Football weekends are an excuse for eating and drinking copiously while hanging out with friends in front of the TV, whether it’s at someone’s house or a bar. And since we’re here in the land of small apartments, it’s probably the latter. With twelve teams in the playoffs for the long weekend’s games — including the Giants — this is the weekend for eating, drinking, and watching the tube.
Which brings us to Buffalo — with its underdog status as a city, and the astonishing turnaround of Damar Hamlin — who wouldn’t be rooting for the Bills? Besides, Buffalo is one of the great bar food cities in America, with regional delights like beef on weck, spaghetti parm, Buffalo-style pizza (a New York Chicago hybrid), and of course, Buffalo’s number one export, wings. Where should you go to enjoy the food of Buffalo in New York City? We’ve found a handful of options.
East End Bar & Grill
While nominally the special refuge of Syracuse University alums, East End Bar & Grill is a Carnegie Hill institution (it looks like a staid private club from the outside, but it’s really a sports bar with nearly two dozen screens). You can be sure they will all be turned to the big game. As far as food goes, there are more permutations of Buffalo chicken spicing than almost anywhere else, including cauliflower, nachos, pizza, tater tots, and, straining credibility, Buffalo chicken wontons. Actually, they’re good. 1672 Third Avenue, between East 93rd and 94th streets, Upper East Side
Dan & John’s Wings
These bare-bones establishments with locations on the Lower East Side, Murray Hill, and 14th Street have the feel of a pop-up, with a handful of TVs on the wall, some plug-in Buffalo-brand neon signs, and a taxidermy buffalo head at the door. It’s walk-up fast-casual ordering and picnic-table seating which feels a bit soulless, but damn: The wings are really good. Sure you can get teriyaki, sweet chile, lemon pepper, or whatever flavor of the month you crave. But the traditional wings are pretty great. Know that mediums are hotter than most places’ medium and hot is off-the-chart spicy. Over in Brooklyn, there’s also Fulton Ale House, with a staff from Buffalo and Rochester on game days. It also plays the “Shout” song, third-down horn, and sound clips for various players to replicate the stadium experience, and pop-up food that includes beef on weck and Zweigle’s Hots from Rochester. 103 W. 14th Street, near Sixth Avenue, Chelsea
Buffalo’s signature sandwich, and one that is enjoyed all over the Nickel City, is beef on weck. It begins with a stout round roll covered with caraway seeds and coarse salt more properly called a kummelweck, and fills it with rare roast beef topped with prepared horseradish. A good version of the sandwich can be found at Soho Diner and few other places in town. (Bonnie’s Grill in Park Slope is another source.) 320 W. Broadway, between Grand and Canal streets, Soho
Fish and chips are a big deal in Buffalo, partly because of its Catholic heritage (meaning that fish is traditionally consumed every Friday), but also because of its maritime location on Lake Erie — you’re never far from lapping water. The fish is usually fried with a beer batter (beer is big in Buffalo, too), rather than the dusting of flour and cornmeal often used here. That said, the Chippery in the East Village is the best place to get beer-batter-fried fish. Other good sources are Dame, A Salt & Battery, and Snowdonia. 85 First Avenue, at Fifth Street, East Village
All-Star Sports Bar & Grill
Once upon a time, this multi-room sports bar was the Manhattan branch of Buffalo’s Anchor Bar, the presumptive place where spicy wings were invented. Many of the decorations remain — pennants, jerseys, and such — and the wings are as good as ever. But maybe you want to go instead for the Buffalo Mafia burger, named after the football team’s avid fans. A giant patty is topped with Buffalo sauce, pepper jack cheese, and sweet caramelized onions. And there’s a bonus Buffalo wing impaled on the top. 327 W. 57th Street, between Eighth and Ninth avenues, Columbus Circle
This long-running Williamsburg bar is that rare and wonderful combination of dive bar and sports bar, with a sub-specialty in Buffalo sports. It offers Genesee brews and specifically its cream ale in cans, the Rochester-brewed smooth ale that first appeared in 1960 and has long been the unofficial beer of Western New York. Redd’s has it in cans for $3, but for $5 you can get a can and a shot — and what could be more divey? Go Bills! 511 Grand Street, between Union Avenue and Lorimer Street, Williamsburg