2019 Forever Young Faves
The results of Forever Young Faves survey are in! We’re so grateful for your input. Through an online survey, mailed-in entries, and surveys completed at the Forever Young Expo, we tallied the votes and composed this list of winners. We hope you’ve enjoyed participating in this friendly competition; perhaps you can use this list as motivation to try out some new local favorites. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks for all you do to contribute to living well in Western New York.
Favorite Theater: Shea’s Performing Arts Center
646 Main Street, Buffalo; 847-1410 or sheas.org
A perennial favorite fave, Shea’s consistently presents performances that delight and entertain patrons. The historical theater, built in 1926, is an architectural treasure; the ornate setting makes a night out at the theater even more special. Blockbuster shows this year included Book of Mormon, Mean Girls and Jersey Boys.
Favorite Museum or Gallery: Albright-Knox Art Gallery
1285 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo; 882-8700 or albrightknox.org
Since its founding as the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy in December of 1862, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery has always been a pillar of the arts in Buffalo. This year saw captivating exhibits such as We the People: New Art from the Collection, in which contemporary artists tackled what it means to be a citizen of the 21st century, and Anthony McCall: Dark Rooms, Solid Light, an immersive experience created by projections of light and the artist’s drawings onto and through mist in the air. The Albright-Knox Elmwood campus is now closed for renovations until 2022, but in the meantime, visit the gallery’s Northland campus beginning on January 17 to see Open House: Domestic Thresholds by Heather Hart, Edra Soto, and Rodney Taylor.
Favorite Place to Take Kids: Buffalo Zoo
300 Parkside Avenue Buffalo; 837-3900 or buffalozoo.org
This third-oldest zoo in the country features a variety of exhibits and constant updates that make it an exciting place to spend a day with little ones. This year, the Donna M. Fernandes Amphibian and Reptile Center was renovated to include new mixed species exhibits and interactive graphics. In December, you can take your little loved ones to breakfasts with Santa and the zoo animals. See the website for details.
Favorite Fitness Facility: YMCA Buffalo Niagara
Multiple locations; 565-6000 or ymcabuffaloniagara.org
This charitable, community-based organization is committed to providing programs designed to build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. Founded in 1852, YMCA Buffalo Niagara is the second oldest YMCA in the United States. The Y provides a wide variety of programs and services, along with well-trained and supportive staff to help you start and stay on your journey to a healthier you. In addition to personal training, group exercise classes, active older adult fitness, and nutritional consultations, the YMCA Buffalo Niagara also puts on Buffalo’s annual Turkey Trot.
Favorite Outdoor Music Venue: Artpark
450 South 4th Street, Lewiston; 754-4375 or artpark.net
Artpark & Company presents excellence in the performing and visual arts, creating unique cultural experiences in a casual, natural setting overlooking the Niagara River Gorge. Every summer, Artpark offers a full spectrum of engaging entertainment; from productions of Broadway musicals and concerts in the Mainstage Theater, to eye-catching outdoor art exhibitions. The Outdoor Amphitheater is home to award-winning concert series featuring popular rock and pop performers. This past summer saw acts such as Earth, Wind & Fire, country artist Kip Moore, and Sarah McLachlan with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Favorite Senior Center: Amherst Center for Senior Services
370 John James Audubon Parkway, Amherst; 636-3050 or www.amherst.ny.us
The Amherst Center for Senior Services serves about 9,000 registered members from its 53,000 square foot facility which includes an art gallery, a cafe, a billiard room, card room, gift shop, library, and weight room. The center offers classes in academic topics, the arts, dance, music, yoga, technology, and fitness, and there are over forty member-led clubs based out of the center. The center also hosts many special events throughout the year, including a monthly Silver Pride Tea for LGBTQ members.
(The Cheektowaga and West Seneca Senior Centers tied for a close second in this year’s vote.)
