Forget the cheeseburger and fries — fast food is getting a makeover. These relatively new spots are serving up quick, gourmet takeout that won’t leave you feeling (as) guilty.
La Divina Mexican Store
2896 Delaware Ave., Kenmore
No need to head south of the border; now you only need to go as far as Kenmore for authentic Mexican cuisine. La Divina, a Mexican grocery store and traditional taqueria, opened last fall and has quickly become a favorite in the neighborhood and beyond (in fact, they’re #9 on Yelp’s 100 places to eat in Buffalo). Not only can you get some of the best tacos in Western New York, but you’ll also find aisles of Mexican produce, pantry staples and more in their stocked grocery section. Owner Sergio Mucino, who also owns Don Tequila and Agave in Buffalo, realized the area’s need for fresh Mexican fast food, so opened this no-frills restaurant that makes tacos from scratch in view of customers.
Lines of hungry patrons are regularly wrapped around the door, and each taco is made to order right behind the bar. La Divina also makes its own corn tortillas (good news if you’re eating gluten free!)
Allen Street Poutine Company
242 Allen St., Buffalo
Chicken wings are to Buffalo as poutine is to Canada. The delicacy consisting of fries, melted cheese and gravy is a classic dish for our neighbors to the north and now Buffalonians can get it, too — and fast — at Allen Street Poutine Company. The restaurant, which opened last July, is owned by Jacob Fraser and Konstantine Kentros, both from Canada, who saw the opportunity for this kind of restaurant in Buffalo and took a chance in Allentown.
“There are poutine franchises with over 100 locations in Canada, plus mom and pop shops too… it’s something that Buffalo just didn’t have yet,” said Fraser. Kentros and Fraser felt Allentown, with its younger population, was the right fit.
Fresh and local ingredients are a focus: hand cut fries, Yancey’s Fancy New York artisan cheese curds, and homemade gravy (vegan or beef options) make up their poutine. There are many versions, including oven roasted pulled pork with homemade barbeque sauce, buffalo chicken poutine and Montreal smoked meat poutine.
3268 Main St., Buffalo
SATO, the popular Japanese restaurant on Elmwood Avenue, recently expanded into University Heights with SATO Ramen, a fast-casual eatery with a focus on ramen noodle soup. Their place on Elmwood paved the way. “Once we got more comfortable and had a good reaction to the ramen, we figured that we could have a true Ramen bar,” said owner Joshua Smith. Housemade noodles join various broths – chicken, beef, pork – and toppings including veggies and meats – to create warm, comforting, authentic goodness. There are also vegan options.
“It’s the perfect timing for us to be here because Buffalo is going through a culinary renaissance,” said Smith. “The average person in Buffalo is interested in trying new things.”