Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact

New Year’s Eve with “Last Comic Standing” Winner Clayton English at Helium Comedy Club

Filed under: Events, Food, Local Interest


Looking for a little something different this New Year’s Eve?  Tired of the same old bar chaos?  Ring in the New Year with an evening filled with laughter courtesy of Clayton English.  You can make a reservation for dinner at Elements and eat before the show by calling 716.853.1211.

Rusty Nickel Brewing Company—Harvest Fest


This just in…

The Rusty Nickel Brewing Company in conjunction with Zittels Farms will host Harvest Fest this Saturday, October 3rd (2pm) and Sunday, October 4th (12noon). This true Farm Brewery experience will feature seasonal activities for the Whole Family.

Activities for the kids include Chalk on the Patio, Board Games, Puzzles, Crafts, Pumpkin Painting, Pumpkin Carving, Face Painting, Cider Pressing, Bobbing for Apples, Warm Water Balloon Toss, Bounce House, Piñata, Caramel Apple Making, Kiddie Tractor Pulls and more. Activities for the grown-ups include Live Music, Washers, Jenga Tournament, Stein Hoist Competition, Cigars to pair with Beer from Smokers Haven, Beer and Cheese Pairings, Adult Board Games, Trivia, New Fall Beers, New Mixology Drinks, Hard Ciders and more.

Saturday features a Homemade Pie Bake-Off (make your own, RNBC staff will be the judge), The Spirit of Ebenezer Camp Fire with S’mores, Beer, Warm Apple Cider, and Spooky Pumpkins, Master of Mixology Contest at 9PM (You Judge our Best Mixology Drink), Beer O’Balloon Toss and more. We’ll also be brewing a Fresh Batch of Real Pumpkin Beer from fresh pumpkins grown at Zittels Farms, we call it Garden of Eden – Pumpkin Ale.

The music line-up for Saturday kicks off with Rustic Radio from 2pm – 4pm, Ben Clifford from 4pm-6pm and Imerial Brown is headlining from 6pm-9pm

Sunday come back for more kid and adult Activities including a Beer Bread Bake Off at Half-Time, Kan-Jam, Most Creative Jenga Structure Competition and Football Food and Drink Specials.

Harvest Fest highlights our Fall Beer release, local vendors and local Farm Harvest produce all in a fun fall atmosphere. Mayer Brothers will be supplying pies and cider, Ebenezer Ale House will have food available, Zittels Farm is providing pumpkins, hay, flowers and corn stalks.

For more information visit their website. Or call 716-608-6155.

Steam Donkeys Return to Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts This Saturday

The Steam Donkeys

The Steam Donkeys

Sixteen years ago, as things were winding down at the first Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts (EAFA), you may have noticed a grizzled group of veteran road dog musicians hanging out on the sidewalk around the now-defunct Quill’s Apothecary—drinking beer, picking guitars, banjos and mandolins, while a manic fiddler was sawing the horse hair off of his bow. That band was the Buffalo-based music act and global think tank known as the Steam Donkeys. And that impromptu hootenanny was what passed for the “after party” at the fledgling event. This year, the Steam Donkeys return with special, surprise guests to close Saturday’s festivities with a 7pm—8:30pm “After Party” performance on the Saint James Stage.

“Oh, it’ll be special, alright,” says Steam Donkeys front man and spokesperson Buck Quigley. “So special, and so surprising, that it would be unfair to even give a hint as to what we have planned. Let’s put it this way: We rarely plan anything—which makes the fact that in this case…where we actually have a plan…see, that’s special and surprising in and of itself.”

EAFA has grown steadily over the years to include a dizzying array of artists displaying their wares in several disciplines: ceramics, ditigal art, domestic crafts, fiber, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, painting/drawing, paper, photography, printmaking, sculpture, toys, and woodwork.

The ever-popular Kidsfest , between Auburn and Lancaster, will provide an outlet for the youngest artists in the crowd—where they can get busy enjoying the thrill of making stuff and getting their faces painted while taking in some fine entertainment to boot. There will be cultural row, on Breckenridge, where you can stop by and learn about…the culturals. Food truck alley will be on Auburn to the west of Elmwood. Environmental row is just south of Lafayette, while to the north of Lafayette will sit the Festival Cafe—featuring a long list of vendors to please everyone from the healthiest vegan to the happiest carnivore. At Lafayette and Auburn, local and regional brewers will be selling their artisanal beers. Community Beer Works has even cooked up a “festival only” brew.

