Let Them Eat Ramen
by Kathryn Krawczyk
The Wealthy College Student's Guide to Living Large in Buffalo
The broke college student stereotype has gone too far. Not all of us have to scrounge for free pizza at club meetings or clog our arteries with sodium-laden Ramen Noodles, but you wouldn’t guess that by looking at most publications. Today’s newspapers, magazines and websites only seem capable of teaching readers how to smuggle full meals out of the dining hall or clip coupons until they get carpal tunnel.
Here at Artvoice, we understand the plight of the wealthy student. We realize Buffalo is no New York City, and it may be hard to find high-quality places to spend your cash. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best and (coincidentally) most expensive places to shop, dine and stay in Buffalo.
To start things off, let’s make sure you aren’t dealing with that despicable dining hall any longer than you have to. Buffalo may be known for its chicken wings, but any classy college student knows better than to gorge on those greasy abominations. We’re just going to pretend that Buffalo is actually known for its steakhouses and spotlight those instead.
There’s no better restaurant to welcome you to Buffalo than the Buffalo Chophouse, located at 282 Franklin Street. The Chophouse isn’t just the area’s premier restaurant, it’s become an essential piece of the Buffalo dining experience. Drop off your car with complimentary valet parking, then head inside to enjoy Prime steaks and fresh seafood and a bottle of wine. Add side orders of mouthwatering vegetables (at the Chophouse, even vegetables are mouthwatering), and finish up your meal with one of nine exquisite desserts and a snifter of cognac. You and your date should easily be able to rack up a respectable $300 tab to brag about.
However, the Buffalo Chophouse isn’t the only place to get a good steak in the area; E.B. Green’s in the Hyatt Regency prides itself on being one of America’s top ten steakhouses. It offers traditional steak and seafood as well as a few unique dishes like its signature monkey bread. Be sure to sit in the bar area so you can experience the old time cabaret piano playing and singing of legendary Jackie Jocko.
As its name suggests, Black and Blue Steak and Crab offers a variety of steaks and seafoods at its restaurant at 5493 Sheridan Dr. But as good as the red meat may be, Black and Blue’s fish really sets it apart. The family running Black and Blue also owns a fishery in Florida, which is the source of all its seafood. Use their tracking website, bbfish.com, to see when, where, how, and by whom your fish was caught. Never settle for scallops with a shady past again.
There are plenty of other steakhouses to check out in Buffalo, including Salvatore’s Italian Gardens, BOSS, and Russell’s Steaks, Chops & More, winner of Best Steak in Artvoice’s 2015 Best of Buffalo poll.
Of course, Buffalo isn’t just a city of steakhouses. For a more delicate cuisine, visit Rue Franklin at 341 Franklin Street. This Buffalo staple has been serving up authentic French dishes since 1971 and recently won the Best of Buffalo award for best French Restaurant. While everything on its menu is exquisite, the best way to experience Rue Franklin is through “Oui Chef.” This $87, six course tasting menu is beautifully assembled by the Rue Franklin team, but is simply incomplete without the $50 wine pairing. Owner Corey Kley makes sure everything is up to his high standards, as he is a chef as well. To hear more from Kley, listen to the first episode of Artvoice’s new podcast.
If you find yourself craving sushi (and not just the crap they sell at Wegmans), there are two amazing choices right in the city. Seabar, located downtown at 475 Ellicott St, offers delicious sushi rolls like Crab Mango, Tiger-Eye, and Miso Caramel Crab. Of course, not everyone is classy enough to enjoy sushi, so if it’s early in the year and you’re still hanging around with these lesser types, Seabar also has a wide selection of traditional fare.
When it comes to Japanese food, Kuni’s is truly a cut above the rest. Named for Kuni, Buffalo’s first genuine sushi chef, this restaurant at 226 Lexington Avenue was selected as the best sushi restaurant in Buffalo by Artvoice readers. Sushi is sold both by the piece and by the roll so you can mix and match to your heart’s content. Kuni’s also serves up unique specialities like squid rings and seafood tempura, and even variations on American classics like its Fried Chicken marinated in sake-ginger soy sauce and Japanese Fish Fry encrusted in panko and served with Japanese slaw.
Vegan is still trendy, we promise. Unfortunately, if there’s one thing Buffalo is lacking, it’s vegan restaurants, although several restaurants feature vegan dishes. If you’re looking for a great vegan, vegetarian, or even traditional meal, head over to Merge at 439 Delaware Ave. Even if you order something with meat, there’s no need to feel guilty. Everything from Merge is organic and comes from one of five local farms, including Merge’s own.
It can be hard to find stores that sell all your favorite brands. But here in Buffalo, you don’t have to look far. Tony Walker & Co at 5110 Main Street has men’s and women’s clothing from every brand you could imagine: Vineyard Vines, Alex and Ani, Tory Burch, the list goes on and many brands are exclusive to TW. The store itself spans an entire plaza, with sections for shoes, bags, jewelry, makeup and bath products, including their own brand Bogavia. Be prepared to bring your black American Express card.
If, by some slim chance, you don’t find the style you’re looking for at Tony Walker, take a ride up to Niagara Falls. There, you’ll find the Fashion Outlets with more than 200 designer shops. Coach, Brooks Brothers, Kate Spade and many more are all here, each with a bigger selection than you would find at Tony Walker.
