Matt Carlucci and Keith Wilson might not be household names but I think you should be familiar with who they are. Not only did they organize this years Soup-Fest (which was a huge hit in only it’s first year) but they are also the organizers of the Pizza-Bash which is coming up at the end of the month (and have their hands in many other events).
With the Soupfest, they put together such a fantastic food event and demonstrated a love and appreciation of Buffalo’s restaurant scene that I figured they’d be great Buffalo Foodies. So I got a hold of them on facebook and sent them the usual questions and it turns out that I was right! From their answers you can tell they have made their way around Buffalo’s restaurants, here is what Matt and Keith had to say about their favorite places to eat in Buffalo….
Where are some of your favorite places to eat in Western New York?
Keith: Wow…How does one engage his response to that question??? I love all of Buffalo food! On the upscale side, I would say Hutch’s, Carmines, Brodo, Chophouse, and Fiamma. All of these places have amazing steaks and seafood. I really enjoy the chef specials like a veal chop or “Cowboy” bone-in ribeye. My comfort food places would be Irishman, Al-E-OOPs, Mother’s, Fuji Grill, and Fat Bob’s. My favorite secret locations that I just found during the Soup-fest…Mooney’s Bar and Grill, Savory’s restaurant, Manny’s, Bellevue Hotel…all have amazing home cooked meals, large portions, and great price.
Matt: I have a very eclectic pallet that operates independently of the rest of my body. I appreciate a rare filet and a lobster tail as much as the next guy, but I’m really a deep fried comfort food kind of guy in reality. A double order of wings from The Bar Bill in EA is a great place to start. Fish fry at The French Pub or Wiechec’s on a Friday night is always a winner too. Dutchess of Ireland soup at Eddie Ryans and a pot pie. By the way, EB Greens or Fiamma for a filet and Western Door for a great lobster tail. I’ve also recently discovered Encore and their lobster pot pie, OMG.
Where do you like to grab a drink and hang out on the weekends or after work?
Keith: I don’t drink, but for socializing I would say Snooty Fox, Frog Hair, and Blu Martini.
Matt: I’m a bit of a beer snob so places like Blue Monk or The Brew Pub really appeal to me if the main course is Beer. Anthony at the Bijou on Main Street makes the best Gin Gimlet in town if I’m going the liquor route, or the awesome tequila flight option at Sole. Designated driver is a must for those!
If you had a friend visiting you from out of town, where would you take them out for a good “Buffalo” time?
Matt: I always take out-of-towners to either Anchor Bar or Duff’s and tell the story of the original Buffalo Wing. Charlie the Butcher or Schwabl’s is a must too for true “foodie” visitors.
What kind of food memories do you have from growing up?
Keith: I grew up in a heavy Italian family so nothing compared to mama’s cooking. Most of our relatives live in Providence R.I., so I experienced great culinary dishes from Johnson and Wales banquet halls at all the weddings, gatherings, and communion’s.
Matt: My parents both worked a lot so I learned to cook for myself at a young age though I still remember my grandfather, Jim, cooking in the kitchen on Elmwood Ave in a white tshirt and suspenders just like in the Godfather. I was so proud of that.
Is there anything you wish Buffalo had more of (food wise)?
Keith: Buffalo already has a huge variety of food selections, but more healthy selection restaurants need to be around…but this is Buffalo and we are a steak and potato kind of town. I used to own Pautler’s Drive-In restaurant, and we specialized in Sahlen’s hot dogs, but also the best custard. Homemade recipes always kept people coming back.
Matt: If I could add something to Buffalo it would be awareness. We don’t need celebrity chefs and gastro-chemistry creations made with liquid nitrogen. There are a ton of locally owned and operated restaurants with great menus and great prices. People are afraid to stray from the Applebees on the corner because they always know what they are going to get. I don’t blame them. Buffalo is a town of routines. That’s why restaurant week is a great thing. It gives people the opportunity to experience some new things. I would just say do that more often.
I’d like to thank Matt and Keith for taking time out of their busy schedules planning their upcoming events to answer some questions. You can like the Buffalo Soup-Fest or Pizza Bash on Facebook or follow Matt on twitter. You can also check out their other events/projects. Matt is also involved with the Wing Festival, The B Team and Visit Buffalo/Niagara. Keith is involved with Buffalo’s 2nd Chance Prom and Buffalo’s 80′s Bash.