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Total Solar Eclipse 2024: Where to Eat in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse

Traveling to Upstate New York to witness totality? You can't miss these meals.

<p>Bar Bill Tavern</p>

Bar Bill Tavern

Western and Central New York often hide in the shadows of New York City — but, on Monday, April 8, shadows will become the region’s claim to fame. Shortly after 3 p.m., a total solar eclipse will pass through Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, prompting a surge of visitors. The Buffalo area alone anticipates up to one million tourists.

That’s a lot of mouths to feed. Luckilly, Upstate New York is up for the task. Many of the area’s foods — wings, garbage plates, beef on weck — have amassed name recognition. Below, you’ll find recommendations for these classics, as well as modern, innovative restaurants that range from cozy cafes to interactive dining experiences. With a little planning, you’ll pair totality’s three-plus minutes with three A-plus meals. 

Before the Moon Moves

Clementine, Fairport
Rochester
has a beloved coffee scene, but just outside the city, Fairport’s Clementine draws inspiration from Mexico. The airy cafe serves chorizo breakfast burritos and season-specific lattes primed for a slow morning — or a walk along the Erie Canal. 

Butter Block, Buffalo
Buffalo
’s Butter Block lives up to its name, thanks to an arsenal of flaky croissants, morning buns, and artisanal pop-tarts that are a far cry from the boxed breakfast. The bakery closes on Mondays, so plan your pastry pickup for the weekend. Or head across the street for a loaf of Five Points Bakery’s cheddar bread.

Related: Total Solar Eclipse 2024: Where to Go, How to View It, and What to Eat

After the Sun Sets

Aurora Cooks!, Aurora
Cayuga Lake’s Aurora Cooks! embraces seasonal ingredients in a four-course, demonstrative experience. As you sip on a glass of Finger Lakes wine, you’ll watch Chef Lou Ruscitto-Donato create a meal of her choosing. Half the fun is in the creativity, both on the dish and around the room; the restaurant displays artworks collected by Pleasant Rowland, founder of American Girl and owner of the Inns of Aurora.  

Leonore’s, Rochester 
Rochester’s Park Avenue has something Manhattan’s doesn’t: the Swan Family, who own four restaurants on the quaint — but lively — street. Leonore’s opened last spring and takes a modern, fusion approach to Southeast Asian cuisine. With a rotating menu, an open-fire kitchen, and a cool, grotto-esque ambiance, Leonore’s serves both small and large plates, all meant to be shared.

Pastabilities, Syracuse
A Syracuse institution, Pastabilities has rallied quite the fan base around its homemade pastas and beloved spicy hot tomato oil. The restaurant is more Italian-American than Italian, and its lunch and dinner menus feature all of the cuisine’s classics, as well as Upstate New York-specific dishes. Since you’re in the area, you can’t go wrong with an iteration of chicken riggies, which originated in nearby Utica.

La Divina, Buffalo

Casual Buffalo restaurant La Divina doubles as a Mexican grocery store, with a warm and colorful (but no-fuss) ambiance. While you can choose between different tacos and quesadillas, don’t leave without trying at least one birria taco. If you’re a messy eater, snag a seat at one of the red high-top tables, though there’s no better option for an eclipse picnic.

<p>Aurora Cooks!</p>

Aurora Cooks!

Related: Sonic's Blackout Slush Float Is Perfect for the Solar Eclipse — and It Comes With Eclipse Glasses

The Classics: Wings, Weck, and Hot Dogs

Nine-Eleven Tavern, Buffalo 
Let’s get this out of the way: Buffalo’s best chicken wings are widely debated, but no place does them quite like Nine-Eleven Tavern. Don’t let the restaurant’s unassuming South Buffalo location trick you; you won’t find crispier, saucier wings anywhere in the city. The cash-only restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays, however, so if you’re traveling for eclipse weekend, go sooner, rather than later. 

Bar-Bill, Rochester and Buffalo
If you prefer weck with your wings, Erie County’s Bar-Bill Tavern has three locations, the newest of which opened in Rochester last summer. At any of the bunch, opt for beef on weck and an order of cajun honey butter barbecue wings — a favorite of Bills superstar Josh Allen

Dogtown, Rochester
Upstate New York’s hot dogs aren’t your average ball game snack. In Rochester’s love-it-or-hate-it garbage plate, white or red hots often star on a bed of macaroni salad and crispy potatoes, all smothered in meat sauce. Sound intriguing, or bizarre enough to try? Dogtown goes all-in on traditional plates, while The Red Fern serves a vegan “compost plate.”

Heid’s, Syracuse
For hot dogs sans any garbage, Syracuse’s Heid’s is a rite of passage; go for a coney with Texas hot, mustard, and onions.

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