Hilarious TOOTSIE, second of 3 Broadway tours to launch from Buffalo, is just what we need right now, economically and emotionally

THE BASICS:  The national tour of Broadway’s TOOTSIE wraps up public performances this Saturday at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 650 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202.  (716) 847-1410  (  Three shows left (tonight at 7:30, Saturday at both 2:00 and 8:00).  With a capacity of over 3,019, yes, seats are still available in the balcony ($30 to $40) and orchestra ($70 to $80) with more on the weekend than Friday.  I have heard from friends that “rush” tickets (last minute walk up purchases) might be available at a discount.  Proof of at least one dose of vaccine required as are masks for the whole performance.  You are allowed to discreetly lower your mask to enjoy concessions (all your favorites are back!).  Runtime: 2 hours, 35 minutes with one intermission.

THUMBNAIL SKETCH:  Based on the 1982 Dustin Hoffman movie, the musical brings a modern sensibility to the stage, but the basic idea is still that NYC actor Michael Dorsey (Drew Becker) is so opinionated, demanding, and generally difficult to work with that his career is over.  Nobody wants him, not even his agent.  Then, as his good (but kinda crazy) friend Sandy (Payton Riley) has a meltdown after she’s been denied a plum role (the nurse in the fictional “JULIET’S CURSE”) Michael sees an opportunity.  If nobody will hire Michael Dorsey, perhaps they’ll hire “Dorothy Michaels” and so with wigs, costumes, and makeup, he reinvents himself as a woman, gets that role, and becomes the darling of Broadway.  But just how long can he juggle all those balls?

THE PLAYERS, THE PLAY, AND THE PRODUCTION:  With a 2019 Tony Award (Best Book of a Musical by Robert Horn) and equally hilarious lyrics (and music) by David Yazbeck, TOOTSIE at Shea’s, after 18 months of shutdown, is what you (and Buffalo) deserve (need?).  It’s really good, and apparently good for the city.

Back in June we were told that the three national tour launches rehearsing and “teching” at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre will be bringing an estimated $25 million economic boost for Buffalo.  TOOTSIE is the second of those along with FROZEN last month and Aaron Sorkin’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD next spring (starring Richard “John Boy” Thomas as Atticus Finch).

The musical TOOTSIE comes from fertile ground for David Yazbek, so adept at adapting movies to the stage.  Remember the out-of-work Buffalo steel workers in the 2001 musical THE FULL MONTY (book by Terrence McNally, music by Yazbek) based on the 1997 movie?  Or DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, the 2004 comedy musical (book by Jeffrey Lane, music and lyrics by Yazbek) based on the 1988 movie?  And Yazbek is also the Tony Award winning composer for THE BAND’S VISIT (book by Itamar Moses, music and lyrics by Yazbek) based on a 2007 Israeli film?

When the name Yazbek is on the playbill, you’re in good hands.  He knows how to do this.

When the name Yazbek is on the playbill, you’re in good hands.  He knows how to do this.  And by the way, THE BAND’S VISITwas the winner of ten (10!) Tony Awards in 2018 including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical for Itamar Moses and Best Original Score for David Yazbek, and that’s the very next Broadway touring show at Shea’s this season running November 2 – 7 (for which you need your complete vaccination, if you didn’t know).

The concept that Yazbek seems to like is when the protagonist is in some sort of trouble but gets out of it in a way that, on the surface, shouldn’t work.  And, along the way, there are always unlikely romantic attractions that, of course, are “complicated.”  The setups for all his musicals could be summed up in that popular expression “What could possibly go wrong?”  Well, for Michael Doherty in TOOTSIE, just about everything.  He lies to the leading lady of the play he’s been hired for as well as his friend Sandy, his fellow actors, the producer, the director, on and on. With an all-knowing “Greek chorus” ensemble (including Buffalo’s own Dominique Kempf, interview here) singing about the many errors of his ways, and his roommate, the struggling playwright Jeff (Jared David Michael Grant), being even more direct, (you’ll love the Act II song “Jeff sums it up”) the writing is snappy and contemporary and the sound system at Shea’s allows you to hear every word.

If Gilbert (lyrics) and Sullivan (music) had been born 125 years later, they might have been David Yazbek.

