Sponsored by: 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!
University Heights is Buffalo’s college corridor, a strip of restaurants, bars and small shops that cater to the community at the University at Buffalo’s South Campus. And it feels just as eclectic and diverse as the nearby student body. You’ll find Buffalo’s finest Chinese restaurant – Ming Café – near Englewood Avenue. Next door, Sato Ramen is often mobbed by students and locals for its tasty and affordable fare. There’s Indian at Tandoori Hut, the best of New Orleans cuisine at Shango, classic diner fare at Lake Effect Diner, vegan and vegetarian options at Amy’s Place and, perhaps best of all, hot fudge sundaes at one of Buffalo’s historic ice cream parlors, Parkside Candy. It’s almost enough to make you want to go back to school.
We are living in a golden age of all things comics. Now before anyone jumps down my throat, I realize the Golden age of comics was 1938-1956 because it saw the birth of the modern superhero, heroes like Superman, Batman, Captain America and Wonder Woman. What I mean by Golden Age of all things comics is over the past decade we have seen the emergence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, independent comics developed into tv series like The Walking Dead, Sweet Tooth and more and a strong television presence by DC Comics (don’t get me started on their film universe). The popularity of cons, like San Diego Comic Con, NY Comic Con, Fan Expo and Buffalo Comic, celebrating all things comics and comic adjacent properties has exploded in the national zeitgeist. Comics are a great way to get kids interested in reading and oftentimes tackle things that society is still trying to make sense of. In Buffalo we are lucky to have a store like Queen City Bookstore that celebrates all things comics!
Founded in 1969 by Emil. Joseph Nowak and now run by his son Emil J. Nowak and his grandson Emil Jr. Queen City Comics is a Buffalo landmark. Every time I have gone in to purchase some of my favorite books, Emil is always there to greet customers and offer his sage advice on what books are good or just chat. It doesn’t matter whether I go weekly or it’s been a couple years, he always recognizes me and engages me in great conversation. His knowledge is practically encyclopedic. In addition to Buffalo ComicCon, they host “Free Comic Book Day,” when publishers in the industry offer free issues of some of their books. It’s a huge event drawing people from all over the area, with special sales and discounts and cosplayers. The next one is slated to take place May 7, 2022.
In addition to a huge selection of weekly releases from both major and independent comic publishers, they have a nice selection of back issues, graphic novels, statues of your favorite heroes or villains, t-shirts and more. If they don’t have what you are looking for, there’s a good chance Emil and his team know where you can find it. Be sure to check out their website or social media for a list of weekly titles. Whether you are looking to add to your collection, looking to pick up a gift or are new to comics, Queen City Bookstore is the place to go!
In the measured count of time, it is only a short period since the destinies of George Kaiser and his wife were molded by a vision back in 1919. Man and wife, they were building their hopes for the future on a modest candy store. It may have been the irresistible homemade candies, or it may have been the warm hospitality that brought so many lovers of sweets to the first Parkside Candy Shoppe, at Main Street and Oakwood Avenue in Buffalo, NY. Many came, few chairs were empty.
In 1927, a modern building, classic in design, was built at the corner of Main Street and Winspear Avenue. The oval interior of the store and dining area was designed by Buffalo architect Morton Wolfe, finished in the style of the Adam’s period. Still today, the interior features a beautiful solid walnut soda fountain, tables, and candy cases. In the center of the store are the original three light fixtures which not only help light the store, but also assist in the heating and cooling. In the rear of the store, there sits a romantic booth where a number of marriage proposals have been made. On the backside wall, the original Kaiser Family farm picture still hangs. The interior and exterior of the store was recently refurbished in 2017, and was recognized by the Federal Government and New York State as a National Historic Landmark.
In 1981, Philip Buffamonte purchased Parkside Candy from the George Kaiser Estate, and a new-era began with the expansion to its current retail locations. Today, the Parkside Factory manufactures a complete line of delicious chocolates along with other sweet treats. Its three most popular products, Sponge Candy, Lollipops, and Taffy are sold wholesale throughout the Northeastern United States. If you travel to Lake George, Cape Cod and the Jersey Shore, you will find these items in many amusement parks, fudge shops, and candy stores. At Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter, the Parkside Factory gears itself to the production of seasonal candies packaged for the corresponding holiday season.
Parkside Candy offers a wide variety of gift box options so you can ensure that you get your favorites. They make the perfect stocking stuffer or gift for your sweetheart.
