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Festivals

The final weekend before Christmas is actually pretty calm in terms of events, likely because organizers understand how Buffalonians are occupied with last-minute preparations. This weekend's highlights are filled with holiday sentiment, featuring caroling, a family-friendly play at Shea's and a chance to support a local business that's fallen on unexpected hard times. …

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The tree is trimmed, the lights are dimmed, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and you and yours are nestled around a warm, roaring fire. But before you settle in for a long winter’s nap, you reach for a nightcap to enjoy in front of the fireplace. But what to fill your glass with? Port wine? Peaty scotch? Bourbon neat? If you’ve read any of my columns, th…

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When seeking out Buffalo’s hidden food gems, it’s important to remember that first impressions can be deceiving. The entrance to Shawarma City isn’t exactly one that inspires hope. It’s tucked between a convenience store and a Chinese takeout that make up the three-business building at the corner of Niagara Falls Boulevard and Longmeadow Road. Walking in, the clean but …

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Next to the sprawling parking lots of event-giant Buffalo RiverWorks is a new coffee shop that intersects faith, charity and history. Wonder Coffeehouse held its soft opening Dec. 18, with co-owners Joe and Kate Vacanti welcoming customers to 323 Ganson St. – which had previously been considered for demolition – for coffee, snacks and community. The Buffalo natives a…

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One of the salient pleasures of exploring cuisine is the sensation of travel it affords. My budget may not allow for a deluxe nine-day cruise of the Far East, but I can walk into any of the restaurants around the University at Buffalo’s Amherst campus focused on Chinese nationals and find a cheap ticket out of my surroundings. Looking at a plate full of alien sustena…

Buffalo

Restaurants, food trucks and wineries still have time to apply to participate in the annual Taste of Buffalo summer food festival, Tops Markets announced Monday. The application deadline is Jan. 31. Applications can be completed online at www.tasteofbuffalo.com/apply. The 2020 Taste of Buffalo festival is scheduled to take place July 11-12, along Delaware Avenue a…

Food and Drink

The 10 days before Christmas are always a whirlwind. Frantic shopping, holiday plans to keep straight and work to wrap up, all in the backdrop of Buffalo Bills fever this year. Clinching a playoff spot might make the next two weeks less stressful, but that calm is temporary. It's an exciting time to be a Buffalonian. Here is what's ahead for the event calendar spanning …

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Fresh Arabic Sweets might not be the actual name of the Syrian bakery newly opened at 560 Amherst St., across from Wegmans. But that's the only part of the sign in English, besides the name of the proprietor, Mohammed Altahla. Inside, I found fresh assorted baklava that was buttery, crisp and stuffed with pistachios at a bargain $7.99 a pound. (That's one pound in th…

Food and Drink

Lone Star Fajita Grill, for years a solitary outpost of Tex-Mex flavors in the Buffalo dining landscape, has apparently closed. "After 36 years we are closing in a couple of weeks. Thank you Buffalo" ownership posted on Dec. 2. On Dec. 13, the phone rang without answer at lunchtime. At the Hertel Parker Liquor Store next door, a person confirmed that the liquor st…

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Justin and Jen Hartman had long planned to move back to Buffalo from Manhattan, where Justin worked for seven years as a lawyer after graduating from University at Buffalo's School of Law. Both were raised in Buffalo suburbs and still had substantial family in the area, a chief reason for their inevitable return. During the couple's stay in New York City, the extended f…

Business

Sonic Drive-In franchisee Kevin DiPirro has signed a land lease with Uniland Development Co. to build a restaurant at the northwest corner of Hertel and Elmwood avenues. The roughly 3,500-square-foot store will have an indoor dining area with seating for about 85 people. It will also have drive-up and drive-thru service. It will be on land that was part of the same p…

Festivals

Neighborhoods, especially in developing cities, have life cycles. Difficult periods are often punctuated by moments of rebirth, with enduring progress followed by healthy stability before the cycle repeats. These phases are inexact, at times idealistic and narrative-driven, but the seasons are evident in Buffalo neighborhoods. Broadway-Fillmore, part of history-rich Pol…

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Niagara Falls stuffed-burger heavyweight Rock Burger may have only one location open, but considerable growth is in the works – including its first ventures into Erie County. Owner Jason Lizardo confirmed a licensing agreement for 2810 Union Road in Cheektowaga, near the William Street intersection. Brandon Markant, a Sanborn native, and Derrick Ferraro, Markant's child…

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Brian Nagy was a construction worker with a sideline in smoked meat catering when he saw a restaurant spot open up and decided to take his shot. He's opened up Yankee BBQ at 3379 Lake Shore Road, which was formerly Route 5 Seafood. "It's just been a passion of mine," Nagy said. "For years I've been doing barbecue, doing people's parties and stuff. The opportunity pop…