And those words are important.  If Gilbert (lyrics) and Sullivan (music) had been born 125 years later, they might have been David Yazbek. In G&S operettas, high points are always “patter songs” with extremely fast clever contemporary lyrics, perhaps the most famous with the phrase “I am the very model of a modern major general.”  The TOOTSIE equivalents are Sandy’s song “What’s Gonna Happen,” “Jeff Sums It Up” and Max’s song “This Thing.”

The cast, delivering comic lines with great timing, acting, dancing, you know, that Broadway stuff they do, are all excellent in their roles, which are:

Drew Becker as Michael Dorsey and Dorothy Michaels | Photo courtesy of TOOTSIE North American Tour

Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels (Drew Becker) – a struggling actor (and Becker, by the way, as Dorothy has a surprisingly wonderful high range… quite astounding, actually)

Julie Nichols (Ashley Alexandra) – an actress currently starring as Juliet in the fictional play “Juliet’s Curse” who has a bluesy show-stopper “Gone, Gone, Gone” that Alexandra just owns

Sandy Lester (Payton Reilly) – an out-of-work actress and friend of Michael and Jeff (Reilly has great timing and, as mentioned, her “What’s Gonna Happen” is another show-stopper).

Jared Grant (as Jeff) can generate laughter with just a look | Photo courtesy of TOOTSIE North American Tour

Jeff Slater (Jared David Michael Grant) – Michael’s roommate, an unsuccessful playwright.  Grant had the audience explode with laughter over and over often with just a look.

Max Van Horn (Lukas James Miller) – a reality show star currently starring as Craig, Romeo’s brother (yes you read that right), in “Juliet’s Nurse” whose chiseled and burned pecs and abs are almost an extra character on their own.

Rita Marshall (Kathy Halenda) – the producer of “Juliet’s Nurse”, totally believable

Ron Carlisle (Adam Du Plessis) – the director and choreographer of “Juliet’s Nurse” is appropriately obnoxious just as Dabney Coleman was in the original movie.

Stan Fields (Steve Brustien) – Michael’s agent makes the most of his three scenes reminding us that “there are no small roles.”

Buffalo’s own Dominique Kempf is Suzie | Photo courtesy of TOOTSIE North American Tour

Suzie and Stuart – (Buffalo’s own Dominique Kempf is Suzie, Connor Allston is Stuart) are the book writers for “Juliet’s Nurse”.

Dominique Kempf (Frontier High School, SUNY Fredonia) has been seen on many local stages, including Shea’s 710 (LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and AVENUE Q) and MusicalFare (Sarah in RAGTIME, Maria in WEST SIDE STORY, and others).  And, we’re thrilled that she’s on the big Shea’s main stage as the musical TOOTSIE begins its national tour in Buffalo.


On the north side of the alley behind Shea’s is The Alleyway Theatre where a troupe of women, the “Brazen Faced Varlets,” after years of working smaller venues, have a first rate show on the Alleyway’s main stage called ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT by Shirley Lauro. The setting is Germany in The Third Reich under Hitler. Many of the themes have been visited before in such plays as TRIAL AT NUREMBURG, but here the action is presented from the point of view of four gentile (non-Jewish) women and one older authority figure “The Fraus.” It is not easy for any of the women, and this is not a comedy, but the mood is leavened here and there, sometimes with irony, sometimes with sarcasm.

The 30th annual Artie Awards, presented by Buffalo Toronto Public Media, are making their long awaited return on Monday, November 1, at the Kavinoky Theatre.  Hosted by D’Youville College, the awards ceremony will celebrate the performances of the theater community’s 2019 – 2020 season and will be streamed.

AMERICAN SON presented by Ujima Theatre Collective in the “Lorna C. Hill” Theatre opens tonight and runs through October 30 at 429 Plymouth in Buffalo (716) 322-5178

SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD presented by Second Generation Theatre (October 22 – November 14) will be at Shea’s Smith Theatre, 658 Main Street, Buffalo. (

LOOPED presented by New Phoenix Theatre (October 28 to November 20) 95 Johnson Park, Buffalo 716-853-1334 will feature James Cichocki and Elliot Fox and Julie Kittsley as Tallulah Bankhead.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME presented by “All for One” Productions at Shea’s 710 Theatre (October 28 – November 14) (

SOMETHING WICKED presented by American Repertory Theatre (October 28 – November 20) 545 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. ( (716) 697-0837

WOMAN IN BLACK presented by the Kavinoky Theatre (October 29 – November 21) on the D’Youville College campus in Buffalo, 320 Porter Avenue (716) 829-7668 (

*HERD OF BUFFALO (Notes on the Rating System)

ONE BUFFALO: This means trouble. A dreadful play, a highly flawed production, or both. Unless there is some really compelling reason for you to attend (i.e. you are the parent of someone who is in it), give this show a wide berth.

