grider, Cold Springs, the Fruit Belt, Larkin, Hamlin Park, Kensington, Leroy, Lasalle and many more.

Masten Jazz Festival, July 18 & July 25
Stretching across two weekends, the 22nd Annual Masten Jazz Festival honors the prominence of local jazz great, Pappy Martin. This grassroots festival, held on the lawn of the Buffalo Museum of Science, is bringing some of the best names in jazz to Buffalo. From George Caldwell, Drea D’Nur, Love Supreme School of Music, and the Ron Carter Trio, this is guaranteed to be one of the coolest music events of the summer.

42 North Hilltap, July 24
42 North Brewing Company is hosting the first annual HillTap Festival at Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville on Saturday, July 24.  HillTap will be a day-long festival that integrates craft beer, music, and adventure sports atop the mountain at Spruce Lake. In addition to a full day of music, festival admission includes day-long chairlift rides and vendors from across the region including Fat Bob’s BBQ, Hatchet & Hops, and LOUD Performance.

Infringement Festival, July 28 – August 8
Eleven days of eclectic art, performance and music take over all of Buffalo’s neighborhoods for the sprawling indoor/outdoor Infringement Festival. From the top art museums to the smaller community galleries, the entire Buffalo art collective joins forces to put Buffalo creative spirit on display.

Garden Walk Buffalo, July 24 – July 25
Our local green thumbs having been prepping all year for this – the culmination of countless hours of tilling, planting and watering – Garden Walk Buffalo! One of the largest festivals of its kind, Garden Walk Buffalo showcases the beauty and artistry of over 400 local private and public gardens. This all-access celebration of botany affords visitors the opportunity to explore our neighborhoods, bursting forth with nature’s colorful majesty.

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The Ultimate Checklist for Your Buffalo Fourth of July BBQ

Pull out the coolers, grills and chairs. Make the rounds to Wegmans and Consumers. It’s Independence Day weekend, people!

Buffalo summers are some of the best around as our city is blessed with warm temps and cool lake breezes. Perfect weather is the first step in your Fourth of July planning prep. After that, you need to focus your attention on the important details – how to stock your Buffalo BBQ. Here’s how:

For the Grill:

Sahlen’s Hot Dogs: You might not think of hot dogs when you think of Buffalo, but boy does this city know how to grill ’em. And Sahlen’s is the key (I mean, our downtown ballpark is even named after them). Throw a pack of dogs on a sizzling hot charcoal grill and let them get toasty… real toasty… like almost black. It’s heaven on a hot dog bun.

Mineo & Sapio Sausage: A staple of the West Side of Buffalo, Mineo & Sapio have been preparing their countless varieties of Italian sausages for more than 100 years. Pick up a pack at a local store or visit their HQ on Connecticut Street in Buffalo.

Chiavetta’s Marinade: Drive around Buffalo and its suburbs on any summer day and you might catch a whiff of a Chiavetta’s chicken BBQ. It’s sort of our thing. Bring that flavor home with a bottle of Chiavetta’s marinade and soak your chicken, veggies and even tofu in it for that signature tangy, slightly spicy flavor.

For the Cooler:

Labatt Blue Beer: If you’re looking for a beer you can crush all day, skip the usual domestics and grab a 12-er of Blue. It may have a Canadian maple leaf on the can, but this beer is as Buffalo as wings, see: their headquarters on Perry Street.

Cans, Crowlers and Kegs from Local Breweries: The WNY region is now quenched with nearly 50 breweries. From sours, stouts, pilsners, porters, IPAs and APAs, that means there’s a beer style for every taste. Instead of picking just a few to highlight, I’ll just name the beer I drank last: Community Beer Works – Good Neighbor American IPS.

42 North Hard Seltzer: Not one to be left in the dust on growing trends, 42 North is the first brewery or distillery in Buffalo to make a spiked seltzer. The seltzer, Source, is a refreshing, light drink to get you through the hot, sunny days of Buffalo summers.