And of course, there’s the music. Starting at the south end of the festival near West Ferry you’ll find the Dance Tent, which is an intimate space to catch a variety of acts starting at 10am Saturday and Sunday. Same goes for the 7-11 Stage (formerly the Wilson Farms Stage in those early years) and the Saint James Stage at the north end of the strip. Every hour on the hour a new act appears on each of the three stages—while on Sunday a cavalcade of dance troupes takes over the Saint James Stage.

The weekend is going to be a sight and sound extravaganza—fitting for an event that has grown to showcase the craftspeople, artists, musicians, businesses, families, friends and neighbors that make the Elmwood Village one of the most vibrant sections of town. Don’t miss it.

Download the entire performance schedule by clicking here.



Tour de Farms 2015

This just in from GObike Buffalo…

GObike Buffalo and Massachusetts Ave. Project host

7th Annual Tour de Farms on Sept. 12th

A Bicycle Tour of Local, Urban & Rural Farms

1BUFFALO, NY – For the 7th year in a row the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) and GObike Buffalo are hosting the Tour de Farms, a 35-mile bicycle tour through the City of Buffalo to the Oles Family Farm in Alden, NY on Saturday, Sept. 12th. The ride will stop at a number of community gardens and urban farms in the city before heading out to rural farms east of Buffalo. The event ends with a Local Food Celebration that includes a meal, drinks from local breweries, live music and awards to teams with the Best Costume and Largest Team. Afterwards participants can ride their bikes home in a group, get a ride from friends or family or take buses back to the start location. Bikes are transported back in large trucks.

From humble beginnings with just a few dozen participants the event has grown to a maximum capacity of 500 people due to space constraints at the gardens and farms, particularly the celebration at the Oles Farm. In the past two years the event has sold out, with people being offered a spot on a waiting list.

3Rebekah Williams, MAP’s Youth Education Director, says, “One key element for the success of the event has been our continued partnership with Oles Family Farm. Oles Farm supports MAP throughout the growing season with produce for our Mobile Market. The Tour de Farms concludes at Oles Farm, with a delicious local-food barbecue, tours of their gorgeous property and extensive flower gardens and live music and dancing in the barn.” She adds, “All of the farms and community gardens that we stop at along the ride are critical to our region’s food system, and important to the success of Tour de Farms Buffalo.”

A food system is the path that food travels from field to fork, including growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consuming and even disposing of food. A strong local food system supports the regional economy and healthy communities.

Williams says, “Tour de Farms demonstrates the ability to purchase fresh, locally-grown food from farms in our own communities.”

Erin Sharkey, one of the event founders, said, “Biking is such a powerful activity, to see the beauty of the region and be able to travel by our own power.” The Tour de Farms event allows people “to see how big a local food system is, and connect urban and rural [areas].”

The ride is fairly all-inclusive, providing a light breakfast and light lunch before and during the tour. GObike staff and volunteers provide roadside assistance and MAP follows in support vehicles.

“Last year there was light rain in the morning. We fixed about 50 flat tires on the ride and transported dry clothes for people to change into when they got to the Oles farm,” says Henry Raess, event coordinator for GObike Buffalo. “By the time we got to the final farm the sun was shining. It was a beautiful day, and we have a great time every year.”

For more information go to

WNY VegFest This Sunday In Delaware Park

Filed under: Events, Food

By Melissa Meyer

As far back as the 19th century there were events and gatherings with names like Vegetarian Congress, Vegetarian Week and Vegetarian Conference. Most of them featured music and art along with expressing adherence to a vegetarian diet. Those clunky titles have been exchanged for the much handier VegFest and these food festivals are spreading quickly across America and around the world.

Buffalo’s second WNY VegFest will again be at Marcy Casino & Rose Garden in Delaware Park, this Sunday, August 2, 10am and 6pm. Last year’s VegFest brought in over 5,000 people. That was a surprise to VegFest promoters Albert Brown and Sara Rogers, considering Buffalo is so well known for its wings and beer festivals.VegFest

“We would have been happy if 1,000 people showed up,” said Brown. “I had no idea that the community was going to come out so enthusiastically.”

