There has been a ‘Cupcake Renaissance’ of sorts in Western New York and Michael Wulf from Swirl’s Cupcakery is part of the group that is leading the way. At only 19 years of age, he is one of the youngest restaurant owners I’ve met and just opened Swirl’s Cupcakery in November 2011. Located right behind Taste and Tantalus on Main Street in East Aurora, his shop is in a great location right in the middle of the village. He’s been getting some buzz around the internet and just recently was on CW 23’s Wingin It a few months ago. Michael took some time out of his busy schedule of baking cupcakes and running a business to answer some of our questions, here’s what he had to say about his favorite places to eat and hang out in WNY…
Right now, where are your favorite places to eat in Western New York?
Michael: I’m all about supporting unique small places. One of my favorites that most people don’t know about is Minty Wellness in Darien Center. It’s an all Vegan restaurant and the food is so amazing. For a more formal dinner I really enjoy Rick’s on Main in East Aurora. For lunch, I really like the Elm Street Bakery and all the soups and sandwiches that they offer. I’m also always at Wegmans picking up a $6 meal because I’m usually always on the go.
Where do you like to go to hang out with friends on the weekends?
Michael: After work I’ll usually head over to Riley Street Station for some apps or if I go out of EA I’ll usually be at the French Pub in Lancaster. Both have just a fun atmosphere. I’m really trying to get downtown more and explore the great food scene there. I also really enjoy Pearl Street for a good time.
If you had a friend visiting from out of town, where would you go to show them a good time?
Michael: A great getaway place to take people is Ellicottville because they really have a lot of great restaurants and shops down there and it’s a great place to just get away from the city. In the summer we have so much going on with all the festivals and concerts so I’ll always take people to those. Buffalo has some great food and the summer festivals are great.
What are some food memories you have from your childhood?
Michael: Growing up in a Italian family I feel like I’ve always been in the kitchen and wanting to learn new things. We always had a home cooked meal and I was always a part of making it. My grandmother on my mom’s side makes the best ‘sougu’ (Italian red sauce) and I have fond memories of family dinners. As early as elementary school I was trying to sell things; it started with candy bars on the school bus then in late middle and high school I was making packaged lunches called ‘Mikeables’. I would sit in class and draw restaurants and stores I wanted to open. My teachers thought I had a focusing problem.
What would you like to see more of in Buffalo’s restaurant/food scene?
Michael: I think we need more unique cuisines, more Vegetarian, more street food and specialty food stores.
How did you make the decision to start your own cupcake shop? Have you always enjoyed baking from an early age?
Michael: Last February I was watching TV at home and the TLC Show ‘DC Cupcakes’ came on. I became hooked on watching and figuring out what this cupcake trend was all about. I noticed all of the places in NYC and LA and really thought to myself, why not here in East Aurora? We have a dynamic Main Street and a niche needed to be filled. I knew if I was going to do this it needed to be perfect. I started promoting in the summer and doing local catering events and practiced till I ran out of ingredients everyday. I knew East Aurora’s first cupcake bakery needed to be perfect. At my age I feel like I can be an example that young people can accomplish anything if they really work hard at it. It was no easy task opening it up so quick but the community’s response and support is what kept me going. I’ve always enjoyed baking more than cooking but can do both very well.
Running a business is a lot of work and we appreciate that Michael took the time to answer our questions. Swirl’s Cupcakery is located in East Aurora right off Main Street so if you are in the area (if you’ve never been to the village of East Aurora we suggest you get there ASAP) stop in and pick yourself up a cupcake or twelve. You can also check out our food porn from a couple months ago and follow Swirls on facebook or twitter to find out about new flavors and special events coming up!