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Roadtrip from NYC to Niagara Falls - must eat along the way?

Hello hounds -

I'm driving from NYC to Niagara Falls this coming weekend. Any recommendations in the Niagara Falls region, or along the way? The planned route: 206/209 to 81 to 90. I'm looking for lower budget, American-style delicious-ness - think BBQ, diners, etc. I love those high end restaurants, but I don't have the cash for it!

Thanks for any tips.


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  1. We ate at Tommy Ryans Diner (1 Prospect Point), right at the base of Niagara Falls last month and had a delightful lunch. The place has a very retro look, and we had salads thet were good. The burgers and other dishes looked even better. The place is very American looking. Prices very reasonable.

    On the other hand, if you want barbecue, get off 81 at route 90, NY Thruway and go into Syracuse to 'The Dinosaur'. Terrific slow cooked ribs and excellent beans and slaw. Prices very reasonable. Watch out for crowds in the evening, especially Friday and Saturday. They opened a branch in NYC last month and it is very popular. There is also one in Rochester.

    1. At exit 45 (first exit for Rochester), there is a host of "chain" restaraunts right off the Thruway (Chili's, Champs, Chicago Bar&Grill, PF Changs). There is also a Bar and Grill called "Thirsty Turtle" (no affiliation to the Bar&Grills in White Plains or Stamford). They serve bar food, nice & cheap. If you feel adventurous, follow 490West into downtown Rochester to check out Dinosuar BBQ, Sticky Lips BBQ, or take the Culver Road exit to Park Ave and turn left, putting you smack in the center of everything hip that Rochester has to offer. Sinbad's, Cibon's, and the staple "Jine's" all have great food and terrific prices.

      1. For a real taste of Americana- try the Misty Dog Grille- a great hot dog stand in N. Falls on the US side right before the border... something like 30 different kinds of dogs (and they'll make whatever you want if you don't see it). Good sides too, and not pricey. Good frozen custard right next door. A must stop for my family!
        I would reccommend getting something in Syracuse before you get on the Thruway (it's a pain to get off and on with the tolls). Dinosaur BBQ is pretty good, but v. busy on weekends. Dakota's serves BBQ and American fare, and is right around the corner (Fayette St.), new but I hear good things. Not far from 81 and Thruway.

        1. Just off exit 45 of the Thruway, just south of Rochester, in the pretty little hamlet of Bushnell's Basin, you'll find a branch of the Tom Wahl's chain. Great blue cheese burger, excellent local hot dogs, and root beer in frosty mugs.
          Take I-490 north to exit 27. Make a right onto Pittsford-Victor Road. Wahl's is inside a small strip mall across from a Hess station.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dw438

            Great tip, dw! Tom Wahl's is definitely worth a stop! How I miss it!

          2. Waterloo Exit.The Farm Restaurant. American Diner, excellent, cheap

            1. Ted's on Transit Road, a tad north of the Depew exit, approaching Buffalo. The best hot dog in The
              Universe. Charcoal grilled to order, tons of condiments (get the homemade hot sauce), and onion rings of the the very highest order. A Buffalo institution.

              1. A lot of great replies. If the Dinosaur is to crowded ask for directions to Weber's. Big menu,good prices. On the North side not far from the Dinosaur (on the corner of First North and Danforth St.s). Try their "Beef on Weck" or on Sat. "Giant Hocks & kraut. They make their own mustard and it is the BEST!
                Teds hot dogs in Buffalo (12 locations) are great. Gitzis on Monroe Ave. in Rocester also very good and in Syracuse it's Heid's and also Hoffmans Hot Haus (several locations) for hot dogs & etc. If you are in Buffalo for breakfast there is a pancake house on Main St. in Williamsville, not far off I-290. Well worth the short detour and if you stay on Main St. North it will take you to Transit Rd. and South to exit 49 (I-90).

                1. If you come over to the Canadian side (Which you should) try and make your way down river to Niagara On The Lake. It's a beautiful little town at the mouth of the Niagara River. There's a place there called the "Olde Angel Inn" which has some really terrific food. Great old building with a ghost story and a turtle cheesecake for desert that'll make your knees weak.


                  1. If you're staying on the American side of the falls, YOU HAVE TO TRY FRENCHY'S PIZZA!!! It's on Niagara Street about 5-10 minutes from the Rainbow Bridge. It's a real dive, but the pizza is unbelievable. The sauce and the bread are to die for! For a large party, you can get the party tray which is 30 slices (or pieces as they call it)..... a big rectangular pizza cut into squares. There were 6 of us and we still couldn't finish it. The walls are decorated with Buffalo Bills jerseys and some movie memorablia. It's cash only.

                    We were at Seneca Casino and had an urge for pizza -- we asked the security guard if there were any great pizza places around and he said that Frenchy's is the only place in the "almost immediate" area to go for pizza. It's 19 blocks from the casino so you'll have to drive. And he was absolutely right! This is our new "must-go" place when we go to visit the falls. Even if we are on the Canadian side, we'll cross the border specifically for this place now!