Favorite Volunteer Opportunity: Meals on Wheels for WNY
MOWWNY’s mission focuses on the most basic and critical of home needs. Staff and volunteers are committed to enriching lives and promoting independent healthy living by offering nutritious food and a friendly visit. Its vision is to ensure that every member of the community receives a meal that meets their nutritional needs. In delivering these meals, volunteers also spend time visiting with the homebound seniors and disabled clients each day. This safety check provides peace of mind to clients and caregivers alike as well as a sense of caring and companionship that volunteers bring to clients’ lives—and vice versa. In addition to regular meal deliveries and visits, the organization puts on special fundraiser events throughout the year, so keep an eye out for their seasonal newsletters for more information.
Favorite Park: Chestnut Ridge
6121 Chestnut Ridge Road, Orchard Park; 662-3290
Chestnut Ridge Park was named for many Great Chestnut trees that once populated its rolling hills. The park features many different hiking trails, but the best known trail is probably the path to the Eternal Flame Falls, a small waterfall with a shale rock base from which a natural gas leak creates a seldom-extinguished flame in the midst of the waterfall. In the winter, the park offers ski trails and toboggan runs, and the on-site casino offers spectacular views of the landscape year-round.
Favorite Car Show: Buffalo Auto Show
1144 Wehrle Drive; 631-8510 or buffaloautoshow.com
At the 2020 show from February 6–9 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, you can expect to see the latest and greatest new SUVs, hybrids, minivans, high performance and economical cars and trucks on the road today, plus a variety of family friendly events and attractions. Last year’s show featured visits from famous Buffalo Sabres personalities such as Rick Jenneret, Rob Ray, Rip Simonick, and Johan Larsson.
Favorite Veterans Program: VA Western New York Healthcare System
3495 Bailey Avenue; 834-9200 or buffalo.va.gov
The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,255 health care facilities, including 170 medical centers and 1,074 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics), serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year. Local offices include Buffalo VA Medical Center at 3495 Bailey Avenue in Buffalo (716-834-9200) and Batavia VA Medical Center at 222 Richmond Avenue in Batavia (585-297-1000). Veterans One-Stop Center of WNY (1280 Main Street, Suite 204; 898-0110 and vocwny.org and American Legion eriecountyal.org tied for a close second as highlights of local veteran programs.
Favorite Garden Shop: Adam’s Nursery & Garden Center
5799 Genesee Street, Lancaster; 683-4885 or adamsnurseries.com
Adam’s Nursery claims one of WNY’s largest selections of plants, trees, and decor to satisfy all your gardening and landscaping needs. The friendly and knowledgeable staff is available to help you navigate the indoor garden center and outdoor greenhouse lot to help you build the garden of your dreams. The shop often has sales and events—especially for holidays or season changes—so be sure to check out their website or Facebook page before making the trip to the shop.
Favorite Liquor Store: Premier Liquor
Multiple locations; premierwines.com
Premier Liquor consists of three independently owned and operated stores in Amherst (3900 Maple Road), Williamsville (7980 Transit Road), and Orchard Park (3410 Amelia Drive). With the largest selection of premium wines and premier spirits, each Premier Group store has something for everyone—usually at a great deal. The stores have loyalty programs and free tasting classes, too. Plus, if you’re looking for something to pair with your wine or cocktails, you can visit Premier Gourmet at the Amherst location to pick up some artisan cheeses, pastries, and more.
Favorite Pet Store: PetSmart
Multiple locations; 1-888-839-9638 or petsmart.com
From food, toys, and treats for every pet imaginable, to adoption, grooming, training, and vaccinations, PetSmart is a one-stop shop for all things pets. Their online store and mobile apps are easy to use and useful. They even offer Santa Photo shoots for your pets! With stores all over Western New York, there’s sure to be one nearby.
Favorite Local Brewery: Tie
Resurgence Brewing Co.