Loganberry: Invoking memories of Crystal Beach and summers gone by, Loganberry is a sweet, non-carbonated drink flavor only seen on soft drink machines in and around Buffalo. Grab a case of Aunt Rosie’s or DIY with a bottle of Crystal Beach Loganberry syrup.

For the Table:

Bison Dip: Let’s be clear, this isn’t just french onion dip, it’s Bison dip. Whether you’re a dipper or a scooper, Bison is the creamiest, coolest companion to chips, pretzels, veggies and even as a burger condiment – and has been for more than 75 years.

Weber’s Mustard: Since 1922, Weber’s has been the go-to yellow mustard of Buffalonians far and wide. This isn’t just normal mustard after all. It’s the infusion of fresh horseradish that give Weber’s its patented, nasal-clearing kick.

Ted’s Hot Sauce: Available by the bottle at local grocers, the homemade hot sauce recipe of the original “Ted” will have your dogs tasting like they came off the flaming grill at Ted’s Hot Dogs.

Barrel + Brine Pickles: Look, I’ll admit, I despised pickles for the longest time. But there’s something about the super tangy, crisp, fresh jars of Barrel + Brine pickles that I can’t get enough of. A jar of their Fire & Ice variety is always in my fridge.

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For Dessert:

Cake Crazy Cupcakes: After all the salt, you need something sweet. Look no further than the frosted creations of Shetice Williams of Cake Crazy, Buffalo’s only Black-owned bakery. Perfect for the summer, I recommend picking up some of her pink lemonade cupcakes.

Perry’s Ice Cream: When you’re in need of a delicious cooldown, load up your cone with the endless flavors of Perry’s, Buffalo’s favorite ice cream since 1918. They’ve even got a flavor just for this weekend – All American is vanilla ice cream with maraschino cherries and black cherry swirls. “Two scoops? Make it three. I’m not driving.”

For the Lawn:

Kan Jam: Did you know Kan Jam was a Buffalo thing? Yep! The Buffalo-born, frisbee-chucking game you love is the perfect leisurely lawn game. Slot it, slap it, tap it, just remember the “drink in hand” rule…

For the Speakers:

Rock out to our “Buffalo Forever” playlist on Spotify that includes songs by Buffalo-born artists like The Goo Goo Dolls and Ani DiFranco, as well as tunes with a Buffalo connection (Buffalo native Harold Arlen penned “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”) and songs about Buffalo (Bruce Springsteen’s mid-2000s rendition of “Buffalo Gals”).

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Boom! Where to Catch Independence Day Fireworks

Independence Day is the perfect time of the year to visit Buffalo. With summer’s warmth in town for the Fourth, you can enjoy all the very best that Buffalo has to offer. During the day, explore our revitalized waterfront with the whole family, relax on one of many local beaches or grab a frosty pint at our homegrown breweries.

Once the sun sets, the skies of Erie county will be bursting with the rocket’s red glare. Here’s a list of every town, village and venue hosting their own fireworks displays this weekend!

Fourth of July Fireworks Show at Highmark Stadium, July 4 – 8:00pm at Highmark Stadium
A prequel to the fireworks that will take place on the field in the upcoming Bills season, Highmark Stadium may host the biggest pyrotechnics display this Fourth of July. Guests are invited to park in the Fieldhouse lot, along with lots 1,3, and 4 beginning at 8pm – giving you more than enough time to set up lawn chairs and blankets. A $5 fee, benefitting the Buffalo Bills Foundation, will be collected for each vehicle. Fireworks will begin at sundown (approximately 9pm).

