If you grew up in Buffalo, there’s certain words or phrases you say on a regular basis that just roll off the tongue. But welcome an out of town guest here and I’m sure upon hearing words like “weck” and “Scajaquada”, they’ll think to themselves, “Huh?” But that’s ok, consider it our own Buffalo dialect. For those of you thinking about visiting Buffalo, brush up on a few of these sayings that you’ll only hear in Buffalo so you can feel like a local.
A couple of interesting things about this one. First, nobody nails the pronunciation (ska-JACK-qua-dah) on their first try; it takes repetition before it sticks. Since this is one of Buffalo’s highly trafficked roads, it’s an important name to learn if you want to come across as a local. And to impress people, you could also mention that it shares a name with an Erie County creek. Or take the safe option by calling the Scajaquada, simply, “The 198.”
When you first try loganberry, it might make you think it’s a regional variation of cranberry juice. It’s not. You might also think the name “logan” references a regional celebrity in Buffalo. It doesn’t. But if you can get beyond these initial assumptions, it’s a tasty berry beverage – found in most supermarkets and at your friendly neighborhood Jim’s Steakout. (Author’s note: It also tastes great combined with Sierra Mist.)
Seriously, what the heck is weck? Arguably, it’s one of Buffalo’s best food inventions outside of the wing. The easiest description focuses on the Kimmelweck roll, which has the consistency of a Kaiser roll sprinkled with caraway seeds and kosher salt. Delicious.
Taking this a step further, it’s almost impossible not to mention “beef on weck,” a roast beef sandwich to end all roast beef sandwiches. One caution – if you mention beef on weck, you probably need to mention Schwabl’s. These terms can quickly take you down the rabbit hole of local terminology. But they’re also a recipe for an exceptional lunch option.
If you’re in the Southtowns it could mean a lot of things. On autumn Sundays, you could be headed to the Bills game in Orchard Park. During winter, you’re in the snow belt or ski country (depending on who you ask). And in the spring or summer, you’re seeing an idyllic picture of suburban life. The Southtowns are the home of former U.S. president Millard Fillmore, a lakeside Frank Lloyd Wright estate, a local tavern that consistently ranks at the top of the list for local wing lovers and much more.
Buffalo’s not alone in this one. The Pacific Northwest and a couple of other regions also refer to soda as “pop” – probably as a conspiracy invented by carbonated beverage companies to stir up conversation. I’ve heard others refer it as tonic. And I’ve even read that other parts of the U.S. refer to it as “cola.” Not just Coca-Cola either. Odd. In Buffalo, hands down it’s pop.
Wings. Not Buffalo Wings.
This is important, as it might help save embarrassment. When ordering wings anywhere in the region – from Gabriel’s Gate, Duff’s, Bar Bill, Anchor Bar, or anywhere in between – you don’t need the “Buffalo” qualifier. Much like “french fries” or “milk shake,” you’ll get the point across with the second word. Just be prepared to know ahead of time whether you want them mild, medium or hot.
Out of all terms, this might be the easiest to understand. This is a commonly used phrase to describe a serpentine-shaped section of Delaware Avenue that connects parts of North Buffalo and the West Side. It’s a good landmark to describe when giving directions. And almost certainly easier than describing it as “that section of Delaware Avenue between the Hoyt Lake section of Delaware Park and Forest Lawn Cemetery.”
If you stop to ask for directions from a local and the route requires travel on a highway, be prepared to hear something like this, “Ok so take the 33 to the 90 to the 290 and get off at exit 6.” In other parts of the country, they’ll say “I-90” or “Interstate 90” or “the highway”, but here we keep it simple with “THE” (insert route/highway number here). It may sound different from what you hear elsewhere but take comfort in knowing that we’re the City of Good Neighbors for a reason, so we don’t mind giving directions 😉