The success of VegFest is largely a testament to the mindfulness, health awareness, and environmental consciousness of people in Western New York. It is a celebration of being thoughtful about what people put in their bodies, and how they live their lives, affecting all creatures and the planet.

With the theme of this year’s event being A Plant-Based Lifestyle and Its Benefits in an Age of Climate Change, the event is likely to spark some great educational awareness regarding a plant-based lifestyle. Over a dozen speakers and performers will appear at VegFest, along with loads of food from local and regional vendors.

Brown said that the performance and children’s areas will be expanded because they were areas of major success last year. He is especially excited about the aerial artists that will be performing for both adults and children, additionally lowering their silks to do workshop with kids. There will be more dancing, performances, and food, making this a VegFest that emphasizes fun.

For those interested in some physical activity, there is a 5K Tofurky Trot with all proceeds going to WNY’s own Asha Farm Sanctuary and Food Not Bombs, a nonprofit organization that Brown founded. Incorporating a health perspective is something that makes this VegFest unique amongst other festivals. It is the only VegFest with a Tofurky Trot on the East Coast, with the other two being in Portland, OR and Oakland, CA. It is also the largest of its kind. Runners are encouraged to dress up, bring friendly four-legged friends, and walk or run in a natural course where they can enjoy the beauty of nature in one of Buffalo’s most treasured locations.

One of the draws to hosting the festival at Delaware Park is the natural trail for the 5K, “[Hosting at Delaware Park] gives us the opportunity to have the Tofurky Trot there and not in the streets. We can have a natural course. People get to run a trail run, and they’re not in the street potentially blocking traffic,” says Rogers. Brown adds, “Plus, it’s a historic site and a lot of people describe it as the heart of Buffalo…it’s just a cool place to be.”

Buffalo Mayor, Byron Brown and the Buffalo Council declared the first day of VegFest to be Vegan Day in the City of Buffalo. He enjoyed last year’s festivities with the rest of the community. Albert Brown emphasizes, “We are not trying to just hang out with our vegan friends. We are trying to get a message to those who have not yet seen the benefits of this lifestyle, and the only way to do that is through kindness, respect, humility, and inviting them to a party!”

Everyone in the region is encouraged to come out for the event. “This is for everybody. This is not just a vegan thing. I want people to know that they’re not going to be judged, that this is going to be a fun time, more like a party than an educational seminar where you’re going to feel guilty afterwards. Our goal is to make people see how in a fun way, a plant-based lifestyle can be beneficial to themselves and the world. And that’s our mission,” says Brown. He continues, “These changes [take] little effort and make you start feeling good about your choices.”

WNY VegFest is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring vegan food donations for Buffalo’s Food Not Bombs. Runner registration begins at 9:30am, with the 5K starting at 11:00am. Runners are encouraged to register in advance. On site animal adoptions will be featured, as well many vendors, speakers, musicians, performers, and artists. For more information, visit



Double Up Food Bucks WNY Expands to More Farmers Markets in 2015 Season




—-For Immediate Release—-


Buffalo, NY:

Field & Fork Network, a local non-profit organization, is thrilled to announce the expansion of their SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) incentive Double Up Food Bucks WNY to more farmers markets across the region this season. Families and individuals who rely on food assistance will have a little bit extra to spend this season on fresh New York State (NYS) grown fruits and vegetables from now until October 31, 2015 at 15 participating farmers markets across 5 WNY counties.

Double Up Food Bucks WNY is a robust SNAP incentive program that provides a $1 for $1 match – up to $20 per market visit per day – for anyone who chooses to spend their SNAP dollars at a participating farmers market. The Double Up Food Bucks incentive dollars can only be used to purchase NYS grown fruits and vegetables. In 2014, Field & Fork Network in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Harvest NY, piloted the Double Up Food Bucks program at 7 local farmers markets with outstanding results. There was a 219% increase in SNAP purchases and a 415% increase in overall food assistance purchases at participating farmers markets. There were over 3000+ SNAP transactions completed and more than 1,000+ new SNAP customers came out to the markets to shop during the 16 week pilot.

Many customers who used Double Up Food Bucks WNY during the 2014 pilot said they benefited from the program. More than 90% of customers surveyed said they were purchasing more fruits and vegetables and 93% of customers said they were eating more fruits and vegetables as a result of the program. Additionally, the Double Up Food Bucks WNY program allows for federal food assistance dollars to be redirected into the local food and farming community. More than 70% of participating farmers said they were making more money and 62% of farmers reported having a new customer base as a result of the program.