Check out these other spectacular fireworks displays all around Erie County and near Niagara Falls:

Friday, July 2nd 2021

• Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, 310 4th Street, Niagara Falls. Fireworks begin at 9:40pm.
• Town of Tonawanda at Kenney Field, 2000 Colvin Blvd., Tonawanda. The event includes live music from 7pm-9pm, food trucks with the fireworks beginning around 10pm. More information here: Independence Celebration

Saturday, July 3rd 2021

• Village of Akron at Veterans Park, Skyline Dr., Akron. While the Village has a whole host of events planned from July 1-4, fireworks will take place on Saturday, July 3 around 9pm. For a full schedule visit: Akron 4th of July Schedule

Sunday, July 4th 2021

• Village of Lancaster, part of Lancaster Independence Day. Fireworks begin at 10pm.
• 4th of July Carnival at the Great Pumpkin Farm, 11199 Main Street, Clarence. In addition to family fun attractions and activities from July 2-4, fireworks will take place at dusk on Sunday, July 4.

Monday, July 5th 2021

• City of Tonawanda/North Tonawanda at Niawanda Park, 200 Niagara St., Tonawanda

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See These Amazing Ceramic Sculptures at the Martin House

The Albright-Knox’s Public Art Initiative has partnered with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House to present an exciting installation featuring artist Jun Kaneko’s monumental ceramic sculptures on view through early October 2021. Titled “The Space Between: Frank Lloyd Wright | Jun Kaneko,” the installation comprises seven of the artist’s enormous, freestanding ceramic works for outdoor display on the newly restored grounds of the Martin House estate, as well as a series of smaller works on view inside the visitor center.

Born in Japan in 1942, Kaneko is an internationally renowned artist primarily known for his pioneering work in ceramic materials. His large pieces, called dangos, are the result of a complex traditional Japanese raku firing and glazing process that produces unique geometric shapes and vibrant color combinations.

“We are proud to collaboratively present this exhibition with the Martin House as our organizations strive to fulfill our missions of enriching and transforming our community,” said Janne Sirén, Albright-Knox Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director.

Wright and Kaneko were both pioneers in their fields, and Wright had an enduring interest in Japanese arts and culture and a reverence for nature, all of which are beautifully captured in Kaneko’s work.

“This public art installation is a unique opportunity to experience the interaction between Kaneko’s sculptures, Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture, and the surrounding landscape,” said Mary Roberts, Martin House Executive Director.

Many of Kaneko’s works represent years of production time due to their immense scale, which takes months to slowly build up to avoid the works being crushed under their own weight. The tallest works in the exhibition are more than 10 feet tall with walls in excess of three inches thick and weigh close to 3,000 pounds. Their fired slip-surfaces create a glasslike coating suitable for outdoor public display in the extreme weather conditions that will occur during the installation.

In addition to the seven large works on the grounds, several smaller works will be on view inside the Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion, the Martin House public visitor center.

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Good Times and Great Burgers at Mr. Sizzle’s

From corner taverns to five-star restaurants, the burger is a staple of the American menu – an expected and reassuring choice for the picky or indecisive eater. Size, accompaniments, garnishments and quality vary, and a truly great burger is hard to find.

I’ve been looking for a great burger joint and I think I’ve found one — a new spot on Buffalo’s West Side dedicated to the fine art of crafting burgers of the highest quality. Meet Mr. Sizzle’s.

Casey and Chris, owners of Mr. Sizzle’s, have spent most of their professional lives working in the restaurant industry. Moving to Buffalo from Charleston, South Carolina, Casey has worked at Mother’s, Hydraulic Hearth and even created her own signature spirit, Ginnamon, as bar manager at Lockhouse Distillery. Chris’s experience came at Bacchus, Bravo Cucina and as general manager of Hamburg’s Carte Blanche. But their vision for Mr. Sizzle’s goes back even further, to their formative years.

“Our inspiration for Mister Sizzle’s came from our childhood memories of going to diners with our parents and grandparents, and more specific, going to Mississippi Mudds and Old Man River. We drew a lot of inspiration from Archie Comics and our Sizzles character was thought up from our love of Wimpy from Popeye,” Casey explained.