1250 Niagara Street, 381-9868; 55 Chicago Street, 768-6018; resurgencebrewing.com
Resurgence was opened by husband-and-wife duo Jeff and Erin Ware in 2014, and it quickly became a downtown favorite, with its beautiful outdoor garden and locally inspired brews. Resurgence was named to reflect the growing renaissance of the city of Buffalo itself, as well as its brewery scene. Five years after the Niagara Street opening, demand compelled the Wares to open a second location in Buffalo’s First Ward district, complete with a production facility, tap room, and banquet center. At either of their beer gardens, enjoy in-house brews such as Loganberry Wit or Sponge Candy Stout, or pick them up in stores around the city.
Hamburg Brewing Company
6553 Boston State Road, Hamburg; 649-3249 or hamburgbrewing.com
Opened in 2013, Hamburg Brewing Company is well-loved by its patrons for its beautiful outdoor patio, cozy taproom lodge, and beers and ciders brewed in-house. Wine and pub fare are also served at the bar. Guests can purchase tickets at the bar for a brewery tour, which includes information about the brewing and bottling of their beers, as well as a visit to the brewery’s model train room. The taproom has live music every Wednesday and Saturday, so check out their website to see who’s performing each week.
Favorite Eyewear Store: LensCrafters
Multiple locations in WNY; lenscrafters.com
LensCrafters offers the most advanced and precise eye exam possible—from the breakthrough Clarifye digital eye exam, which gathers five times more information about your vision and eye health, to the best-in-class Accufit system, which measures your eyes five times more precisely than traditional methods for a perfect, customized fit. Dedicated optometrists and associates pride themselves on unparalleled customer service. Eye exams are easy to schedule, and customers can find frames that flatter.
Favorite Gift Shop: Hallmark
Multiple locations; hallmark.com
There are several Hallmark locations throughout WNY, from Lockport to Akron, with Annie’s Hallmark in West Seneca receiving many specific shout-outs in this year’s ballots. With a rich history of artistry and a deep passion for helping individuals form deep, meaningful connections, Hallmark sells greeting cards, gifts, gift wrap, and much more for any occasion to show your loved ones how much you. No matter who you’re shopping for or why, Hallmark has something to show the way you feel. Product selection and availability varies throughout the year.
Favorite Estate Sale Company: HUNT
Multiple locations; huntrealestate.com
Formed in 1911, this family-owned real estate company has dominated the field in WNY and upstate New York for decades. HUNT can not only help you buy or sell your home, but the company also offers mortgage, title, and insurance services.
Favorite Local Winery: Johnson Estate Winery
8419 West Main Road (Route 20), Westfield; 326-2191 or johnsonwinery.com
Johnson Estate Winery is a historical WNY destination worth visiting in itself—even before tasting the wide selection of wines or taking in views of its expansive, 115-acre vineyard—as it is the oldest continuously operating estate winery in New York State. Frederick Johnson, an English orphan, immigrated to the United States and purchased a farm in Westfield in 1908. Along with fruit orchards, Johnson planted Concord vineyards, and allegedly started making wine in the farmhouse basement during Prohibition. Johnson’s son officially opened the winery in 1961, and his grandson now owns and operates the farm and winery with his wife. Check the website for special event listings and information about tasting hours and reservations.
Favorite Clothing Shop: Kohl’s
Multiple locations; kohls.com
This nationwide chain offers clothing and footwear for men, women, and kids at a good price. Designers include Jennifer Lopez, Apt. 9, Sonoma, Gloria Vanderbilt, Croft & Barrow, Levi’s, and Nike. Buy online or in-store. Loyalty members get “Kohl’s Cash,” good discounts, and sneak peeks at upcoming sales.
