Interview: HERO Design Studio

When I started working in Allentown 2 years ago I wanted to become more familiar with the area, so I started walking around during my lunch.  Initially, I was looking to see where I could grab a cheap lunch and I happened to walk by Hero’s Boutique on Allen (located in between Colter Bay and K Gallaghers).  They have some of their prints on display, T shirts available for sale and Buffalo’s biggest collection of Kidrobot toys.

In addition to having a really cool store, Hero Design creates some amazing pieces of work.  Started in 2003, Hero Design is a husband and wife team of Mark and Beth that create work for a wide variety of clients, one of which being Buffalo’s own Every Time I Die (featuring fellow Buffalo Foodie Andy Williams).  They’ve been featured in national publications like Spin Magazine, HOW and PRINT.  Hell, their work has even been spotted on Ringo Starr, yes, the Beatle.  It took a little time, but we got a hold of the couple and were able to ask them about their favorite restaurants in Buffalo, here is what Beth and Mark had to say…

What are some of your favorite places to eat in Buffalo?

Beth: I honestly have a lot of favorites. It just depends on what I am in the mood for. For me, La Tee Da because I love their patio and they have a great gluten-free menu, (I have been gluten-free for almost 6 years). Mothers because the patio is great, they always have a great menu and as long as the bar isn’t raging with cougars, it is a reasonably relaxed and enjoyable environment. I also like Saigon Cafe and Taste of Thai, Thai food is one of my favorites. Kuni’s and Wasabi are great for sushi. Left Bank has a great brunch and is also nice for dinner and drinks. I could go on and on. We don’t go out to eat very often, as I cook most nights, so when we pick a place we really try to choose wisely.

Mark: Teds Hot Dogs, Jim’s Steak Out, chicken finger pizza from any local pizzeria. Laughlins is one of our favorite places for fries, best in Buffalo.

Where do you like to grab a drink and hang out with friends?

Beth: This is really going to make me sound like a loser – but I don’t go out just to drink much these days. We are quite busy most of the time and when I want a good drink to unwind, I tend to head home and make a cocktail for myself or open a nice bottle of red wine. I’d say if I were going to meet someone out for a drink or two most times it would include dinner. If it was just drinks, no meal, I like Left Bank, Hardware, Staples, Toro or the Old Pink – if I am really looking for nostalgia, rubbing up with strangers and some good old fashioned filth. Also – one of my favorite places to stop and grab a bottle of wine on my way home is City Wine Merchant on Main Street.

Mark: I don’t drink so I go wherever the wife wants to go. My idea of going out for a “drink” is getting a milkshake from the Lake Effect Diner.

What kind of food memories do you have from when you were a kid?

Beth: I grew up with a lot of homemade food and traditional Greek dishes. My Dad is 100% Greek and one of the best home cooks you will ever meet. He really taught me how to cook and gave me my love for food. My family had a home cooked meal every single night, no matter how busy we were. Eating out and take out wasn’t a common occurrence, so when it happened it was very special.

Mark: I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky on southern food and home cooking. To me, fried chicken is the ultimate comfort food. KFC, pizza from Pizza King and White Castle all remind me of home.

When you have friends visiting from out of town, where do you take them to show some proper Buffalo cuisine?

Beth & Mark: Most times we take people to get a Chicken Finger sub from Jim’s Steak Out, a pizza from La Nova or to the Anchor Bar for wings. We know there is a great debate in this city on where to get the best wings from – but since Anchor Bar is just up the street from our studio and the official “home of the Chicken Wing” we tend to take folks there. Though we really think that the wings are just as good or better at any small mom and pop pizzeria on any corner in the city. We’ve also taken a few folks to Schwabl’s for some beef on weck.

Is there anything you wish Buffalo had more of, food wise?

Beth: Authentic Mexican, Puerto Rican, Vietnamese, Noodle bars, more restaurants that feature local and seasonal food from farms in the area

Mark: Soul food. As far as specific restaurants go: Sonic, White Castle, In n Out, and the mirage known as the East Coast Steak and Shake


We’d like to thank Beth and Mark for taking time out of their busy schedule (seriously they travel all over the place) to answer our questions.  If you find yourself downtown, take a drive down/up Delaware and check out their boutique on Allen.  They have some fantastic prints that would be great for any home office, concert posters of some very cool artists and some crazy toys.  Also, Beth is such a foodie that she has her own cooking blog, Tasty Yummies, it’s a must read if you love to cook at home.   You can also find Beth (@HeroBeth) and Mark (@MarkBrickey) on twitter, as well as Hero’s official twitter page (@HeroDesign).

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