TWO BUFFALOS: Passable, but no great shakes. Either the production is pretty far off base, or the play itself is problematic. Unless you are the sort of person who’s happy just going to the theater, you might look around for something else.

THREE BUFFALOS: I still have my issues, but this is a pretty darn good night at the theater. If you don’t go in with huge expectations, you will probably be pleased.

FOUR BUFFALOS: Both the production and the play are of high caliber. If the genre/content are up your alley, I would make a real effort to attend.

FIVE BUFFALOS: Truly superb–a rare rating. Comedies that leave you weak with laughter, dramas that really touch the heart. Provided that this is the kind of show you like, you’d be a fool to miss it!


Ike & BG’s Restaurant Opens Downtown, and Announces “Significant” Groundbreaking on Buffalo’s East Side 

Entrepreneur Steven Butler initially caught the culinary bug thanks to his mother Nette’s passion for cooking, and the restaurant business. But it was Butler’s godfather and founder of Ike and BG’s Restaurant, Ike Gray, who gave him his first shot in the industry when he was 14 years old. The decision to bring the hard working lad into the fold proved to be a fateful one, as Butler would ultimately go on to purchase the Genesee Street restaurant in 2017.

Steven Butler

Now, upwards of 5 years later, Butler is taking the barbecue and soul food restaurant to the next level. He’s doing this by further building upon the successes of the Genesee Street location, while opening a second location on Niagara Street near the corner of Franklin Street, steps from Buffalo City Hall. 

This past Wednesday, Mayor Byron W. Brown, Legislator Howard Johnson and Council President Darius Pridgen, joined Butler at a ribbon cutting for the new BBQ and soul food restaurant. In attendance were the restaurant’s founders, Ike and Betty Gray.

Ribbon cutting: At the West Side Ike and BG’s (56 Niagara Street), there is indoor seating, patio seating, and new menu items that include fried catfish dinners, fried lobster, and lobster mac and cheese. Source: Ahrie Photography
There’s only one way… the Ike & BG’s Way

It was at the ribbon cutting that Butler announced East Side plans to break ground on a multi-use development project in April 2022. The $4 million project will encompass eight vacant lots between Colorado and Montana Streets – the lots adjoin the current Ike and Bg’s location at 1646 Genesee Street. The plan includes a dining space, a banquet hall, three commercial retail units, 12 two-bedroom apartments, and a parking lot. While this project is underway, Ike and Bg’s will only operate out of the new downtown location. 

“I congratulate Steven Butler for not only carrying on the culinary traditions of his godparents, Ike and Betty Gray, who founded Ike & BG’s on Genesee Street in 1998, but by now bringing their great BBQ and soul food menu to downtown Buffalo,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said. “I’m also pleased my administration is working with Steven to achieve his dream of completely rebuilding the original Ike & BG’s, as part of a $4 million mixed-use project, which will include housing and retail on six vacant, City-owned lots, and to give a great boost to that east side neighborhood.”  

Ike and BG’s Restaurant was founded in 1998 by Butler’s godparents Issac “Ike” and Betty Gray – pictured with family members | Source: Ahrie Photography

“Ike and BG’s is excited to have a presence in the heart of downtown Buffalo,” said Butler. “There are plenty of great restaurants downtown, but there is only one Ike and BG’s. We look forward to gaining some new customers. For years I have imagined how and where to expand. Buffalo is my home, and Genesee Street is Ike and Bg’s neighborhood. We intend to grow even more in Buffalo. After today we will be working attentively on Ike and BG’s Restaurant’s huge rebuild in our eastside neighborhood.” 

“Ike and BG’s has served the 1st Legislative District for over 23 years, and its impact on the WNY community is far-reaching,” said Erie County Legislator Howard Johnson. “Residents travel from all parts of Buffalo for this wonderful culinary experience. The new rebuild in 2022 will be a big win for the community. This is much needed in the district as there is a shortage of affordable housing and dine-in-style restaurants. This will add value to our community.” 