Favorite Farmers Market: Clinton-Bailey Farmers & Flea Market
1443–1517 Clinton Street; 208-0003 or clintonbaileymarket.com
WNY is home to an assortment of farmers markets, but the Clinton-Bailey market is a historic favorite. The Niagara Frontier Growers Co-operative Market, Inc. was formed in 1930 and began hosting a farmers market at the Niagara Frontier Food Terminal to bring agricultural products from the producer to the consumer in the most efficient manner possible. Over the years, the market became known as the Clinton-Bailey Farmers Market, and has become central to the food distribution hub of the City of Buffalo. At the market, one can find a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, plants, jams and jellies, syrups, home baked goods, and even Christmas trees during the holiday season.
Favorite Fish Fry: McPartlan’s Corner
669 Wehrle Drive; 632-9896, mcpartlanscorner.com
Not just for Lent anymore, Friday fish fries are a Western New York mainstay all year long. Our readers rave about McPartlan’s fish fry—fresh, crispy, well-seasoned, and served daily. This homey old-school restaurant and bar was established in South Buffalo in 1955. Its menu offers Irish dishes such as corned beef and cabbage, Buffalo wings and beef on ’weck, and the aforementioned killer fish fry.
(Weichec’s Lounge at 1748 Clinton Street in Buffalo, 823-2828, came in a close second.)
Favorite Pizza: Bocce Club Pizza
4174 North Bailey Avenue, Amherst, 833-1344; 1614 Hopkins Road, East Amherst, 689-2345; bocceclubpizza.com
Western New Yorkers can get into passionate debates over which local pizza is best. For the second year in a row, Bocce Club Pizza, has taken the Forever Young Faves crown in this category. Bocce Club Pizza has been a Buffalo staple since 1946, thanks to their signature sweet sauce and always-generous layer of gooey mozzarella cheese.
(Honorable mentions from this year’s ballots include Imperial Pizza at 1035 Abbott Road, and Franco’s Pizzeria, at multiple locations.)
Favorite Wings: Duff’s Famous Wings
Multiple locations, duffswings.com
Just as fraught as the WNY pizza debate, every Buffalonian has an ardent opinion on where to get the best wings in the city. This year, Duff’s handily defeated usual front-runner, Anchor Bar. Some say Anchor Bar invented the Buffalo wing, but Duff’s perfected it. You be the judge, but while sampling these savory snacks, remember to heed Duff’s signature warning: “Medium IS HOT! Medium Hot IS VERY HOT! Hot is VERY VERY HOT!”
Favorite Beef on ’Weck: Charlie the Butcher
Multiple locations; 633-8330 or charliethebutcher.com
Travelers stop by the Charlie the Butcher near the airport on their way in or out of Buffalo specifically for the renowned Buffalo sandwich: beef on ’weck. And who can blame them? But with a handful of other CtBs sprinkled across the region, it seems this is the go-to not just for those who know they will miss (or are missing) Buffalo, but also for those of us who know just how good we’ve got it.
(Honorable mentions include Anderson’s Frozen Custard, multiple locations, 633-2302, Schwabl’s Restaurant at 789 Center Road in West Seneca, and The Bar-Bill Tavern at 185 Main Street in East Aurora.)
Favorite Breakfast: Denny’s
Multiple locations; dennys.com
Maybe Denny’s is longtime breakfast favorite because it serves that very meal twenty-four hours a day. Or maybe it’s the comprehensive 55+ item menu. Whatever the reason, this casual diner chain dishes up classic American comfort fare that our readers love, and senior discounts make it easy on your wallet, too.
Favorite Local Breakfast Spot: Four-way tie
The runners-up behind Denny’s for favorite breakfast spot are all local restaurants stuck in a four-way tie, so we’ve decided to include them all in hopes to inspire some of you to try these local favorites!
Break’n Eggs Creperie, located both at 5235 Main Street in Williamsville and at 1280 Sweet Home Road in Amherst, offers a unique, French take on breakfast fare.
The Poked Yolk, at 3100 Transit Road in West Seneca and at 3698 Abbott Road in Orchard Park, was last year’s Forever Young Fave winner in this category, and boasts a scratch-made, egg-centric menu with fun specials.
