Buffalo, New York is the home of loganberry, chicken wings, sponge candy and beef on weck – but where do you go to get these regional favorites and explore new food and drink specialties? Check out these foods and beverages with origins in the Buffalo-Niagara region and explore Buffalo’s food scene.
Anchor Bar, located at 1047 Main St. in Buffalo, is touted as the home of the original chicken wing. In 1964, a group of Dominic Bellissimo’s buddies came into the Anchor Bar on a Friday night while he was tending bar – and they had an appetite. Bellissimo asked his mother, Teresa, to make something for his friends, and what she came up with went on to become a world-wide food phenomenon, even garnering their own festival here every Labor Day weekend, the National Buffalo Wing Festival.
Beef on weck, specifically roast beef on a kummelweck (sometimes kimmelweck) roll, reportedly dates back to the 1901 Pan American Exposition that was held in Buffalo. Tavern owner Joe Gohn was hoping to capitalize on hungry travelers at the Delaware House by offering roast beef sandwiches and cold beer. He already employed a German baker who was making rolls for the tavern, and the baker suggested topping the rolls with caraway seeds and salt as they did in Germany. The sandwich is now a popular standard in the Western New York area.
Loganberry drink was made popular at Crystal Beach, a summer resort and now-closed amusement park on Lake Erie. Originally cultivated in California, the loganberry is an accidental hybrid of a raspberry and a blackberry; as a beverage, it caught on in the Western New York area – and virtually nowhere else. These days, loganberry drink, a non-carbonated fruit punch-style beverage, is available in the area from a few different bottlers, but the “benchmark” brand, according to Buffalo Chow, is Aunt Rosie’s Loganberry, which is bottled by Pepsi-Cola.
Sponge candy goes by other names around the world – cinder toffee in Britain, hokey pokey in New Zealand, sea foam in some US western coastal states – but in Western New York, this mixture of brown sugar, corn syrup and baking soda that melts in your melt is known as a part of the Buffalo culture. Among the most popular makers of the chocolate-covered sweet in Western New York are Watson’s Chocolates and Fowler’s Chocolates, which touts itself as the original sponge candy maker, with production beginning in 1910.