For as long as many locals can remember, Buffalo has been widely recognized for one of two things: Buffalo wings and beef on weck. Even the stories that aren't supposed to be about either option can’t resist talking about those two tried and true hometown cuisine mainstays, including a recent New York Times piece that promised to look "beyond the Buffalo wing," but still stuck to guidebook standards like Charlie the Butcher (motto: “Carving Beef on Weck”) and Anchor Bar (“Home of the Original Chicken Wing”) when covering the city. To give you an idea of just how tired the latter's tale is, The New Yorker devoted more than 3,000 words to its legacy 36 years ago. A lot's happened since that lengthy fowl ode, though. For starters, the Buffalo economy took a serious nosedive towards the tail end of the 20th century, mirroring the blue-collar breakdown of nearby Rochester and Syracuse. Still, it’s a city that supports its football team even when it loses four straight Super Bowls. And, that same I-get-knocked-down-but-I-get-up-again spirit applies to its restaurant scene, which has emerged from the Rust Belt rubble with enough momentum to put it on par with Pittsburgh in the comeback kid department. Here are 16 savory reasons to brave the frigid temps that make the Queen City such a winter wonderland. —Andrew Parks

Food & Wine

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