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Park it on Amherst Street

Make it a Valentine’s weekend trifecta—and park your car just once

Though Mother Nature is kindly holding those fluffy white flakes at bay, finding street parking in Buffalo during the winter months can still be a hassle.

Urban environments are notorious for their lack of parking lots and street parking spots. All too often the deciding factor for many non-urban dwellers deciding on driving into the deep, dark city to dine and shop is where to park.

The tried-and-true trick is getting the most out of the singular spot one finds. Scoring a free or metered street spot and being able to select from several unique and tasty venues within steps of the safely secured vehicle is key. Luckily, the city is stocked full of such streets with open spots and eclectic offerings.

One of the hottest streets in town during this most mild of winters is Amherst Street. With the opening and remodeling of several locally owned businesses, Amherst Street has been getting quite a bit of buzz. The majority businesses are just a snowball’s throw away from each other, and there is no metered parking on Amherst Street. Pick your spot, take a few steps, and open more than a few doors to some of the area’s most interesting venues.

One of the most notable storefronts on the street is Black Rock Kitchen and Bar (BRKB) (491 Amherst Street). This vibrant city eatery is a Goldman family affair. The Goldman name became synonymous with the Chippewa Strip revival in the 1980s, and the family has had continued success moving just a tad north of the Chippewa Strip—first to Allen Street and now to Amherst Street. BRKB unlocked its remodeled restaurant doors just six months ago, and the place is still hopping.

Chef Dunbar Burdine is kicking some amazing casual, contemporary American cuisine out of his kitchen seven nights a week. From small plates to sandwiches, his personal signature is on every dish. The full menu can be viewed online at, but it may be best to wait a few weeks before committing to the duck leg confit BLT. According to Charlie Goldman, one of the owners, the menu is about to get an overhaul.

BRKB recently opened for Sunday brunch, too, from 11am all the way up to the dinner hour of 5pm. Hungry patrons looking to cure their Sunday blues can take comfort in five-dollar mimosas and Bloody Marys.

If you happen to hit Amherst Street on a Tuesday, you will find John Allen, a staple of the Buffalo music scene, entertaining happy-hour drinkers and hungry diners with a smooth array of jazz standards.

The veteran among the street’s newcomers is Gallery 464 (464 Amherst Street). Marcus Wise, owner and curator, has been holding down the fort and watching the new businesses bloom in his neighborhood for three years.

Wise, a Western New York Native and a University at Buffalo graduate, first brought his work to Black Rock in December 2008. Answering a call on Craig’s List searching for artists to help fill a holiday artist market, Wise hung his work at 464 and never left.

His gallery is not, by any means, typical. Wise uses his modern space and his art world connections to speak for local artists whose voices might not always be heard. Through a website he conjured up years ago, Wise has created a forum where new, emerging artists can share information and join together to show their work. The gallery is the face of that creation. At any given time there are more than 100 local artists displaying and selling their art in the gallery. The media are as varied as the prices, and small surprises are tucked into little nooks and shelves.

Wise recognized some time ago that in order to drive patrons to his gallery, events were a necessity. The neighborhood’s residential element is simply not broad enough to support all of the growing businesses. Unlike other galleries, which may host just a few events each season, Wise opened his doors to more than 50 events last year alone. He admits that his approach may be unorthodox in the art community but it works for his gallery.

“The growth has been steady,” says Wise. “More and more people are coming through the doors everyday.”

His next event takes place on Friday, February 10, starting at 6pm. Aptly named Trinity, it is his three-year anniversary. The event will showcase dozens of local artists and is free and open to all that want to wander in. Complimentary food and beverage will be offered alongside the usual exhibits of local treasures. The show will run through February 22. Information on the gallery and all of Wise’s up-coming events can be found on his website:

On Sunday, February 12, Delish will serve its first (and hopefully annual) Valentine’s Sunday champagne brunch, 11am-2pm. On the menu: scallion waffles and Asian sesame chicken, breakfast bread pudding, sour cream coffee cake, cinnamon-sugar scones, and much more. The event is by reservation only.

And just when the trip to Amherst Street couldn’t seem any sweeter, take a few more steps west and open the doors to Delish.

Delish (414 Amherst Street) is also a newbie to the Black Rock neighborhood. Previously positioned on Elmwood Avenue, Delish made the bold move last summer and has been growing ever since.

Deb Clark, owner of Delish, is constantly creating and growing her edible enterprise. On Elmwood she featured phenonminal baked goods, quirky and creative retail items, and amazing cooking classes. Since her move south, she has spun breakfast and lunch into her luscious web of all things Delish.

Her sweet creations speak for themselves: Her fairy cakes (enormously large and elaborately decorated cupcakes) are beyond famous, and her cookies and dessert bars are second to none, but her carrot-ginger bisque soup is simply out of control.

Delish serves breakfast and lunch five days a week and the menu changes daily. Everything is homemade and falls straight into the category of comfort food. The prices are comfortable, too: Not a thing on the menu costs more than eight bucks. Follow Delish on Facebook to keep abreast of their daily offerings.

Cupcakes and grilled cheese aside, Clark really showcases her vast repertoire in her cooking classes. She offers classes ranging from “Hearty, Healthy Californian Cuisine” to “Cozy Winter Suppers with an Italian Twist.” Space for her classes is limited and those seats fill up fast. A listing of upcoming classes can be found at

Finally, as if she weren’t busy enough, Clark is also hosting what may be one of the area’s most unique Valentine’s Day events. Scallion waffles with Asian sesame chicken salad, anyone?

On Sunday, February 12, Delish will serve a lovely feast, its first (and hopefully annual) Valentine’s Sunday champagne brunch, 11am-2pm. The event is by reservation only due to the limited space.

Lunch at Delish, some art therapy at 464 Gallery, and a happy hour cocktail or two at BRKB makes for a fun-filled afternoon. Swinging by the bakery and grabbing some dessert to go, taking in the Trinity gallery event, and polishing off the evening with dinner across the street sounds smart as well. Picking up a few local art pieces from Wise, having Clark teach you her lasagana recipe, and letting Goldman finish off your evening with a nightcap works perfectly, too.

You pick the order of your evening. Enjoy what Amherst Street has to offer just steps away from that precious parking spot.

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