Chris and Casey, owners of Mr. Sizzle’s

When you walk into Mr. Sizzle’s you’re presented with a decision. For the individual looking for a more traditional fast-casual dining experience, step up to the ordering counter, receive a buzzer and take a seat in the dining area of the historic Horsefeathers building. Visiting twice, once on a jam-packed opening weekend and again on a busy Friday night, service was prompt and attentive, never taking more than 15 minutes for our food to be ready.

If you’ve got a little more time on your hands, pony up to the fully stocked bar staffed with energetic, friendly bartenders and prepare to make some new friends. With signature cocktails, local beers, boozy milkshakes and creative “mocktails” for those who don’t partake, it’s the more social way to enjoy your food.

“The room was designed to socialize and meet people. We want this to be the living room of Buffalo. Inclusive, safe, lively and fun,” Casey said.

Once you’ve decided how to enjoy your burger, it’s time to choose your burger. The first time I visited, I went traditional – a single patty Sizzle Burger (American cheese, pickle, lettuce, onion and Sizzle sauce on an impossibly shiny brioche bun). Paired with fries and a thick vanilla shake, it was the classic burger experience. Delicious. When we visited again last Friday, we went experimental… and BIG; a double patty Butter Burger (American cheese, sautéed onion and, of course, butter), a Messy Pressy (think poutine on a burger), the vegan Impossible version of the Sizzle Burger, and I Love Honey (buttermilk fried chicken, hot honey and pickles). Oh, we didn’t mention Mr. Sizzle’s has killer chicken sandwiches, too?

“The menu has so much heart in it. Chris and I wrote the menu over the course of a year. And our two chefs made it a reality. We love smash burgers, and in my opinion they are the superior burger choice — to each their own,” Casey proclaimed. “Currently we have ten burgers, five available vegan. We are working on some menu additions that will be added in the future like a ‘stinger’ which is our fried chicken topped with a burger patty. We’re also working on a vegan version of fried chicken which we are hoping to launch by end of summer.”

Stuffed by our burger splurge, we just sort of sat back and enjoyed the social experience that Mr. Sizzle provided. After more than a year spent socially-distanced, our visit was one of the first outings that felt like a return to “normal”. Aside from the smiles on the faces of other patrons, one thing I noticed was how happy Casey and Chris were and how genuinely enthusiastic Mr. Sizzle’s staff was to cater to their patrons. The recent times haven’t been easy for folks, especially those in the restaurant industry, but from our experience, Mr. Sizzle has succeeded in their pursuit of offering delicious food for everyone and a great place to work.

“We just try to do the right thing, it’s just who we are as people.”

Mr. Sizzle’s, 346 Connecticut Street, Buffalo | | Facebook | Instagram

Photos courtesy of Mister Sizzle’s

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Our Favorite City Walks: Downtown Buffalo

Downtown Buffalo is packed with great architecture, interesting streetscapes and beautiful urban vistas (Court Street, anyone?), making it one of the most compelling places for a walk in Western New York.

Take this opportunity to explore the heart of the city and discover masterworks by Louis Sullivan and Richard Upjohn, an office building that was one of the world’s largest, a monument to a fallen president and Buffalo’s massive Art Deco City Hall.

The walk is approximately 1.9 miles in length and should take about one hour to complete.

Hotel @ The Lafayette

Begin at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the center of Lafayette Square. Designed to honor those who fought in the Civil War, it was dedicated on July 4, 1884 by New York State Governor Grover Cleveland – a man who had served as sheriff of Erie County and mayor of Buffalo, and who would later become America’s 22nd and 24th president. Face the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, which is the black and white rectangular building set back from the square. The library is also home to one of the original manuscripts of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, housed in the Mark Twain room. As you rotate your view clockwise around the square, you’ll see the Louise Bethune’s Hotel @ The Lafayette, the Brisbane Building (1895, Milton E. Beebe & Son), and then the Liberty Building (notice the pair of Statue of Liberty figures atop of this 1925 building, which was designed by Alfred C. Bossom). Proceed down Washington Street between the Hotel @ The Lafayette and the Brisbane building, make a right onto E. Eagle, and left onto Main.

