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BBQ & Breakfast in Buffalo?

  • m

Coming in from Toronto for a Sunday. Looking for good BBQ and breakfast.

BBQ- Have heard good things about Kentucky Gregs. Any good? A friend of mine likes Smokey Bones. I've never been to either. Any other places??

Brekky- I went to the Original Pancake House in Williamsville last year. Not bad, the bacon pancakes, which were awesome, were by far the best thing there. The rest I was a bit lukewarm on. Any other good tasty downhome breakfast joints to send me to??


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    I think Kentucky Gregs is the best in the area. As far as breakfast, you've been to the best as far as I'm concerned.

    1 Reply
    1. re: houdini

      Thanks houdini, will check out the link...

      Damn, KG's website lists them as closed on Sundays. Not good news for me...

    2. I really love KGs. One Eyed Jacks in Lockport is not bad for BBQ, but kinda far.

      *I* have never been, but I was told that Betty's on Virginia St is really good for b-fast food. But I gotta say I am still as huge fan of OPH, even tho it's a chain :)

      3 Replies
      1. re: L_W

        Chains are fine! Hey as long as they're good right...

        1. re: magic

          Agreed....just wasn't sure if you were looking for something "unique"....when I go to places that have Waffle Houses, I cannot help but give into their greasy b-fasts, even tho my stomach hates me later in the day :)

      2. Since you'll be in on a Sunday, you'll have some good, upscale brunch choices. Shango, Left Bank, and Nekktar have the best offerings for around $11-$16 for a heaping plate, including breads, coffee/tea, and I think a drink (at Nektar). Betty's is more of a down-home, standard kind of breakfast spot ($7-$12), with fresh, locally-produced offerings, and some good vegan and vegetarian choices in the mix. It gets packed on Sundays, though. There's also the diner circuit, but I'd avoid that if I had the options listed above...

        KG is also my BBQ choice but if they are closed Sunday's, I'd recommend Suzy Qs. I thought it was really good the one time I went. I don't know that they are open Sunday, though. BW's out in Blasdell is a step down, but passable. I would avoid Fat Bob's if you're looking for good BBQ. I see it pop up here every once and while as a recommended spot, but frankly, their BBQ is not up to snuff.

        11 Replies
        1. re: RosemaryHoney

          Thanks for the suggestions. Fantastic. I'm trying to stick with something not too upscale, just good and comfortable. But mainly good!

          Too bad KG's is closed Sundays! Damn. My friend likes Smokey Bones. What's that like?? Any thoughts....

          1. re: magic

            Smokey Bones is a chain - but not bad!. But I'd second Suzy Q's. Diddo - skip Fat Bob's. If you want brunch, that's a different story. I call "Brunch" someplace I can get a Bloody Mary or Mimosa - OPH can't do that - but the above listed options are good.

            1. re: houdini

              No no, breakfast is fine and good. Not "brunch" per se.

              Ya Smokey Bones is a chain but I've heard good things. Suzy Q's. Will def look it up!

              These are all very helpful, thank you!

              1. re: magic

                As a member of a KCBS competition barbeque team, I feel like I need to speak up here.
                Smokey Bones is a chain that does not "barbeque" on site. I believe all their meat is smoked offsite, sealed in kryo bags, and then reheated before serving. Yes, the meat has the signature red smoke rings you should see in authentic bar-b-que, but the whole TGI-McFunsters cookie-cutter-corporate atmosphere really leaves me cold.
                Calling Smokey Bones a bar-b-que joint is akin to calling Applebee's a neighborhood grill.

                Some authentic barbeque places I would suggest are...

                Donnie's Smokehouse - 833 Jefferson Avenue Buffalo (716)884-2191
                Probably the best in Buffalo. The neighborhood could be somewhat rough.

                Kentucky Gregs - Two locations in Cheektowaga & Orchard Park.
                Very Good. Sorry to hear they are not open Sundays.

                One Eyed Jacks - 5983 Transit Rd Lockport.
                Very Good - Worth the trip.

                Buffalo Barbecue & Brew, 1680 Elmwood Ave (716)362-2602
                Very Good - Their sauce is a little too sweet for my taste.

                SuzyQs Barbeque 2829 Niagara St (716) 873-0757
                Very Good - Been a few times, but not recently.

                After many "benefit of the doubt," I too, have given up on Fat Bob's. From over seasoning, to under smoking, to consistency problems, I can just can not recommend this restaurant.
                On a separate note....
                For breakfast, Original Pancake House rocks!!!
                My favorite is the Apple pancake, an egg and apple creation that is out of this world.

                1. re: jerryc123

                  Appreciate the passion! Thanks very much.

                  I'm from Toronto so needless to say BBQ is not a part of our culture. I mean, it's a part of MY culture, but my point is that there's slim pickins up here to say the least when it comes to authentic BBQ. One place does a great job (Buster Rhino’s) and a bunch of places that say they are trying but totally don’t get it. But BBQ and the interest in authentic BBQ is booming here. Within a few years I think we'll have a half-dozen or so quality places that serve real BBQ – not just the one.

                  In the meantime I'm happy to give any place a chance, including Smokey Bones, chain notwithstanding. I'm fully and completely aware that chains do their own thing and their products are not even to be whispered in the same vein as true BBQ. I know that. Problem is, I'm coming in on a Sunday and most mom and pops places seem to close then. Plus I've heard enough good things about SB to at least warrant a visit to see for myself. Especially if my first options are closed that day.

