The 2021 Holiday Shopping Guide is a unique blend of independently owned and operated businesses in a variety of industries, such as retail, food, dining, arts, non-profit, and more, all designed to encourage WNY residents to #shoplocal. Sponsored by Visit Buffalo Niagara and Erie County, the 2021 guide will explore all the unique shopping districts that Erie County has to offer. To view this year’s full holiday shopping guide, click here!
The area known as Larkinville – a collection of businesses and public spaces centered along Seneca Street southeast of downtown Buffalo– is one of the city’s most impressive transformations. Formerly empty warehouses and vacant parcels are now home to weekly concerts, food truck rodeos, beer gardens, breweries and distilleries.
Opened in June 2012, Larkin Square is located in the center of Larkinville, the site of the former Larkin Soap Company warehouse buildings. Owned and operated by Larkin Development Group, this public space provides a backdrop of colorful furniture amongst whimsical architecture, where community gatherings are filled with food, music and fun. Guests are invited to relax in the square or play a game of pickleball.
The square comes alive with fun, family-friendly community events including Food Truck Tuesday, KeyBank Live at Larkin concerts, Larkinville Block Parties and the Larkin Square Author Series. Be sure to follow their social media to keep abreast of everything that they have planned. In fact, this Thursday, December 2, Larkin Square will be hosting their annual Holiday Market! Twenty-five vendors are scheduled to participate in this unique holiday shopping event bringing a wide variety of gift ideas and handcrafted products.
The Hydraulic Hearth Restaurant and Brewery, located in the historic Larkin District, is a happy hour and dinner destination. Their menu is focused on brick oven pizzas and shareable starters, complemented by beers brewed in house by Community Beer Works. In the summer, they have one of the best patios in Buffalo, and WNY. In the winter, enjoy their casual and comfortable inside dining area and bar.
Hydraulic Hearth has a pizza oven that’s been imported from Italy. There’s a giant spinning stone inside that rotates the pizzas, cooking them in a mere two minutes and 40 seconds each. Pizza chef Rick Gazzo trained for two weeks in NYC, learning the ropes on how to make perfect pizzas. The dough is made in-house, and so is the cheese. Rick’s favorite pizza is the carbonara with house made pancetta. He also noted that the special was pretty darn good – shrimp and brown sugar chipotle bacon. The menu featured bourbon wings, cheese fondue Swedish meatballs and a few more non-pizza options.
In addition to their amazing food, Hydraulic Hearth also houses (716) GAL-LERY, Buffalo’s smallest art gallery. (716) GAL-LERY is housed inside a 1950’s wooden phone booth re-purposed into a contemporary art gallery. Exhibitions include the use of a vintage payphone which has been re-purposed to be incorporated into the exhibitions through the use of audio and video. Old meets new in technology as the payphone is equipped with a usb port so Gallery visitors may charge their cell phones! The Gallery Gift Shop is a sticker machine filled with artist designed stickers and tattoos. 50 cents buys a portfolio of small art! The Gallery education department houses artist designed coloring and activity pages for young and young-at-heart patrons. The Gallery is being programmed by two Buffalo Artists: A.J. Fries and Leslie Zemsky.
If you are looking for a great night out or a break from your holiday shopping, we highly recommend a visit to Hydraulic Hearth!
From the late 1800s to the end of the first World War, Buffalo’s Belt Line made moving around Buffalo a welcome part of everyday life. Working dutifully hard as both a freight and commuter rail service, the line had 19 commuter stations supporting nearly two dozen trains per day. A trip cost 5 cents, a beer not much more.
Brewery owners Christina Braun, Mark Boccabella, and Matthew Myers have done a fine job with the buildout, and have incorporated a lot of historic imagery into the layout, which helps to tell the tale of the district, and Buffalo’s Belt Line. The tasting room features flat screen TVs, a brewery gift shop, and garage doors that will open to the street during warmer months.
Their menu offers a great selection of juicy, delicious burgers, crispy wings, pomme frites and sausage and dogs. They also offer a great “late night” menu featuring dino nuggs, mac and cheese bites, popcorn shrimp, jalapeno poppers and more! Looking for a great gift for that beer drinker in your life, grab a rotating 4 pack of freshly brewed signature Belt Line beer. Each canning is done with a limited production run, so stock up on your favorites before they run out. If you like something they have on tap, you can get a crowler to go, canned fresh while you wait! You can use your Shop 716 gift card here too!
The Swan Street Diner is an example of one of the early Sterling Company diner cars made by the J.B. Judkins Company of Merrimac, Mass. The company fabricated diner cars, each numbered upon completion, from 1936 to 1942. The Swan Street Diner is No. 397 and was manufactured in 1937.
The Swan Street Diner car was originally operated as the Newark Diner, located in Newark, N.Y., (near Rochester, N.Y.). It arrived in pieces in 1937 and was assembled on site. The proximity to the Erie Canal and Route 31 provided a steady pool of customers. The Diner has had three previous owners: original owner Paul Scolfield, John Reynolds, and Jim McBride, who operated it for 27 years until 2013, when the Larkin Development Group purchased it. The Diner was transported to Akron, Ohio and then back to Buffalo for a full restoration. The interior enamel panels, bar stools and wood trim are all original. The booths have been newly fabricated in the former footprint of the Newark Diner booths. The counter has been rebuilt according to the original glass top design.
