The city of Buffalo, New York is situated on the shores of Lake Erie. In the city proper, the lakefront historically has been fairly industrial (although that has changed). So when city dwellers want to go to the beach, they either head across the border to Canada or to the towns south of the city. It is in one of these south towns in the town of Angola, one can find a place that has been serving beach goers during the summer months for over 75 years: Connors Hot Dog Stand.
Started in 1944 by Buffalo cop Thomas Connors in order to help his son Kevin pay for his college, Connors is still a family owned and operated business. Today, the stand is operated by Thomas’ son Bill Connors and his sister Karen Erickson. Karen, who started working at the stand over 60 years ago when she was 7, still works at Connors every day serving the food that has made them famous.
And the food that has made them famous are the hot dogs and the french fries. The fries are made fresh every day, made from local potatoes so fresh that they were picked from the ground that day. The popular hot dog is pretty basic, leaving it to the customer to put condiments on. The also have cheese dogs and a Buffalo staple: Texas Hots (hot dog served with chili). The food is cooked to order, right in front of you, giving you a better quality dog than a fast food restaurant.
The hot dogs themselves are made from another local favorite: Wardynski’s. Buffalo has a huge Polish population. Many of the historic Polish families were sausage makers. The best ones have stood the test of time and can be found in local meat markets. Wardynski’s, who have been making their sausages in Buffalo for over 100 years, is at the top of the list. They still use the same recipes brought over from Poland by Frank Wardynski.
And what beach hot dog stand could be complete with selling ice cream? For that, Connor’s serves Perry’s Ice Cream, a Western New York institution. Perry’s Ice Cream can be found throughout Buffalo in restaurants and supermarkets. But the benefit of going to a place like Connor’s is that you can get specialty flavors not available at the store. Just take a look at the list of flavors they had on the day we were there. Alas, our schedule did not give us time to try any of these flavors but I am intrigued by many of them. The “Let’s Dough Buffalo” is one am keen on trying.
For decades, stopping at Connors during the summer and getting a hot dog and fries has been a Buffalo tradition. It’s the perfect place to eat on a lazy summer day after spending some time enjoying the beaches of Lake Erie. Connors is open April through September.