Stepping Off Campus: South Buffalo Favorites

The fall semester is just around the corner. Before you know it, you’ll have your first exams to study for. Sure you could spend the day in the Library or the Commons, but what about the places off campus that offer a better view or maybe even a quick bite? As a South Buffalo Native, I’ve gathered my top three favorite neighborhood hangouts.

Dog Ears Bookstore 

Photo from Buffalorising.com

If you’ve managed to snag a prime parking spot, you may be a little hesitant to sacrifice it. That doesn’t mean you still can’t step off campus! Take a 2-minute walk down to 688 Abbott Road and visit Dog Ears Bookstore. I promise you won’t regret it.

Having gone to Mount Mercy Academy, I often frequented Dog Ears. It’s the perfect place for both a quick cup of coffee and an hour-long study session. Since it’s a small three-room café, there are never too many people inside. Plus, it’s a bookstore. You can guarantee a bit a peace and quiet, too.

I’ve heard great things about their paninis, but I often opt for the French toast. Not enough people know about Dog Ears, and maybe that’s what makes it so quaint. Check it out before everyone else does.

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

Photo from Tripadvisor.com

The second off-campus location I recommend is the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens on 2655 South Park Avenue. It’s worth a full-day trip to explore the inside. But, if you just want a quiet spot to relax or study outside on a sunny day, this is your place.

With free access to a full garden walkway at the left of the building, you don’t need to spend one cent enjoying yourself here. There’s a hidden gazebo, fountain, and public benches tucked inside this exploding garden. Every time I come back, I’m greeted by new colors and sounds. This is one of my favorite places to be.

With a golf course behind the greenhouse, and a 3-mile bike path surrounding the entire grounds (that includes a nature preserve, too) this spot doubles as the perfect workout location. If you ever bike to class, make it a point to bike here afterwards!

Undergrounds Coffee House and Roastery

My final favorite is the furthest spot from campus. Undergrounds Coffee House and Roastery lies in the heart of the Old First Ward community, on 580 South Park Avenue. This café is bringing life back into an industrial area- despite the location’s unique past as a funeral home.

A bit larger than Dog Ears, Undergrounds offers a cool atmosphere, which can be either silent or roaring no matter the day or time. One Friday morning I enjoyed one of their cold brew coffees, the only person in the entire place. I decided to speak with the owners and ask what food they recommended to try.

I was told the “Colonel Francisco”, a chipotle-seasoned breakfast sandwich that I found myself enjoying that following Friday, in a room teeming with people. Because the business is still in its first years, I can’t say that there’s a ‘best time’ to visit. If you don’t mind working in a loud space, and love a unique experience, give Undergrounds a try. I go there the most often of my three suggested places now, and that’s just because I’m making my way through their delicious menu!

By summer 2017 intern Tierney McGilvray