The Walden Galleria also features some different designer stores like Anthropologie, Guess, and White House Black Market.
Of course, style isn’t all about shopping at malls to find big-name brands. Some of the best fashion can be found at small, local boutiques, of which Buffalo has plenty.
For Urban Outfitters-style clothing that you won’t see duplicated on every hipster that walks by, check out Modern Nostalgia and Blue Collar at 1378 Hertel Avenue. Modern Nostalgia stocks women’s clothing while Blue Collar has men’s, but they’re both located right next to each other and feature similar styles. Also, both of these shops were selected as the Best Women’s and Men’s Clothing Shops of Buffalo by Artvoice readers, so you don’t have to just take our word for it.
Founded in 2010 by then 19-year-old Crista Botticello, Ooo La La Boutique at 663 Main St. in East Aurora filled the desperate need for modern boutiques in the area. Since then, Ooo La La has only brought in more fashion innovation with its mobile boutique. Whether you visit the store or catch the Fashion Truck at one of its stops, you’re sure to score something great.
Many of Buffalo’s best boutiques and local shops are located in one area: the Elmwood Village. Pick up something cute at Blush or Anna Grace, something trendy at Urban Threads, or something unique at Half & Half Trading Co. Likewise, Shoefly should be your one and only stop for footwear. Or just take a walk down Elmwood Avenue and see what you find.
There’s no need to mingle with the commoners at your school’s gym. And besides, college gyms just won’t have the variety and caliber of classes that you need—most of them are still bragging about offering Zumba.
Get your spin on at BikeorBar, Buffalo’s exclusive cycling studio located at 904 Elmwood Avenue. Engage in intense cycling classes with a little help from its state of the art sound system, widescreen TVs, and DJ lighting effects. If cycling isn’t your cup of SmartWater, try one of their barre or rowing classes. And for something really unique, try POUND, a 45-minute drumming workout with weighted sticks and a great playlist.
You don’t have to be a dancer to enjoy the benefits of a barre workout. Barre Centric at 1526 Main St. offers three levels of classes for beginners and the advanced, and offers convenient location sin both Buffalo and Clarence.
Of course, for ultimate workout results, you’ll need a personal trainer. TrainSMART isn’t a gym, but an appointment-only facility that brings you the best in personal training. Sign up for one on one or small group classes at their facility at 640 Ellicott St. and start expecting results.
You may be coming to college from an area like New York City where cars are unessential. In Buffalo, that’s just not the case. This city is easily driveable, plus there’s no reason you should be missing out on the simple pleasure of valet parking. So if you’re in need of a car, there are plenty of luxury dealerships in the area to suit your needs.
The Northtown family of dealerships may sell Toyotas, Hyundais and Jeeps that any self-respecting person would turn their nose up at, but don’t be so quick to give up hope. Northtown also offers luxury cars like Porsche, Lexus and Land Rover.
If those aren’t your style, never fear. In similar fashion to Northtown, West Herr sells Nissans and Kias, but also Jaguars and Cadillacs. And when it comes to Cadillacs, you aren’t limited to West Herr; Keyser and Basil Cadillac are both in the area.
Towne Auto is yet another chain dealership that offers luxury cars, specifically BMW and Maserati. But if you’re looking for a more exclusive dealership, try Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo or Schmitt’s Audi Volkswagen in Bowmansville.
Western New York is even home to a Lotus dealership. It may be small and unfortunately tucked behind Mike Barney Nissan, but Lotus WNY is the only place to get one of these luxury vehicles for miles around.
But if your parents simply refuse to buy you a car, Buffalo Limousine, Angel Car Service and Aces Limousine all offer black car services so you don’t feel as if you’re being held hostage on campus.
Keep your trust fund—I mean parents—happy when they come for a weekend visit by making sure they stay in a great hotel. For the best Buffalo has to offer, the Mansion on Delaware is the place to stay. Guests have access to 24-hour butler service and whirlpool tubs, as well as complimentary continental breakfast, evening cocktails and Land Rover transportation.
With only 28 rooms, the Mansion on Delaware can fill up quickly, especially around family weekends. However, Buffalo has plenty of other hotel options. For something unique, try the Hotel at the Lafayette or the Lofts on Pearl, both located in beautiful historic buildings downtown.
Buffalo also offers several reliable chain hotels like the Hampton Inn & Suites, Embassy Suites, and the Hyatt Regency.
If you’re attending Niagara University and are looking for a hotel farther north, make sure no one falls victim to the sketchy, run-down Niagara Falls hotels. As a rule of thumb, just avoid anything along Niagara Falls Boulevard. No one knows what’s gone on within those moldy walls, and no one needs to find out.
Instead, have your parents stay at the Giacomo Hotel. Featuring 39 rooms in a nationally registered historic building, it’s Niagara Falls’ premiere luxury hotel.
For a more rustic stay, try the Red Coach Inn. This bed and breakfast style hotel is located right above the Niagara River’s rapids and is just a short walk from the falls themselves.
Better yet, just send your visitors over to Canada. Niagara Falls, Ontario is the only place one can find a four-star hotel like the Sheraton, Hilton, or Embassy Suites.
There you have it: the indisputable list of the classiest things Buffalo has to offer. With this list as your guide, there’s no way you’ll be stuck without any of the luxuries of home.
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