US Population Continues to Move Westward – Will Water from the Great Lakes Follow?

Carved out of ancient riverbeds by glaciers approximately 12 thousand years ago1, the Great Lakes are the world’s largest freshwater source.  This will likely be the driving force for the resurgence of the City of Buffalo and other Rust Belt cities as climate change forces the migration of populations from flooded coastal areas or areas lacking water resources.  

As we see the southwestern US suffer through wildfires, partially caused by the continuing drought conditions, there are again pressures to move waters from east to west.  The Colorado River Basin, which supplies water to many major urban centers, is drying up as snow packs in the foothills of the Colorado are not replenished.   As the water decreases in the river, it also is impacting major power generation sources at Lake Mead and Lake Powell.  If the weather patterns do not change next year, it is a possibility that the water levels will not be high enough to generate power at Lake Powell in 20232.  

Source: Wikipedia

Since it has 21% of the world’s total fresh water, the Great Lakes would normally be considered the solution to the southwest’s water woes.  Fortunately for the residents of the Western New York region, our lakes are currently protected from the call for water from the west by the Great Lakes Agreement and Compact3 (GLAC).   The GLAC, signed by the states and provinces bordering the Great Lakes, allow for water management within the watersheds that supply the Great Lakes.  No transfers of water outside these watersheds are allowed by the compact unless all signatories agree to the transfer and only in counties that are partially within that watershed.  This has happened twice since it was signed into law in 2008 and grandfathers in the permitted outflows of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (built in 1900 and links Lake Michigan and the Des Planes River, a part of the Mississippi River Basin).  

Nova Group’s plan was to load ocean tankers to markets in East Asia.

The reason for the formation of the GLAC, ironically, had nothing to do with transferring waters to drier areas in the US or Canada.  In 1998, the Province of Ontario granted a permit to the Nova Group to withdraw up to 427,000 gallons a day from Lake Superior4.  Their plan was to load ocean tankers to markets in East Asia.  As soon as the word was out, it caused an international crisis which eventually led to the GLAC.   It may have been the first proposal to ship water from the Great Lakes outside of North America, but certainly not the only proposal to move waters from the region.  

Source: Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation with The Nature Conservancy

In 1982, The US Army Corps of Engineers studied and denied a diversion of Great Lakes waters to recharge the Ogallala Aquifer, the source of water for many midwestern farms.  Water from the Great Lakes was in the news in 2007 as part of a national water policy proposed by then presidential candidate Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico.  In 2019, the State of Minnesota had a request to allow the removal of up to 500 million gallons of ground water from an area just outside the Great Lakes Basin that would be shipped by rail to the Southwestern US.  This proposal shows that entrepreneurs consider this to be profitable as shipping petroleum is in today’s economy.

The threats for water diversion are real, but the costs are staggering.

The threats for water diversion are real, but the costs are staggering.  A proposal to build a water pipeline from the Mississippi River to the Colorado River, to be used to replenish Colorado River reservoirs from floodwaters of the Mississippi, was estimated to be $23 billion in 20115.  This is less than half than the Chinese are expected to spend for a similar project (the South-North Water Diversion Project6).  The Chinese suffer from the same water disparities as we do in the United States for its fastest growing population areas like Beijing.

The threats of water diversion need to be taken seriously.

But the threats of water diversion need to be taken seriously.  Consider the two poster children of large body water diversions, the Aral Sea in Central Asia and the Salton Sea in California.  The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest lake in the world until waters from rivers that fed into it were diverted by the Soviet Union for cotton farming. The Salton Sea was accidentally created from a breach in an early irrigation canal from the Colorado River to the agricultural Imperial Valley.   For two years, while the breach was repaired, flood waters poured into a natural basin which turned a desert into an oasis for a time.  But without their water sources, most of the Aral and Salton Seas are now a toxic dry basin from the salts left behind by the evaporation of the land locked waters.

Currently, the largest diversion of Great Lakes water could be as close as your supermarket shelves.