“We feel fortunate to bring a program like Double Up Food Bucks to WNY where there is a need for greater access to fresh, affordable foods in many of our urban and rural communities. And the redirection of federal food assistance dollars into our local food and agriculture economy and into the hands of our local farmers is a bonus!” states Lisa Tucker, Co-founder and Executive Director of Field & Fork Network.

The following philanthropic foundations and corporations provide funding for the Double Up Food Bucks WNY SNAP incentive program; the John R. Oshei Foundation, Univera Healthcare, Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, East Hill Foundation, Grigg Lewis Foundation, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, First Niagara Foundation and M&T Bank.

The Double Up Food Bucks WNY is available from July 1, 2015-October 31, 2015. Below is a complete list of Double Up Food Bucks WNY participating farmers markets for 2015. For more information please visit

Double Up Food Bucks WNY Farmers Markets

Allegany County

Southern Tier Farmers Market – Belmont

32 Willets Avenue


Thursdays 11am-5pm

Cattaraugus County

Southern Tier Farmers Market – Franklinville

13 Park Square


Wednesdays 3pm-6pm


Southern Tier Farmers Market – Olean

1900 Constitution Avenue


Fridays 2pm-6pm


Southern Tier Farmers Market – Salamanca

12 Park Avenue


Tuesdays 11am-5pm


R.E.A.P. Olean Farmers Market

Walmart Plaza, 3142 W. State Street


Saturdays 8am-1pm


Chautauqua County

Downtown Jamestown Farmers Market

Cherry Street between 3rd & 2nd Streets



Thursdays 12pm-6pm

Fredonia Farmers Market

Church Street, Downtown Fredonia


Saturdays 9am-1pm


Erie County

Clinton Bailey Farmers Market

1443-1517 Clinton Street

Open Year-Round

Summer: May-November

Saturdays 6am-6pm

Sundays 8am-1pm

Mon-Fri 7am-6pm


Downtown Buffalo Country Market

Main Street between Court St. & Church St.


Tuesdays & Thursdays 8am-2:30pm


ECMC Farmers Market at Grider St.

Across the street from Erie County Medical Center


Fridays 10am-3pm


Elmwood Bidwell Farmers Market

Corner of Elmwood Avenue & Bidwell Parkway


Saturdays 8am-1pm


Massachusetts Avenue Project – Mobile Market


MAP Farm Stand 389 Massachusetts Ave Tuesdays 4-7 pm

Gerard Place 2515 Bailey Ave Wednesdays 11am-1pm

FLARE 307 Leroy Ave Wednesdays 4-6 pm

Harmac Medical Products 2201 Bailey Ave Thursdays 11am-1pm

Elim Christian Fellowship 70 Chalmers Ave Thursdays 4-7 pm

The Salvation Army 960 Main St Fridays 11am-1pm


North Buffalo Farmers Market

1113 Hertel Avenue


Thursdays 3pm-7pm

Niagara County

Lockport Community Market

Historic Canal Street


Saturdays 9am-2pm


North Tonawanda Farmers Market

Robinson Street near Payne Avenue

Year Round

Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays 8am-1pm


Local Restaurant Week is Underway!

Filed under: Announcements, Food

logo_largeMarch 9th – March 15th

The Dish:
Local Restaurant Week is a biannual event that celebrates the vital role our local independent restaurants and vendors play in contributing to Western New York’s cultural identity and regional economy. And that’s just for starters. For diners, it’s also an opportunity to feed their curiosity by sampling new foods and experiences at our local independent restaurants. With Dining Features starting at just $20.15, diners have a great reason to skip the usual national chains and give local independent restaurants a try. Of course, the money diners spend at our locally owned independent restaurants stays right here in WNY and helps make our community stronger.

