‘White Buffalo’ Bar and Restaurant in Downtown New Canaan an Early Hit

White Buffalo, a bar and restaurant that three town men opened last month down “the alley” at the top of Elm Street, is developing a strong following among locals during its early-going. Approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission last fall for its new restaurant use of a commercial space that had been used in the past for retail and music lessons, White Buffalo includes a 13-stool bar and rows of two-person tables that bring the total seating to about 40 people. 

With a straightforward American sports bar-type decor that includes a prominent white buffalo head and large painted American flag that substitutes white buffalo heads for stars, the eatery’s menu includes traditional pub fare such as nachos, chicken nuggets, wings, hot pretzel and pizza, and is built mainly around hot dogs. “We source our weiners from a Hungarian butcher in Fairfield who started in the business in the 1950s,” said Dave Tonkovich, a 1993 graduate of New Canaan High School who opened ‘White Buff’ with classmate Dom Valente and Doug Harris. “We pick up fresh hot dogs from him every few days.”

Hot dog options include “Dog Day Afternoon” (jalapeños, bacon, cheese sauce and Cholula sauce) and “The Poochie” (guacamole, salsa, crema, bacon). Tonkovich added: “Also a side note, we don’t call it a ‘menu’—we call it ‘legislative requirements.’ ”

“We’re interested in adding a few custom hot dogs to our offering,” he said.

Owners: ’White Buffalo’ Restaurant and Bar To Open Next Week on Elm Street

The New Canaan owners of a hot dog-themed restaurant downtown say they’re gearing up for official opening next week. 

With final town approvals, White Buffalo, to be located down the “alley” at the top of Elm Street, will open March 15 following a soft-launch, according to Dom Valente, who co-owns the new business with New Canaanites Doug Harris and Dave Tonkovich. “We are excited about it,” Valente told NewCanaanite.com. “We have people coming in all the time, popping their heads in and they’re psyched about the whole atmosphere of it.”

Asked about menu and beer items planned for White Buffalo, Harris said that in addition to fresh-made, low-fat hot dogs from an area butcher, the eatery will offer a short list of sandwiches and bar snacks such as wings, quesadillas, chili and hot German pretzels. “We don’t want to do too many things, we want to do a small number of things well,” Harris said. White Buffalo additionally will offer eight beers on tap, including Coors Light, Stella Artois and six microbrews that are local to New England, he said.

Did You Hear … ?

Town Councilman Sven Englund, a longtime volunteer firefighter in New Canaan, said during the legislative body’s regular meeting Wednesday: “I would just like to say, basically, that we are saying ‘goodbye’ to a couple of fire commissioners this month. Al DuPont has moved to California and everyone wishes Al well, and the family. And the other one we are saying goodbye to is Rip Munger, who was fire commissioner for an unprecedented 19 years. We will be having a memorial service Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Wilton Quaker Meeting House. See a lot of big red trucks and blue uniforms.”


The town on Nov.

Hot Dogs and Bratwurst Restaurant ‘White Buffalo’ Proposed for Downtown New Canaan

A new restaurant selling hot dogs and bratwurst is being proposed for a vacant commercial space located off of Elm Street in downtown New Canaan. ‘White Buffalo’ would offer a wide variety of hot dogs—including a “singature” blend of pork, veal and beef— as well cheese-and-sauerkraut, hot and “big bacon cheese” bratwurst topped with relish, spicy mustard, chili, bacon bits and more, according to a draft menu submitted to the Planning & Zoning Commission along with a site plan application for 72 Park St. The commercial building, occupied until recently by New Canaan Music (now at 90 Man St.) is located down “the alley” by the former Chef Luis space. Site plan approval is needed by P&Z for a change of use to food service. Renderings for the long narrow space show a cozy bar with 13 stools and four flatscreen TVs as well as two-top tables lining one wall. 

The eatery would be a truly local affair: The owners of White Buffalo LLC are New Canaan residents, according to records on file with the Connecticut Secretary of the State.