Photo by Jonathan Chng

Currently, the largest diversion of Great Lakes water could be as close as your supermarket shelves.  The largest loophole in the GLAC is the allowance of water to be moved outside the basin in containers carrying less than 5.7 gallons.  In 2017, a Nestle Ice Mountain water permit was issued to extend its extraction of groundwaters in Michigan7.  The company had already extracted over 3.4 billion gallons over 10 years from this site within the Great Lakes Watershed. But it’s not an isolated case.  Locally, Mayer Brothers is one of dozens of bottlers within the watershed that package private labeled water for sale to regional and national retailers.

For now, the waters in Lake Superior and Lake Michigan are safe from large scale diversions due to the legal protection of the GLAC.  But it is a law, and laws can be changed.  The 2020 census again moved the geographic balance of power in the House of Representatives, with 4 seats moving to states west of the Mississippi and coming the states bordering the Great Lakes losing 5 seats.  As the states along our inland sea lose the numerical clout in the Congress, and as climate stresses change the political landscape, the Governors of the Great Lakes need to reconsider the question of diversion8, the looming threat to our greatest resource.

Lead image: Lake Erie – Photo by Taylor Gilmore


Street Murals @ The BNMC

We’ve been talking about traffic calming street murals for years, whether it’s in the form of crosswalks, bumpouts, or other colorful ways to slow down cars. Aside from slowing down cars, and making it easier and safer for people to cross the street, there is an artistic element that should not be overlooked.

Let’s Walk Together, by artist Muhammad Zaman
Artist Ashley Johnson at work

In the case of th Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC), a couple of artistic street murals are in the process of being applied. The first that I came upon was done by artist Muhammad Zaman (titled Let’s Walk Together), which leads to BNMC’s Innovation Center at 640 Ellicott. The second mural, which was underway when I stopped by the intersection of Ellicott and Virginia Streets, was being painted by artist Ashley Johnson. During my visit, Ashley introduced me to her grandparents, who were watching her progress (lead image).

The two street murals (more are on the way apparently) were accomplished thanks to a collaboration with GObike Buffalo and the Albright-Knox, with funding support from the Ralph Wilson Foundation and the University at Buffalo.

“The BNMC gave us the parameter for the work,” said Johnson. “They wanted the art to represent the campus and what they stand for – their 8 areas of focus, what I based the design off of.  It represents their involvement in the community – community circles, with a nod to GObike, with the graphic bumpouts.”

Let’s Walk Together, by artist Muhammad Zaman

Christina Orsi, Associate Vice President for Economic Development at UB said “We are thrilled to continue to support improvements that make the BNMC campus a leading destination for our community of innovators. Together, we forge greater connections with the surrounding community in a place where our differences become our strengths to enable lasting impressions and impacts in Western New York and beyond.”

Jamie Hamann Burney, Director of Campus Planning and Implementation said, “Our Campus is a magnet for innovators, researchers, and healthcare workers, and sees over 1.5M patients and visitors every year. We’re also part of a larger surrounding community and we strive to create places where everyone can gather and connect in a safe environment. Bringing great art to the Campus all the while making it safer for all who rely on its resources is a win-win for everyone. Look for more exciting projects coming soon.”

These new street murals join artist Hervé Tullet’s Traits points taches giboullage (Lines dots stains scribbles), which is located at 847 Main Street.


Halloween Events in WNY – 2021

The post Halloween Events in WNY – 2021 appeared first on Fun 4 Kids in Buffalo.


2021 Elmwood Porchtoberfest!

Before you get too excited about Halloween, get excited about Porchtoberfest! What’s Porchtoberfest, you ask? It’s a fun derivation of the oh-so-popular Porchfest (mixed with Octoberfest), which is now a commonplace event held throughout WNY.

Porchtoberfest is the Elmwood Village Association’s big fall event. On Saturday, October 16, the festivities will kick off at 8am at the Bidwell Parkway Farmers Market. Visitors can expect to find live music, an Autumn Selfie Station, face painting (9am – 2pm), and all sorts of farmer’s market fall goodies and treats.

Throughout the day, and into the evening (the event ends at 9pm), Elmwood Avenue will come alive with the sounds of live music – it’s like a mini-version of Porchfest, held along the commercial thoroughfare. People strolling the village will also come across shops and restaurants promoting sales, and offering tastings. 

There’s even Porchtoberfest Scavenger Hunt to look forward to. All of the event details can be found by visiting this website, Facebook, or by stopping by the Bidwell Parkway Farmers Market, or into Thin Ice at 719 Elmwood Avenue. 