The Swan Street Diner offers all the style and nostalgia of a 1950’s – 1960’s diner from New York, Chicago, Kansas City or Detroit. Vibrant colors, sleek lines and a carefully appointed interior make for enjoyable surroundings while you sample their menu. But the comparison to old school diner food really stops there because, aside from similarity in the ‘naming’ of menu items – this is no sloppy, choke and puke diner. A lot of consideration went into elevating some very basic dishes (eggs, burgers, flapjacks, biscuits and gravy) to a more contemporary, and tastier, level.
This is a great place to stop for breakfast or lunch while you are out doing your holiday shopping! You’ll find nostalgic menu items with contemporary flavor profiles and leave with a full belly!
For twenty years, Flying Bison has been keeping the local brews flowing in Buffalo. Flying Bison Brewing Company is a packaging brewery located in the city of Buffalo, and the first stand alone brewery to operate in the city proper since Iroquois Brewing closed its doors in 1972. An award-winning brewer with over 30 years experience, owner Tim Herzog made a strong commitment from the inception of this company as merely an idea to establish Flying Bison Brewing Company in the City of Buffalo and foster the return of what was once a flourishing industry. It’s this commitment that has carried the way for the brewery to become what it is today.
Their flagship beers Rusty Chain, a vienna style beer, 716 IPA, a Buffalo-style India Pale Ale, Larkin Lager, a pilsner lager, their Irish-style red ale Aviator Red and others are available year round Flying Bison also enjoys brewing all sorts of different styles of beer. One-off’s and smaller batches are how they have some fun around the brewery. Some of them are only available on draft, some in bottles and some in both. These styles are not always available and some disappear very quickly but they’re all delicious!
In fact, they have a special Spiced Christmas Ale as well as a Hazy Holiday IPA that’s available as part of their Liquid Christmas Card variety 4pk. If you are looking for a great and unique gift for the beer drinker in your life, a trip to Flying Bison Brewing Co. is definitely in order. They even offer tours of their brewery. While you’re there, be sure to check out the Flight Gallery, which is a mini-gallery located inside Flying Bison Brewing Company. They aim to make art accessible to a wider audience, while showcasing the talent of our local Buffalo artists. If you see a piece you like, you can inquire about purchasing it for the art lover in your life. Whether you are stopping in for a quick drink or to pick up something to take to a holiday party or as a gift, you can use your Shop 716 gift card here!
Dobutsu, (pronounced doe-boot-sue) is a casual American Pacific restaurant in the beautiful 500 Seneca building in downtown Buffalo, NY. Dobutsu specializes in Asian influenced comfort foods, globally sourced fresh fish and shellfish, traditional noodle dishes, Hawaiian poke and rice bowls, fresh salads and vegetable preparations, and a rotating selection of their favorite street foods. Their a la carte offerings range from small plate snacks and appetizers to grilled steaks and seafood, all the way to their popular tasting menu offering, the Omakase, a chef’s choice tour of their nightly offerings.
Their beverage program supports their identity with scratch classic and original cocktails that are presented with the technique, precision, balance and humility that they are known for at their sister restaurant, Toutant. A library of bourbon, rye, scotch and Japanese whiskey, as well as light spirits from around the world, are on full display in their beautiful bar nightly. Draft and packaged beer offerings focus on local and craft examples of quality. Their wine program includes local and regional offerings, global old world and new world selections, all with focus on cuisine specific pairings, and is carefully curated to Dobutsu’s ethos of quality and value.
Whether you are looking for a nice night out or want to celebrate a special occasion, we recommend making a reservation at Dobutsu! Gift cards make the perfect gift too!
By now, you’re probably familiar with the kombucha phenomenon. Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been showing up on the shelves of health food markets and juice shops over the last few years. Only recently did anyone think about brewing kombucha in Buffalo, but now there are a couple of brewers floating around town. One of those brewers is Snowy Owl Kombucha.
Owners Anna Bystran and Tara Sasiadek have touted the numerous benefits one can reap from drinking kombucha, from the probiotics that help your body build a fortuitous microbiome and promote healthy digestion, to the vitamin B and acetic acid that help fight inflammation. Plus, it can offer a healthier energy boost than drinking a cup of coffee would. The owners at Snowy Owl love experimenting with new flavors and utilizing local products in their brews – like the Tart Cherry Vanilla flavor that features tart cherry concentrate from Singer Farms in Niagara County. Building relationships with local growers and makers is important to them, since they want to provide a product that’s fresh.
Kombucha is the perfect gift for anyone who is health conscious! Current flavors on tap include rose lychee, strawberry elderflower, earl grey creamsicle and more. Their website also features some tasty recipes that you can try with your favorite kombucha flavor! They also make some great teas! They offer a variety of options for the kombucha, which includes their share service, which includes one (or more) Snowy Owl Kombucha 32oz growler and a punch card good for 4 pickups. This means you can come on 4 Saturdays of your choice to fill your bottle with any flavor you choose!
Have you picked up your Shop 716 eGift Card yet? For a limited time, when you buy one for $25 or more, you get an Erie County sponsored bonus $25 eGift Card. Support local and get rewarded for it – buy yours today and view the full list of participating businesses here: https://amherst.org/shop716/
Support your local restaurants, retailers and attractions. Keep your hard earned money, right here where you live. By doing so, you keep your friends and family employed and create more local jobs. Shopping local conserves energy and resources and is better for the environment!
WNY is our home & we can show the #Buffalove we have by shopping and supporting our local businesses. The Shop 716 initiative is to be a champion of all business, supporting the shop/support local themes; to develop business unity and camaraderie to uplift our entire region.