One M&T Plaza

On your left, you’ll see One M&T Plaza. With its tall entryway arches and long white vertical lines, it was erected from 1964 to 1966 and designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the same architect who designed the World Trade Center twin towers in New York. Nearby you can also get a look at the recently erected Nikola Tesla statue in Nikola Tesla Park at the corner of North Division Streets. Tesla’s discovery of alternating current electricity was integral in making Buffalo an early adopter of city-wide electricity.

Cross over Church Street and the first thing you’ll see on your left is a statue of Polish-born Revolutionary War general Casimir Pulaski, a gift from the country of Poland in 1979. Next to the statue, you’ll find the Ellicott Square Building. Step inside the building’s atrium and see an incredible mosaic floor. Order a classic Buffalo beef on weck sandwich at Charlie the Butcher.

Turn left on Swan Street and you’ll see Sahlen Field, home of the Buffalo Bisons (and the Toronto Blue Jays for the start of their 2021 season). Walk to the corner of Swan and Ellicott Street, where you’ll see the Old Post Office (O’Rourke, Aiken and Taylor, 1894-1901), which now serves as the city campus for Erie Community College and features a spectacular atrium.

FLW Filling Station at Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum

Keep walking down Swan and right onto Michigan Avenue. At the corner of Michigan and Seneca Street, stop at the Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum, where car aficionados and casual admirers will be in awe of the wealth and array of cars and memorabilia housed on site. From Corvettes to motorcycles, bicycles to, of course, Buffalo-built Pierce Arrows, it’s a walk through automobile history.

There’s even something in store for architectural lovers. As you enter the main room, stand beneath the copperlined awnings of a lovingly recreated 1:1 scale replica of Frank Lloyd Wright’s long lost Filling Station design. Adorned with gravity-fed pumps, angular design features and a fully-equipped lounge, odds are good that you’ve never seen anything like it.

Details of the Dun Building

Head west on Seneca Street, turn right on Oak, left on Swan, left on Washington, then right on Seneca. When you get to Seneca Street, look straight ahead at Seneca One Tower, which straddles Main Street. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and constructed from 1969 to 1974, it is Buffalo’s tallest building. If you would like to connect to the Buffalo waterfront, continue straight on Main Street, travelling under the Seneca One Tower, until you reach Scott Street.

To continue on the downtown walk, turn right on Seneca Street. At the corner of Pearl Street, you’ll find the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, which features a line of house-brewed beers and an extensive menu. Turn right on Pearl. When you get to the corner of Swan Street, notice the oddly shaped Dun Building (Green & Wicks, 1893-1894) on your left, featuring Sato Brewpub, a Japanese-style brewery and restaurant. Turn left on Swan. At the corner of Swan Street and Franklin Street, you’ll see St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the mother church of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, built from 1851 to 1855 and designed by Patrick C. Keeley. Double back on Swan Street and turn left on Pearl Street.

Guaranty Building

When you reach the corner of Pearl and Church Streets, you’ll be standing between two of Buffalo’s greatest architectural masterpieces – Richard Upjohn’s St. Paul’s Cathedral on your right and Louis Sullivan’s Guaranty Building on your left.

Turn left on Church and then right on Franklin Street. On your left, you’ll see Old County Hall (Andrew J. Warner, 1871-1876), which once served as Buffalo City Hall. When you reach Niagara Street, turn left. Soon, you’ll be at Niagara Square, the epicenter of Buffalo’s radial street grid, which was laid out by Joseph Ellicott in 1804.

Buffalo City Hall

At the center of Niagara Square, you’ll see the McKinley Monument, which was erected in 1907 in remembrance of President William McKinley, who was assassinated during the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. As you look around the square, you’ll see everything from the brutalist concrete City Court Building (Pfohl, Roberts & Biggie, 1971-1974), to the elegant Statler City (George B. Post & Sons, 1921-1923), to the new glass-wrapped U.S. Courthouse (Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates). The highlight, though, is Buffalo’s massive Art Deco City Hall.

