There are a lot of places to eat in WNY (duh, that’s what this blog is dedicated to, I know) and sometimes deciding where to head for a meal is overwhelming. Where to Eat This Weekend is a new weekly feature that I (Alli) have been thinking about for a while. I’m incredibly indecisive (I’m still not sure if I picked the right wedding dress and my wedding was a year ago) and while having 100′s of detailed reviews of restaurants to pick from is wonderful, sometimes having someone narrow down your choices makes your life a bit easier. A new Where to Eat This Weekend will be posted every Friday with the sole purpose of helping you decide where to eat and hopefully introduce you to a few new places that are worth checking out. The posts will have a new ‘theme’ each week. I will pick a town (i.e. East Aurora, Orchard Park), cuisine (Thai, Mexican) or street (Hertel, Kenmore Ave) and give you a list of all of the *notable places to eat/drink within that theme along with links to websites and our reviews as well as a few quick descriptions (price, type of food, etc).
*I won’t be listing all of the restaurants within a particular theme, just the ones I recommend. Sorry in advance if I leave something out that you think should be there.
For the first post I decided to start with my favorite town in WNY, East Aurora. Growing up in Orchard Park, I visited East Aurora frequently and I would love to be able to live there someday. The town is really quite adorable and there are plenty of great places to eat, shop and hang out. It’s only a ~30 minute drive from the city and you can really spend a whole day there checking out historical homes, walking around Knox Farm, exploring the Roycroft Campus and reliving your childhood at Fisher Price and Vidlers.
So..where should you eat this weekend? East Aurora.
- One of the most recent additions to the EA village, a beer-lover will feel right at home at Aurora Brew Works. It’s part beer store, part bar with 6 taps that offer some microbrews that you normally can’t find at your local corner bar. A wonderful stop to grab both a pint ($4-$8) and a mix-n-match 6 pack for your fridge.
- Probably one of my favorite places to eat in East Aurora, BarBill is infamous for their wings and beef on weck (>$10). Don’t expect great service (they are known for their sometimes rude bartenders and waiters) but do expect to wait for a table because the food is really fantastic. Cash only.
- Another new (ish) restaurant on the more eastern end of the village, Brothers has your standard pub food but many of the items are homemade. There is something on the menu for everyone and the prices (~$10 per sandwich/entree) won’t break the bank.
- Another one of my favorite places in EA and maybe even one of my favorite places in WNY, Elm Street not only offers freshly made bread and baked goods, but has a wood-burning pizza oven and a cafe that offers soups and sandwiches ($5-$10). They have also recently added a few taps and a wine list. They pride themselves on using very fresh and local ingredients and everything I have ever eaten there has been outstanding. You simply cannot leave East Aurora without stopping in (unless it’s Sunday or Monday when they are closed).
- I’ve actually never been to either Rick’s on Main or Roycroft Inn (sorry, they are both somewhat out of our price range but I promise we will review them soon) but I feared someone would yell at me if I didn’t include them on the list. Everyone who I know that has been to either has only had favorable things to say so if you are looking for a high end option (most entrees are above the $20 price range), I assume either will be a good choice.
- I won’t go in detail about the cupcake craze in WNY but I will say that I personally am a big fan of Swirls and if you are looking for a cupcake fix ($15 per half dozen), I highly recommend it. They are always coming up with cool and new flavors and they even sell Lake Effect Ice Cream. Be careful not to miss it, they are located behind Taste on Main St.
- People either love or hate Tantalus. Their menu is extremely long and sometimes overwhelming. Some of their dishes are great (like the pastas and burgers) and some we suggest staying away from (pizzas and steaks). The have a lot of seafood options and make sure to check out the specials (prices range all over the place from $5-$20+). Try to have some patience while your dining companions try to figure out what to order and skip dessert so you are able to head next door to Taste.
- Taste is located right next door to Tantalus and in the front of Swirls on Main St. It’s a great little coffee shop that offers a wide array of coffees, beverages, pies and other desserts. The atmosphere is inviting and friendly and it’s a wonderful place to relax and end your night.
My two favorite places to eat in East Aurora will always be Elm St. Bakery (late lunch) and Bar Bill Tavern (dinner). If you are lucky enough to have a whole day to spare, I would start off with lunch at Elm Street Bakery (or at least pick up some goodies to bring home). Then I would burn off lunch with some shopping (Swirls, Vidlers, Ragamuffinz, Tuscony on Main) and explore the town. Later on I would grab a drink at Aurora Brew Works followed by dinner of wings and beef on weck at Bar Bill Tavern. I would end my night with some dessert and coffee at Taste.