Bands at the Farmers Market:

Tom Fuchs: 8:00 am – 9:45 am,
Liam Jones: 9:00 am – 10:45 am
Keefer Williams of “The Knock-Offs”: 10:00 am – 11:45 am
Dave Brown: 11:00 am – 12:45 pm

Bands on Elmwood:

12:00 Kerry Fey
1:00 Pffft
2:00 Amish Noise
3:00 Smitten For Trash
4:00 Radical Operations


Fitz Books opens its Liege Waffle Café

It was a year ago when Fitz Books opened in downtown Buffalo. At the time, owner Aaron Bartley said that Phase I was the books, and Phase II was the waffles. Now that Fitz Books is celebrating its one year anniversary, Bartley is launching the waffle component of the business, while hosting a storewide book sale, starting on Friday, October 15.

Now, if you think that Bartley is simply serving up your average waffles, then you don’t know the man. Per usual, he’s cooked up a plan to offer a super unique recipe, which, he told me, has Belgian roots. It’s called a Liege waffle – a waffle that has a lighter batter, larger squares, and deeper pockets than its American counterpart. 

The Liege waffle is a variant of the Belgian waffle.

Not only did Bartley purchase a special waffle iron from Belgium, he’s also making scratch dough at the kitchen at Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP). Then he prepares the waffles to-order at the bookstore.

Photo courtesy Fitz Books & Waffles

“It’s a yeasted waffle with a dough texture, not a batter texture,” Bartley explained. “I first came across this type of waffle 12 years ago in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the public market. I never tasted one of that kind before… I was struck by it. When I got into books, I knew that I needed something that was simple enough to prepare without a full kitchen, or waste product. It’s considered street food in Belgium.”

Three defining characteristics of Liege waffles: Belgian sugar pearls, which caramelize deliciously when cooked at the right temperature; yeast; and a brioche-like texture.

The Fall Book Sale is being held in the space next to Fitz Books at 433 Ellicott Street. Bartley told me that 3000 books will be for sale for $1 each, which means that this will be the perfect time for bookworms to build up their libraries… and fill up their stomachs at the same time.

Fitz Books & Waffles | 433 Ellicott Street | Buffalo NY | (716) 249-0523 | Facebook | Instagram


Spots to Chow Down Within Ten Minutes of KeyBank Center

One of the great things about the Downtown Buffalo are the events taking place nearly every day. From concerts to theatre, and now, with the Sabres back on the ice and fans back in the stands, it’s a plus that KeyBank Center is located in the heart of the city. That means some of Buffalo’s best bars and restaurants are just a short walk away – within a 10-minute walk to be precise! When Downtown Buffalo is rocking with action in the arena, there’s plenty of food and drink options for fans of every taste.

Now, to make the most of your night, you’re going to need a plan of attack. So before the puck drops, make sure you consult this handy guide for the best places to eat just a short jaunt away from KeyBank Center:

Photo by Southern Tier Brewing Co.

Southern Tier Brewing Co., 7 Scott St.

The brand-new taproom of Southern Tier brewing will provide a full tasting room experience to the people of Buffalo featuring the beers you’ve come to love. The 38-foot feature screen and 70+ TVs ensure there’s not a bad seat in the house. Watch all the sports you can handle while you eat and then head into KeyBank Center right next door!

Hofbrauhaus Buffalo, 190 Scott St.

It’s Oktoberfest everyday at Hofbrauhaus Buffalo. Before the game, stop by for authentic German cuisine and a stein of cold beer. After the game, pop back in for live music and lots of entertainment… and lederhosen.

Swannie House, 170 Ohio St.

This is one of the oldest and most revered bars in all of Buffalo. Opened in 1868, the Swannie House has obviously been doing something right. This is the spot to grab a blue-collar beer and pub-style grub including legendary wings and fish fry.

The Rose Bar and Grill, 199 Scott St.

At The Rose, located inside the Fairmont Creamery Building, their motto is “a friendly place in downtown Buffalo.” The staff will provide you with good food and drinks in a fun, friendly atmosphere. Check out their menu of quick handheld eats to belly-filling meals.

Pearl Street Grill & Brewery

Pearl Street, 76 Pearl St.