Leave Niagara Square via Court Street, which will bring you back to Lafayette Square, where you started.

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Shuck Shack Brings Fresh Seafood to Buffalo Shores

The fresh flavors of the New England coast can be a hard thing to come by in Western New York. But this summer, one operation has successfully brought deliciously fresh seafood from the shores of the Atlantic to the shores of the Buffalo River. With a modest, but charming temporary setup on Ohio Street, wedged between Tewksbury Lodge and Buffalo Riverfest Park, Shuck Shack is the seasonal brainchild of the owners of Fresh Catch Poke Co. in Williamsville and 500 Pearl.

Once you’ve arrived and found your place on their cozy sun-drenched patio, head up to the Shuck Shack’s Instagram-worthy trailer to place your order. The trailer may be small in stature, but it’s absolutely stuffed to the gills with the freshest seafood from the waters of Massachusetts, Maine and maritime Canada.

Oysters by the dozen, Cape Cod clams, New England lobster claws, wild Gulf shrimp, ahi tuna and Shuck Shack’s signature Cajun Tuna Shackwich are always on the menu, but it’s the rotating weekly specials that will keep you coming back for more. Ceviche, lobster boils, lobster rolls, fish tacos and collaborations with local restaurants (like last season’s work with Southern Junction BBQ and Las Puertas) are a few of the highlights. Shuck Shack is no slouch in the refreshment department either. Wine by the bottle and six-packs of beer on ice are available, too.

But a word to the wise — demand for the Shuck Shack’s goods is high and given their weekend-only hours, it’s likely some things will sell out. Use Shuck Shack’s online ordering system to place your order ahead of time to ensure you’re not disappointed.

Views from the Shuck Shack patio

Follow Shuck Shack on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with the currents of their weekly specials. Visit to check out their menu and place your order ahead of time.

Shuck Shack, 301 Ohio Street, Buffalo | | Hours: Friday 12pm-9pm, Saturday 12pm-9pm, Sunday 12pm-sell out

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Flea Markets: (Almost!) Everything Under the Sun

The joy of flea market shopping is serendipity: most used items for sale are unique, so wares will usually be different on any given excursion. What will be found, for sure, are sound deals on antiques (or semi-antiques), collectibles, furniture and housewares, clothing, and sometimes produce and prepared food items.

The Peddler

Buffalo has a plethora of flea markets within city limits as well as in suburbs and towns that are each accessible on jaunts of 30 minutes or so. The following six flea markets are distinctive based on location, offerings, and how many vendors do business onsite. Some are open year-round but have limited stall action until the warmer months of the year. Some are always open-air and feature goods and goodies from local farms. Some are mostly, or partially, indoors and have the amenity of climate control.

Here are a few tips for those less familiar with shopping at flea markets. Do wear comfortable shoes and clothing that you would wear to a picnic, or another non-fussy, outdoor activity: places and objects for sale can be dusty, and markets happen regardless of seasonal showers. Be prepared to lug larger objects by bringing a friend, or inquiring about drive-up service for loading paid-for objects: if you’re shopping for something large, plan on bringing a dolly, or hand-truck. Bring negotiating skills: seemingly all prices are negotiable, and most vendors are willing to make a deal.

Clinton-Bailey Farmers & Flea Market

Organized and open-air, Clinton-Bailey Farmers & Flea Market is equal parts produce, plants, and flea market items. It’s located at 1442 Clinton Street between Bailey Avenue and Hubbard Street. Look for the flea market tables along the concourse underneath the open-air, roofed structure. This market has operated non-stop since its founding in 1930 by Niagara Frontier Growers Co-operative Market, Inc. Area wholesale buyers hit the market every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, when the market gets underway at 4 a.m.: this part of the city is known as a food hub with other produce purveyors and markets nearby.

