Buffalo, Beer and Pot Roast


So, I rolled into Buffalo, N.Y., around 6:30 p.m. this evening, checked into my hotel, then looked for some action with fellow attendees of the Congress for the New Urbanism. I ran into fellow Richmonder Andy Boenau during a guided tour of the city’s historical canal district, we got hungry and we decided to get something to eat. Not knowing diddly squat about the local culinary scene — other than the fact, according to my taxi driver, that “Buffalo wild wings” originated in the city of Buffalo — we stopped in the first interesting restaurant we saw: the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery. The original structure was built in 1841. Brick walls, wooden floors, lots of rooms, lots of atmosphere — like Richmond’s Tobacco Company, but with a big patio out back. The outdoor scenery left something to be desired — we overlooked a lot of freeways and ugly boxy buildings — but the sun was setting, which bathed the city in a warm glow, so we didn’t care. The beer probably helped.

Speaking of beer… On the way to our seats, we encountered the guys in the photo above, who had a giant container of beer — billed as “The Annihilator” — set on their table. The container had little taps so everyone could pour their own suds. Now, that’s something we could use in Richmond! I’m surprised this innovation hasn’t gone universal.

Buffalo is serious about beer. According to Mayor Byron Brown Labatt Brewing Company relocated its headquarters because western New York consumes more of its beer than any other region — little surprise, given that the bars are not required to close until 4:00 p.m. — and the city is home to numerous boutique breweries. Not only do the inhabitants imbibe vast quantities of brew, they soak their pot roast in it. I ate the pot roast for dinner. Yum. Very tender and tasty.

First impression: Buffalo is a fun city. It could use some work in the downtown revitalization department — more details tomorrow morning — but it’s a fun city.

Update: Bingo! I nailed it. The day after I posted this item, WalletHub ranked Buffalo as the No. 1 Best metro in the country go on a “staycation” based on access to recreation and activities, food and entertainment, rest & relaxation and weather. That’s what you’d expect from a city that gave the world Buffalo Wild Wings and 180-ounce servings of beer!


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5 responses to “Buffalo, Beer and Pot Roast”

  1. larryg Avatar

    re: freeways = Robert Moses – the father of the idea of running freeways into and through cities..

    and: State will rip out Robert Moses Parkway in Niagara Falls


    Moses opposed “stroads” also but his cure was to turn them into truly limited access turnpikes…

  2. larryg Avatar

    which makes Buffalo sort of an odd choice for a conference on conservative/libertarian Smart Growth in the first place!

    There is also some very serious whitewater below the falls in the gorge. You can take a jet boat from where the Niagara goes into Lake Ontario up though the rapids – it’s a WILD RIDE:


  3. chris bonney Avatar
    chris bonney

    My sister’s lived in Buffalo for over fifty years. Her late father-in-law spent his whole career with one what used to be dozens of local breweries. Downtown Buffalo has certainly had its travails, and it’s still not keeping pace in terms of innovative new businesses. But at least they didn’t knock down everything. Do there’s lot of space available downtown, lots of interesting ethnic diversity and a busy historic preservation movement. The story behind the windmills along the lakefront is disappointing. There are terrific parks and great art institutions. The Buffalo Symphony shares a conductor with Norfolk. There are nice neighborhoods in the city and suburbs, good schools and colleges and affordable housing and reasonable costs of living. You have to learn to embrace winter sports and activities. If you can do that, Buffalo’s very nice. Like a lot of the north, there’s a strong drinking culture that I always find a little surprising. But I guess that’s what you do if it’s too cold to stay out and do something else.

    1. The native Buffalonians (as they style themselves) are very friendly. The son of one fellow I met tonight is a bartender. He told some amazing stories about the local proclivity for beer!

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