William Altreuter tells us what’s good in the neighborhood

Walking through his favorite Buffalo haunts

Published in 2023 Upstate New York Super Lawyers magazine

By William C. Altreuter on August 18, 2023


Best place to take a client:

Ristorante Lombardo. First-rate Italian fare, deep wine list, excellent service. Since the pandemic, online depositions have become more common, but I have clients who have insisted on appearing in person so they can go back here.

Favorite watering hole:

Coles. We’re a beer town, and Coles has the best taps of anywhere in WNY.

Local beverage of choice:

We truly live in a golden age when it comes to local microbreweries, which abound here in the Queen City of the Lakes. The beer you are most likely to encounter is Big Ditch’s Hayburner, a well-balanced IPA that you’ll find in pretty much every bar—and in most people’s refrigerators.

Favorite sports bar:

The Draft Room. Or you could just walk into any bar during hockey or football season. It’s not like people in Buffalo aren’t obsessed with our teams.

Favorite building:

Buffalo is noted for its historic architecture: It has more Frank Lloyd Wright houses than any other city east of the Mississippi. Check out the Darwin D. Martin House—worth just driving by but, if you can, call to schedule a tour.

Ugliest building:

Lackawanna City Hall is strikingly unattractive, built on stilts to accommodate parking and covered in safety-orange metal panels. It really has to be seen to be believed.

Best restaurant:

There are a number of great choices, but high on my list is Oliver’s, a restaurant that prepares the best ingredients with skill and imagination—and presents them with panache and wit in surroundings that are comfortable and elegant.

Weekend getaway:

Across the Niagara River in Canada is Niagara-on-the-Lake, home of the summertime Shaw Festival and as pretty a garden spot as you’ll find outside of a Victorian novel.

Favorite historical fact:

Buffalo looms large in U.S. presidential history: Millard Filmore and Grover Cleveland came from here, Filmore is buried here, William McKinley was assassinated here, and Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in here.

Favorite historical site:

McKinley was shot on the grounds of the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, now a residential street with an unassuming stone marker on the spot. There’s also a huge marble fountain commemorating the slain president in front of Buffalo City Hall, which features carved lions done by Alexander Phimister Proctor.

Favorite city event:

The annual Super Bowl Victory Parade. The art galleries in the city are free and open to the public on the first Friday of every month.

Favorite historical resident:

Samuel Clemens springs to mind. He lived here for a while and was editor of the Buffalo Express. The original manuscript of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is on view at the main branch of the library.

Best view:

You are going to go to Niagara Falls. There are those who will tell you that the best view is from the Canadian side, and there’s no point in arguing. But after you’ve looked at the water for about two minutes, turn around and look at all the people who have come from all over the world to see the same thing, and consider their journey.

Favorite park:

Buffalo’s parks are famous, designed by Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. But since you are in Niagara Falls already, have a walk around the Niagara Falls State Park (on the U.S. side), also an Olmsted park.

Go-to sports venue:

Have a hot dog and a beer at Sahlen Field, the home of the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons and one of the nicest minor league ballparks in the country.

Go-to arts venue:

The Buffalo AKG Art Museum is reopening this summer and features an amazing collection of impressionist and modern works. Across the street is the Burchfield Penney Art Center, which houses works by American impressionist Charles E. Burchfield and contemporary artists.

Most heartbreaking city sports moment:

You had to ask, didn’t you?

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