During my college days, I used to live in the University Heights neighborhood. I rented a house on Heath St. with some very good friends. One place that we visited regularly was Amy’s Place. Amy’s Place is as much a part of the lifeblood of the University Heights neighborhood as Queen City Bookstore and Parkside Candies. This is a quintessential diner in the University District – one that UB students have come to rely on over the years.
It’s very existence came into jeopardy last year when it was announced that unless a new buyer was found, they would close. Thankfully a buyer was found and the restaurant opened under new ownership in June. Since then they have adjusted and amended their menu but still offer some delicious food.
Amy’s Place exclusively serves vegetarian and vegan food, breakfast, lunch and dinner. They strive to support and improve our local community by using local products when possible, displaying local art, composting and recycling, and simply letting people hang flyers promoting their own events. If you are looking for a great place to eat while you shop in the area, we can’t recommend Amy’s Place enough!
Inspired by the soulful cuisine of New Orleans, Shango Bistro and Wine Bar strives to awaken the senses through Chef Jim Guarino’s culinary creations, a Wine Spectator-awarded wine list 170 bottles strong, and their eclectic, carefully hand-selected beer menu. Shango embodies the spirit of a true neighborhood bistro — offering a light, fun atmosphere paired with serious food and drink
Food lovers in Buffalo have come to know and love Shango Bistro & Wine Bar. Over the years, the establishment has managed to create and maintain a devoted clientele. This really is no small feat in the fickle restaurant industry, where many doors seem to close just as fast as they open.
Shango consistently puts out great food. Food, you can count on, sure, but just as important, the owners and staff create an experience where customers are treated to excellent food and affordable prices. It’s the little things that keep customers coming back. And Shango Bistro & Wine Bar seems to have figured out the perfect balance of food and drink for customers who are looking for deliciously good deals during the day, and at prime time. If you are looking for a great place to grab a bite to eat while you are out shopping for the holidays, be sure to check out Shango! They also offer gift certificates, which are the perfect stocking stuffer!
O’Connell’s, established in 1959, is a family owned and operated traditional clothier offering mens, womens, and young mens clothing. Through the years, the Huber family has established a loyal clientele by providing uncompromising quality, unquestionable value, and exceptional service. We are proud to carry merchandise made in the USA, Canada, and the UK (United Kingdom). At O’Connell’s you’ll discover hard to find items such as our time-honored three button natural shouldered sportcoats and suits.
The store offers high quality, private label clothing, which means a majority of the items are designed and carried solely by O’Connell’s. The goods are all made in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland, with most brands exclusive to Western New York. After several successful years of carrying designer menswear, O’Connell’s expanded their brand to include offerings for boys and women’s wear. What it is
that makes clothing exceptional is not just the design aesthetic, but also the quality of the tailoring and manufacturing of the garment. At O’Connell’s, their clothing and accessories are pieces you buy to treat yourself or others to something that will make them look and feel like a million bucks. After all, that is what fashion is really all about – showcasing yourself in a confident way. And this boutique will do just that through their offerings of beautiful and unique clothing and accessories that will last for years to come.
In addition to their selection of clothes, they also offer free alterations, custom suits, sportcoats, and topcoats, custom dress shirts, custom and ready-to-wear formalwear, agent for Barbour jacket restoration and expert and experienced staff prepared to assist with all your wardrobe inquiries. Not sure what to get, they also offer gift certificates.
There was a time when supper clubs were all the rage in Buffalo. A time when you could get dressed up and go out to dinner, and catch some amazing live music – jazz and R&B in particular. Thanks to the opening of Luxor Steak & Lobster, those “good old days” are back. Owner operators Tara Funderburg and her fiancé Taru Woods have taken their complete “date night” wish list and thrown it all together, thus creating a restaurant that has an atmospheric dining experience that rivals the best of them.
Inspired by a passion for different cultures, Luxor Steak & Lobster has a vast menu of culinary delights, utilizing the freshest ingredients to bring homemade dishes straight to your table. The Luxor Burger is their signature dish. Apparently Taru wanted a giant hamburger and a lobster tail, and he wanted it all in one dish. Their menu offers Lollipop lamb chops, seasoned with butter sauce, pasta, vegan entries and of course, steak and lobster! If you are looking for a nice place to eat or to celebrate a special occasion, we recommend checking out Luxor Steak and Lobster! They also offer gift certificates!
Have you picked up your Shop 716 eGift Card yet? Gift cards are still available while supplies last! Promotional gift cards must be used by December 30, 2021. Support local – 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.