Alton’s Restaurant, at 2250 Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga and 2221 Transit Road in Elma, was also named in the fish fry category, as the restaurant has a full-day menu but serves breakfast anytime. And finally, the Olive Tree, at 5240 Broadway in Lancaster, also has lunch and dinner menus, but offers its extensive breakfast menu all day.
Favorite Local Mexican Place: Tie
1465 Hertel Avenue; 837-6703 or gramma-moras.com
Though Mighty Taco and Taco Bell both received a good number of votes, we want to highlight these two local restaurants that tied for second place. When Gramma Mora’s opened their first location on Niagara Street in 1980, it was one of the first authentic Mexican restaurants in the city. Now a Hertel Avenue staple, Gramma Mora’s still provides delicious, authentic Mexican fare in a family-friendly setting, and offers fun events such as karaoke nights on Tuesdays.
El Canelo Mexican Restaurant
3670 McKinley Parkway; 822-1220 or elcanelohamburg.com
This brightly decorated family style authentic Mexican joint promises to transport its guests to Mexico, offering a delicious alternative to fast Mexican food. The menu is packed with options, including vegetarian dishes, special orders, combination dishes and a kid’s menu. Or, leave the kids at home and make a night out of your visit; order a pitcher of margaritas!
Favorite Donuts: Paula’s Donuts
Multiple locations; paulasdonuts.com
Now with three locations, Paula’s Donuts boasts a menu of over fifty different doughnuts—it’s a sweet tooth’s paradise! Pastry hearts, turnovers, bear claws, bagels, muffins, fritters, carrot cake, and an assortment of danish can also be found at Paula’s counters. You can’t go wrong with a classic peanut stick, or bring the oversized “Texas Donut” home to share. Everything is freshly made throughout the day, so you might have to wait a couple of minutes for your favorite, but the fresh treat will be worth it.
(Honorable mentions include The Market in the Square at 940 Union Road in West Seneca, Eileen’s Centerview Bakery at 465 Center Road in West Seneca, and Donut Kraze at 365 Somerville Avenue in Tonawanda and 406 Dingens Street in Buffalo.)
Favorite Italian Place: Chef’s
291 Seneca St., 716-856-9187, ilovechefs.com
This iconic Buffalo eatery is known for plentiful—yet inexpensive—portions, red-checked tablecloths, and a large dining area where patrons can linger unrushed over their plate of spaghetti parm. Chef’s has been one of Buffalo’s favorite neighborhood Italian restaurants since 1923.
(Honorable mentions include Salvatore’s Italian Prime at 6461 Transit Road, La Bella Sicilia Restaurant & Pizzeria at 2909 Genesee Street, and Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant at 3785 South Park Avenue in Blasdell.)
Favorite Ice Cream Shop: Anderson’s Frozen Custard
Multiple locations throughout WNY; andersonscustard.com
Many WNYers have fond memories of enjoying an ice cream cone at Anderson’s. The first local Anderson’s was opened in Kenmore in 1947, and there are now six locations throughout the region—plus a food truck—so you’re never too far from a delectable frozen custard, milkshake, or hot roast beef on ’weck sandwich.
(Runners-up include Antoinette’s Sweets at 5981 Transit Road in Depew, and Nick Charlap’s Ice Cream at 2800 Elmwood Avenue in Kenmore.)
Favorite Coffee Place: Tim Hortons
Locations throughout WNY, timhortons.com
With a location on every corner and a generous senior discount, Tim Horton’s was selected as the top spot for grabbing a cup of joe with friends.
(A close runner-up is Spot Coffee, and some local favorites mentioned include Goodrich Coffee & Tea in Clarence, Lancaster Coffee Co. & Cafe, Comfort Zone Cafe in Hamburg, and Milo’s Diner on Michigan Avenue)
Natalie Short is a recent graduate of University of North Carolina and a Buffalo Spree Publishing intern.
Wendy Guild Swearingen is editor of Forever Young.