The market is open year-round for its two seasons: summer (May 1-November 1, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), and winter (November 1-April 30, Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.). The bustling, friendly flea market, located on the west side of the market footprint, happens on Saturdays and Sundays: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. during the summer, and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. in winter. Expect to see just about anything for sale: shoes, bicycles, collectibles, and curiosities. A recent vendor proudly displayed vintage Cabbage Patch Kids for sale. Note that the food and flea vendors occupy separate areas; some farmstands refer to the flea market vendors as “junk sellers” but everyone knows that flea market finds are in the eyes of the beholders.

East Aurora Flea & Farmers Market

East Aurora Flea & Farmers Market is a large one, with just over one hundred indoor and outdoor permanent and seasonal vendors selling treasures out of storage bays, and on tables set up throughout the property. The rambling parking lot’s vending tables feature the usual assemblies of flea market items, seasonal produce, and plants. There are seasonal onsite food vendors and seating – always a flea market bonus.

Located along Big Tree Road (that doubles as Route 20A), the you-can’t-miss-it flea market building with huge red letters and green metal roof is just off of Thorn Avenue. The flea market operates on Saturdays and Sundays, year-round, from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Also operating on the premises are the adjacent Antique Mall, and an Auction Gallery.

The Peddler

Every Sunday The Peddler, a flea and art market, takes over the parking lot of Parish Commons, an upscale commercial-residential building at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and West Ferry in Buffalo’s Elmwood Village. Vendors sell everything from classic vinyl, gently-worn clothing, original artwork, and vintage objects and furnishings.

This flea market is weather-dependent and won’t happen if there is a big rain, and its season begins usually in April or May once the temperature is 55º or higher. The market shutters when snowflakes begin to flutter down. Pre-browsing, do check out The Peddler Facebook page where some vendors will preview what they’ll have on their tables. Hours for this friendly, robust, diverse flea market are from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Gentner Commission Market

Gentner Commission Market is a longtime, family-run, action-packed outdoor flea market and live auction with the look and feel of a miniature county fair. It’s a place of commerce, neighbors catching up, browsing and wandering, and people grabbing a bite and eating on outdoor tables.

Since 1939 “Gentner’s” (pronounced as Get-ners, a Springville native instructed) has held their twofold flea market on Wednesdays from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. There are traditional flea market tables set up as well as a roving flea market auction with bidders following the auctioneer on duty to the many eclectic lots laid out on the ground.  Live auctions begin at 9 a.m. and bidders must register to get numbers, from the office window on the grounds near the dining area. Later in the day livestock is auctioned off; previews of the poultry and penned, four-legged animals are possible in the bright red barn.

Fillmore Express Flea Market

Express Flea Market is an indoor-outdoor flea market with dozens of stands of vendors selling typical pre-owned goods, handcrafted items, and new household and fashion products. There are several stalls selling African imports: traditional clothing as well as decorative pieces like wooden masks and statues.

The year-round market has a large parking lot where some vendors set up outdoors, seasonally – indoor shopping is climate-controlled. Express Flea Market is located on Fillmore Avenue north of East Delavan Avenue, south of Kensington Avenue, and across from Glenny Park. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Express Flea is open Thursday-Monday and on key flea shopping days (Saturday and Sunday) the market is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Antique World and Flea Market

There are acres and acres of finds-in-waiting at Antique World and Flea Market, located in Clarence on Main Street/Route 5. This roving market got started in 1981 and, with food vendors onsite, is a fun, year-round destination. Things are at full-tilt during late spring and summer months with hundreds of flea vendors selling outdoors.

The flea market (outdoors and in the flea market building) takes place Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Expect to see new and used objects, furniture, antiques, and collectibles. On Sundays, in April through October, Antique World charges a buck to park. It’s fun to wander through adjacent Antique World, packed with more flea market items, and antiques collected by Antique World founder Kelly Schultz. Note that this portion of the business is closed on Wednesdays. A bonus attraction in autumn is the Great Pumpkin Farm next door; it runs from mid-September through Halloween, and is also owned by Schultz.

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