It was only five years ago when I was that guy who would go to a restaurant and only order Chicken Fingers, who thought Chinese food meant Sweet & Sour Chicken and who had yet to eat Eggs or even a Grilled Cheese sandwich (crazy, right?). I’ve come a long way since then. Inspired by my best friend Mike and Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, I decided to try everything I could find in Buffalo and figured I’d keep track of all these new restaurants with this blog. Well, that was in February of 2009, and since then Buffalo Eats has grown exponentially. We (and by we, I mean myself and my wife, Alli) have tried hundreds of new restaurants, met and worked with some awesome people and participated in some really cool events (Nickel City Chef, Taste of Buffalo, Chowzter Awards, etc).
I really want to stress that I don’t consider myself a food critic and, up until 2013 we called our reviews ‘Food Porn’s’ to let people know that I have fun with food and don’t really take myself that seriously. Traditionally, food critics will visit a restaurant 3 times, live in complete anonymity and have an extensive knowledge in food in general (history/preparation/etc). I really don’t do any of those things (although I’ve become better in the knowledge department). I am just a regular guy with a full-time non-food related job and a really deep love of Buffalo and food.
- I eat at a restaurant once before I write a review because that’s what most people do and because I’m not exactly rolling in money and can’t afford to go back multiple times.
- I don’t mind putting myself out there because I love meeting people and talking about food.
- If we know the restaurant owner (which a lot of times, we do) or have a conflict of interest, we’ll mention that too.
- I’m not an expert, I just love trying new foods and finding that little hidden spot that no one knows about (which is getting harder and harder to do in Buffalo). If I don’t know a lot about a certain subject, I’ll be the first one to tell you.
- Over the years we have become very involved in the local farming movement and now spend a large amount of our time supporting and spreading the word on the importance and benefits of buying locally raised and produced food products, including humanely and naturally raised meat products.
- My angle is this: if you think you’re a picky eater and you’re afraid to try a new restaurant, hopefully you can read about my experiences and expand your dining choices beyond your corner Applebee’s and support local Buffalo restaurants in the process. I was in your shoes; I know I still need to learn more and I’m constantly trying to soak in as much as possible.
I hope you take our posts with a grain of salt; I’m not a food expert, I just really love food. I wasn’t an English major and I’m certainly not going to win any journalism awards anytime soon; I’m always trying to improve my writing. I was born and raised in this city and want to see the people who work here do well and encourage everyone to shop and eat at locally owned and operated establishments. I hope you enjoy Buffalo Eats for what it is and continue reading. Even after trying over 400+ restaurants over the last five years, we still have a lot more to eat and a lot more to learn.
Founder, Buffalo Eats
PS – If you’d like to contact me to suggest a restaurant, ask about advertising on the site or you’d like to join the staff, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- “All of this food-centric activity is reflected to a larger audience through a robust online community of food bloggers and activists, who provide countless glimpses into the kitchens and eating lives of Western New York. There’s at least a dozen, but Donnie Burtless and Alli Suriani of BuffaloEats.org have set the standard, compiling a vast, detailed portrait of the local eating world, with reviews, photographs and more. Burtless has interviewed more than 50 chefs, critics, owners, purveyors and other denizens of the food world in “Eat it Up,” his chatty podcast, available on the site.” – Andrew Galarneau, The Buffalo News [2/10/13]
- “Burtless and Suriani began their newbie foodie quest in Buffalo in early 2009, and now, through their tireless efforts, everything about the site—from the writing to the technical analysis of the food to the production values associated with the site’s accompanying podcast, Eat it Up!—has improved drastically. With its enormous backlog of content and commitment to trying new restaurants as soon as possible, Buffalo Eats has earned every bit of its position of authority as a Buffalo’s most prominent food blog, without sacrificing the completely unpretentious tone, sense of humor, and—above all—honesty that has made the site so popular.” – Buffalo Spree [7/2013]