Local Restaurant Week is one of the largest independent restaurant promotions in the country
• Includes 200 participating restaurants: casual, fine dining, ethnic and eclectic!
• $8 million annual local economic impact
• Local food service industry is the region’s second largest employer
• Local independent restaurants contribute immeasurably to our regional culture
• Encourages participating restaurants to support local vendors

The Dates:
March 9th – March 15th, 2015

Additional Helpings:

Follow us:

Mercado WNY and Neapolitan Pizza

Back in 2010, we were driving home from a Spring break trip to the Destin when we stopped off in Knoxville, TN for the night. Having no idea where to go for dinner, I thought pizza would be good, so I looked on Yelp and Urbanspoon for the best pizza in Knoxville. The answer was “Hard Knox Pizza“.  A quick-serve location, it had a simple menu with a boxing theme, a few beers on tap, and a wood-burning pizza oven. It was one of the first and most successful purveyors of what’s known in pizza circles as “Neo-Neapolitan” – taking the basics of Neapolitan pizza-making and giving it a contemporary twist. I spoke with the owner back then and learned a lot about how he got started and what it took for him to make a successful business.  Here’s a picture of the pie I had in Knoxville in late April 2010: 

Pizza snobs will tell you that proper Neapolitan pizza is done in such a way that it’s even governed by a few ad hoc bodies approving places as being “Verace Pizza Napoletana”, or similar. Under the VPN guidelines, you have to use a specific type of flour, San Marzano tomatoes, “00” flour and a very simple dough recipe, specific types of cheeses, a dollop of olive oil, and a few basil leaves to make the proper Neapolitan “Margherita” pizza.  The only other two official Neapolitan pies are the Marinara and the Margherita “extra”. There are several authentic VPN-certified locations in Toronto that offer up not just great pies, but a fun atmosphere; Queen Margherita Pizza, Pizzeria Libretto, and Pizza e Pazzi, to name a few. 

There are none in Buffalo. There are a few places that do something very close to the real thing – the 99 Brick Oven in Lancaster has a Marra Forno gas-assisted oven and produces a good pie. Rocco’s on Transit in East Amherst has a certification from a competing Neapolitan pizza group, and produces quality pies in wood-burning ovens, but you have to ask them to not spread olive oil over the cornicione for it to be really good. But no one in WNY consistently does anything resembling what’s happening in Toronto and the rest of North America. 

Last February, we traveled to the Southwest US and one of the stops we planned was to visit Pizzicletta in Flagstaff. Caleb Schiff had bicycled throughout Italy and built a wood-fired oven in his backyard, and we followed along on as he set up his tiny Neapolitan pizza place, and we had to try it. It was a revelation – again, simple little place with simple ingredients making outstanding pies – with no certification. My favorite was the Amore oi Mari – 

Pizzicletta's Amore Oi Mari

Mascarpone, arugula, pecorino, prosciutto di Parma, and a drizzle of Meyer lemon olive oil – it was a rich, satisfying concoction the likes of which I haven’t had before or since. Well, since – I’ve tried to duplicate it a few times, but the mascarpone gets too gloppy and I haven’t figured out how to spread it more evenly. That’s a picture of the one we had in Flagstaff last February.  If I could, I’d drop everything and fly out to Arizona right now to have one and spend the next day at the Grand Canyon. 

Here’s Caleb hard at work: 

Caleb at work

Simplicity. Simple, fresh ingredients and a pie made in a Stefano Ferrara oven with love. It’s art. 

This past week, we went to one of our favorite local pizza places – La Hacienda in Niagara Falls. The owner is a great guy and he makes one of the best pizzas in the area. His menu contains an entire history of the Margherita pizza, and a funny quote about how they’re still “learning the ropes” and they hope to get it right someday. 

So, Mercado Revolution is introducing a European market concept to WNY. It’s something that’s been done in other cities, and will be modeled after the markets in Spain and the Union Market in D.C. It’ll have tapas, cheeses, chocolate, coffee, nuts, ice cream from Lake Effect and a Lloyd’s Taco test kitchen. The ambitious Kickstarter campaign concludes this Thursday, and it has a way to go to meet its goal, but it’s almost halfway there. It needs your help. 

One of the foods on offer will be wood-fired Neapolitan pizza. Whether it’ll be certified VPN or not, it’s too early to tell.  I can tell you that I intend to be involved in that venture in some capacity. I want to introduce this product that I think is so awesome to WNY – one of the simplest and oldest Mediterranean foods there is. If all goes well, we’ll have a Ferrara oven and it’ll be done right – it will be done to my satisfaction and in a way that will hopefully convert people over to the Neapolitan way. I will be your wood-burning pizza proselytizer-in-chief. 

If you want to see this happen, kick in to the Kickstarter and get Mercado over the hump

(This is not an April Fool’s prank, BTW)

Older Posts »