Enjoy a view with your meal from this 4-story restaurant and make fast friends with a 180 oz. Annihilator beer tube and enough glasses to share.

Buffalo Iron Works, 49 Illinois St.

While the food from Iron Works is currently on pause, you can still enjoy grab a post-game victory beverage at the bar. More than likely, you’ll catch a great live show in the process!

Lockhouse Distillery, 41 Columbia St.

The walls are covered in Instagram-worthy art at the first distillery to open in Buffalo since Prohibition. Take an impromptu tour or sample the goods with a craft cocktail made by the city’s friendliest bartenders.

Pizza Plant, 125 Main St.

Home of the massive stuffed pizza pod, this longtime Williamsville pizzeria opened a waterfront location at Canalside a few years ago. Plus, they’ve got a killer craft beer menu, too.

Photo by Ballyhoo

Ballyhoo, 211 South Park Ave.

Corner bar meets fancy cocktails at this well-known spot behind the KeyBank Center. Ballyhoo puts a unique spin on sausage with home made creations that include Korean short rib and Chorizo pork and vegetarian friendly options. Heads up: order the ice cream sandwich!

Cobblestone, 130 South Park Ave.

Don’t sleep on Cobblestone’s wings. This is one of those wing joints that you’ll hear the locals talking about. Their menu also stocks another Buffalo favorite, beef on weck, along with wood-fired pizza and several soup and salad options.

Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, 1 Fulton St.

You’ve got your pick of the litter when you step inside the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino where you can get a juicy steak at The WD Bar & Grille, fresh salads at The Creek and tasty beverages at Stixx Sports Bar.

Union Pub, 38 Swan St.

Union Pub serves pub-style grub and drinks right across the street from Sahlen Field. The building was constructed in 1864 as a livery stable, and has been home to a number of uses since then including serving as a union hall for steelworkers who helped build the Ellicott Square Building, located just across Washington Street from the bar.

Photo by SATO Brewpub

SATO Brewpub, 110 Pearl St.

One of the newest breweries on the Buffalo block, this Japanese-style izakaya is located in the lower level of the historic Dun building and serves up small shareable Asian fare along with fun and deliciously crafted brews.

Panorama on Seven, 95 Main St.

On the seventh floor of LECOM HarborCenter, lies an upscale restaurant with spectacular views of Downtown Buffalo, Canalside and the Buffalo River. Pony up to the bar for a freshly shaken cocktail and shareable plates.

Tim Horton’s, 1 Scott St.

Although this coffee shop is Canadian-born, Buffalo has adopted Tim Horton’s as one of its own. And this location, located in LECOM HarborCenter, is an ode to the legendary hockey player from which this institution gets its name.

The post Spots to Chow Down Within Ten Minutes of KeyBank Center appeared first on Visit Buffalo Niagara.


Terry Fisher’s Miniature ‘Figures of Mystery, Horror & Imagination’ @ Central Library

Terry Fisher, president Full Circle Studios, who is typically known for his videographic creative work, is now participating in a one-man exhibit that involves the creation of miniature artworks pertaining to the themes of horror, mystery, and imagination.

Attention to detail

Like many children of the 50’s & 60’s, I was captivated by electric trains (still have them), movies (Ray Harryhausen & Famous Monsters of Filmland), and modeling making,” said Fisher. “My cousins would bring their birthday and Christmas gifts of airplanes, ships, tanks, knights, etc. to me to build and paint. Those interests led to a theatre degree, then to a media design masters, to teaching film & video at Fredonia, Brockport and Canisius, and then into the business world for the last twenty years at Full Circle Studios. 

Fisher’s studio

“The miniatures are made from cardboard, plaster, clay, found objects, plastic model parts, paints of all kinds, organic and mineral materials, cloth, fur, and whatever works. This exhibit focuses on Mystery, Horror, and Imagination (as it’s October and Halloween approaches). The Central Library was very enthusiastic about making this happen.”

“Terry Fisher’s very detailed models of scenes from classic horror books and movies are a fun, creative offering at this time of year, in the spirit of Halloween,” stated Library Interim Director Jeannine Doyle. “This new display is another reason to stop in at the downtown Central Library right now, where we also are featuring B is for Book showcasing everyone’s favorite children’s books as well as Audubon’s Quadrupeds illustrations and our Erie County Bicentennial display.”

