For our latest Buffalo Foodie post, we are talking to popular local YouTubers Billy Sandora-Nastyn and Pat Sandora-Nastyn. For those who aren’t familiar, Billy and Pat are husbands that have been creating YouTube videos for years; documenting their relationship, their wedding and their recent move to Buffalo in 2014. I came across Billy and Pat’s YouTube channel when a friend shared a recent video they made about some of their favorite Buffalo things, specifically Tommyrotter Distillery and Wrafterbuilt (two things that we love as well). After seeing other videos featuring Elm St Bakery and Taffy’s (a hometown favorite of ours), we knew we should reach out to them about their favorite places to eat and drink. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Right now, where are your favorite places to eat in WNY?
Billy: I am excited to say that it was hard to choose! Why? Because there are so many new options popping up every few months! My lunch breaks are pretty focused on Ballyhoo for their sausage options and a good drink. Their staff always recommends a beverage when I’m indecisive and they get your food out fast. Love it. After work I’m all about Deep South Taco. The vibrancy of their first location on Ellicott lifts my spirits and I cannot get enough of the Tostada de Hongos. I cannot wait for the patio to open in the warmer weather, specifically those rooftop cabanas! My random, gotta have it, kind of meal is going to Sato Ramen. I really miss ramen shops after leaving NYC and this place has filled that void. I never thought I’d say it, but I love the Buffalo Chicken Ramen! If all restaurants could put as good of a spin on our city’s dish as they do, it could really be an interesting draw for foodies.
Pat: I think I’ve eaten lunch at EXPO for four of my last five lunches. I’m beyond thrilled to have a food hall finally pop up in Buffalo. Not only is it great for downtown workers to have a grouping of choices under one roof, but it’s wonderful for local eateries to play off one another. Another one of my favorite after work spots is Big Ditch Brewing Co. Naturally, the beer is awesome, but their food is absolutely delicious, too! My go-to for a special dinner is Kuni’s on Lexington Avenue. Intimate atmosphere and super-tasty Japanese cuisine.
2. Where do you like to grab a drink with friends and relax?
Pat: I prefer liquor over beer, so my go-to spots are Vera Pizzeria, Buffalo Proper and Marble & Rye. I like a unique cocktail that’s made with care, and a chatty bartender who enjoys finding out my preferences and mixing me something I’ve never tried before.
Billy: I’m 100% agreeing with Pat on his picks, but I’m going to throw in the bar at Hutch’s. My favorite kind of day is when you’re strolling around Elmwood Village on a weekend and you notice that it’s almost 5pm. It’s the perfect walk along the parkways over to Hutch’s, then you just duck in through their back door, and enjoy a drink and a small plate of something delicious at the bar. I recommend pairing any drink with the Eggplant Napoleon. Yum!
3. If you had a friend visiting from out of town, where would you take them for a good ‘Buffalo’ time? (food, drinking, entertainment).
Pat: We’ve had many friends visit us from New York City, so our inclination is always to take them to the newest or trendiest restaurant, but that’s not what they want. They want to see an authentic Buffalo restaurant, so we always end up driving out to West Seneca to get beef on weck and a Tom & Jerry at Schwabl’s. There’s nothing else like it!
Billy: Yeah, we were in denial over where to bring guests when we moved to Buffalo. They really do want to see the authentic Buffalo places (at least once) that represent what we’ve held onto here, but many other cities have lost. So Schwabl’s, yes, is a must. Gabriel’s Gate is also wonderfully cozy and unique for friends in town. Plus, their wings are pretty killer. Also, swinging through East Aurora will give you a variety of the old and new.
4. What are some of your favorite food memories from your childhood? (homecooking/fav restaurants as a kid)
Billy: Growing up on Long Island was pretty limiting when it came to exploring food outside of strip malls and chains, but thankfully half of my family was in Queens. Driving into the city meant going to J. Baczynsky’s Meat Market on 2nd Avenue. We’d order all of our Ukrainian smoked meats like kielbasi and kishka, while my grandparents made borscht and my great grandmother made pierogi (though she called it “pedeha”). My parents have kept up those traditions, which I’ve begun to bring into our home as well. Though, I’m a bit hesitant to bring a kielbasi on a flight, unless I triple bag that thing to contain the smell.
Pat: Neither of my parents were particularly good cooks, so our family meals tended to be fast and easy, with everyone eating whatever they wanted. I literally ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a hostess cupcake and a milk every single lunch from first grade to graduation. The good news for me is that because I didn’t inherit any skills in the kitchen I really enjoy eating out and the experience of trying new things now that I’m an adult.
5. what types of cuisines/restaurants do you think the area is lacking/or could use more of?
Pat: I’m dying for some dim sum! I’ve heard the place in the West Side Bazaar is really great, but haven’t been yet. I don’t want to have to drive to Toronto for a dumpling feast. And it’s not like we really need any more pizza places, but both of the slice shops by our place closed down, so it would be great if one could open up nearby for my post-bar pizza fix.
Billy: I went to dim sum at West Side Bazaar and it was like a perfect mini version of the halls I love in Queens and Toronto. I hope they expand! I know it takes growing diverse communities for certain foods to take hold here, but I would love some Korean lunch spots with a good bibimbap or bulgogi. Specifically downtown. Also, why is there not a grab and go bagel place in the city? Multiple ones at that. People love bagels. And lots of cream cheese options. It’s a known fact.
Pat: Yes to bagels!
We’d like to thank Billy and Pat for taking time out of their busy schedules (Billy works for The Public and Pat works for Block Club) to answer some of our questions. You can follow their adventures on their YouTube Channel or follow them on Instagram/Twitter: @BillyBobN and @PatSandora.