One of Terry’s miniature creations is of “High Hat,” a legendary creature that author, researcher, and supernatural historian Mason Winfield has previously written upon, saying:

High Hat is a swamp dweller, a cannibalistic giant never ranging far from his plashy haunts. He’s a tall creature with a stove pipe chapeau and white gloves. From his descriptions, he looks like Uncle Sam, or the archetypal image of a White undertaker (tall, craggy, lank, and funky-hatted). Most troubling is High Hat’s appetite for human flesh. The [Six Nations] people who lived near his stomping grounds hung hunks of meat in the trees so he wouldn’t dine on livestock or children. [High Hat was known as one of the] supernatural beings of the Seneca lands.

– Selection from Winfield’s book Shadows of the Western Door (1997)

High Hat, along with a number of other creepy and spooky miniature creations are all currently on display at the downtown Library. The display is on the Library’s main floor, next to the Launch Pad and café, through November 15. The exhibit is open to the public and always free during Library operating hours.

Buffalo & Erie County Public Library | 1 Lafayette Square | Buffalo, NY  14203


Convention Center will get a steel clad and polycarbonate facelift.

Earlier this week Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced that the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center would be getting a facade makeover. This announcement comes at a time when there are mixed sentiments regarding the future of the Convention Center – in particular, whether there is a clear need for a new facility to be built elsewhere, or a need for a complete overhaul at its current location.

Façade and entryway work on the building is projected to begin in February 2022 and be complete by December 2022.

Developer Mark Croce was always in favor of connecting the Convention Center to Statler City. More recently, developer Rocco Termini has been weighing in, calling for a new Bills stadium to be built in downtown Buffalo, along with a new Convention Center. In Termini’s eyes, the relocation of the Convention Center would also free up valuable space in the heart of downtown that is blocking the city’s ‘chi.’ Back in 2018, Termini envisioned a Central Park in place of the current Convention Center. A slightly altered version of that concept would see the partial freeing up of Ellicott’s radial street grid.

A number of other ideas and possible plans have been bandied about over the years: M&T Bank lot, Delaware Avenue, Cobblestone District, … and even Rachacha weighed in on the issue back in 2018.

But for now, it looks like the plan is to put a hold on any potential development or relocation ideas, to spiff up the exterior of the Convention Center.

In a flurry of Tweets, Poloncarz said,” Today, I am proud to reveal the new façade design for the @BFLOconvention. This design incorporates steel cladding and a polycarbonate face that can be backlit using LED lighting to any color. The steel blue panels are a nod to our beautiful waterfront. 

“In addition to the new façade design, the entrances will be enhanced by providing more spaces for entry, new wayfinding signage, and additional lighting to eliminate the dark feeling of today.

“Unlike the current 1970s era façade, that hurts our ability to attract conferences, the new façade will be a attractive sight for visitors and prove that Buffalo is truly back. Thank you to @BuffaloNiagara for offering your convention expertise towards the design concept.”

The facade makeover follows a recent investment of $1.2 million in Convention Center lobby improvements, including new flooring, lighting, technology. The project got underway this past June, and is now complete.

“These improvements make the Convention Center much warmer and more welcoming for visitors, creating brightly-lit and accessible spaces that will aid in the flow of large events and assist visitors in finding their way around the building.  The next step will involve a much-needed renovation of the Convention Center’s Franklin Street façade and entryway, vastly improving the exterior and lighting the way to a new future for tourism in downtown Buffalo,” said Poloncarz. “As we build our economy back we will be welcoming more and more tourist groups, conventions and trade shows so it is important that we maintain and enhance this facility to provide the best possible experience here in Erie County. These renovations do that and I thank our Department of Public Works and our contractors for getting the project done on such a short timeline.”

“The improvements being made in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center by Erie County will ensure that the meetings, conventions and events industry be positioned for a strong recovery,” added VBN President & CEO Patrick Kaler. “The County’s leadership has taken the constructive feedback from the center’s customers and put the recourses into capital projects to retain current and generate new business.”

Poloncarz also said he has been in touch with the Albright-Knox about the possibility of adding murals to the rear of the Convention Center, which faces Pearl Street.

Both the completed lobby project and the upcoming façade/entryway work are funded through the county’s capital projects fund and the RENEW Plan.

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