                  To me, tasty is tasty. While it's certainly true that you can’t compare true BBQ to what the chains serve, I’m open to give things a shot. As long as I leave happy I won’t die if things are smoked offsite with very little love and adherence to tradition, and are not nearly as good as the real deal.

                  Thanks for all these other recs! Will absolutely look into them now. My Sunday plans have kind of fallen through but I will need these in the near future. Awesome.

                  As an aside, love that you are a member of the KCBS. I’ll be seeing you at the Royal in October!!!!!

                  1. re: jerryc123

                    Donnie's!! Ooooh..I'm so glad someone mentioned Donnie's Smokehouse. That really is the best BBQ in Buffalo! And it's OPEN ON SUNDAYS!!! I don't know why I didn't remember that...

                    Ok, the neighborhood gets a bad rep, but it's actually getting better. I work just around the corner at Roswell Park...it's really not that bad, especially on a Sunday afternoon. And on the plus side, the neighborhood and ramshackle nature of the place makes it perhaps more authentic (in the south, all the best BBQ spots are tucked away in somewhat questionable neighborhoods or just a series of smokers set in some guy's backyard).

                    MAGIC - you should definitely hit Donnie's. It's not that we're down on Smokey Bones ONLY because it's a chain that imports its meat in bags, but because it just isn't that good. So check out Donnie's. It's the closest thing to authentic BBQ I've seen outside of the deep south.

                    Jerryc123: Is Buffalo BBQ & Brew really that good? We had a very disappointing experience there...now I'm wondering if we should give it another chance. I liked the atmosphere, and thought it might be a good spot for Sabres viewing. Would like if their food were better...

                    1. re: RosemaryHoney

                      Yay Donnie's!! Good. Okay, Donnie's on a Sunday it is. Love "iffy" neighborhoods. It gives a smoker even more character : ) Thanks so much guys.

                      1. re: RosemaryHoney

                        For the record guys... Donnie's is NOT OPEN SUNDAY. OR MONDAY. OR TUESDAY.
                        Ask me how I know...

                        Sniff sniff. I don't want the same thing to happen to anybody else.

                        Go Saturday.

                  2. re: houdini

                    Is there an optimal time to go to Suzy Q's? Lunch? Dinner?

                    1. re: magic

                      I've been to SuzyQ's for dinner only, so I can't really comment on whether there's a better time. But dinner has been great! Smokey Bones is just eh. I didn't have a good meal there the one time I went, so I didn't comment on it. I know others who like it, but...well, let's just say I'm from the south, and Smokey Bones just isn't BBQ. So I would avoid if I could go to Suzy Qs.

                      Have fun!

                      1. re: RosemaryHoney

                        Haha, well I'm from the north so I don't know any better :)

                        I called and Suzy Q's is closed Sundays so Smokey Bones it might have to be. Either that or Famous Daves (which I know nothing about).

                        Compared to the BBQ options we have in Toronto (almost nothing save for one really great place called Buster Rhino's) those are still viable and attractive options for me. Too bad I'm not coming in on a Saturday but ah well...

              2. To say "Ok, the neighborhood gets a bad rep, but it's actually getting better." and "The neighborhood could be somewhat rough" doesn't quite get the idea across. You are asking for trouble going into a neighborhood where drive by shootings are a weekly occurrence to get some BBQ - no matter HOW good it is. I've lived in Buffalo for about 60 years and my days of going there are over.
                I'd sooner eat the Q at Friendly's.

                6 Replies
                1. re: houdini

                  Wow! Really? I think that's pretty harsh. I work literally 1/2 mile from Donnie's every single day, and I can't think of the last time I heard of a drive-by shooting occurring nearby. And I walk on my lunch breaks around the Fruit Belt, and there's a lot of positive things happening over there. Obviously this isn't the place to discuss community building, but I would hate to think people are "asking for trouble" by going to Donnie's. I still recommend it, Magic. You can check out the 'hood yourself on Google Earth.

                  1. re: RosemaryHoney

                    I'm adventurous enough, I'll likely throw caution to the wind and check it out myself. I have a friend with some Buffalo insight. I'll ask him for his two cents. But I don't see it as a huge impediment to me visiting. I do appreciate all the advice given to me. Very useful - all of it.

                    1. re: RosemaryHoney

                      So, this morning's News has an article which should interest you: http://www.wgrz.com/news/local/story.....
                      That drive-by shooting (the latest of many near there) was at 4:30 in the afternoon - about a mile from Donnie's BBQ.
                      It's only "harsh" if it's not true. Me, I'll get my Q someplace other than the war zone.

                      1. re: houdini

                        It's your right to choose where you go, but if you have never been to Donnie's Smokehouse, maybe you shouldn't be so quick to judge.

                        1. re: mssmokehouse

                          Hummmm. Three months late and first post? Makes you think.

                          I never had Q that was worth my sweet butt getting in a bind.

                          1. re: houdini

                            just found this site and the comments, but I'm partial to Donnie's Smokehouse, so my thoughts really don't count, but I am glad to know what people really think.

                  2. I am planning on writing a more comprehensive review of the BBQ scene in Buffalo. I really like BBQ, and as a member of a KCBS team that competes, I think I have a bit of knowledge on the subject. Until then, I am bumping this thread with a list of restaurant's that specialize in barbecue in Buffalo.

                    By the way: barbeque and barbecue are both accepted spellings.

                    Donnie's Smoke house
                    Kentucky Greg's
                    One Eyed Jack's
                    Suzy Q's Barbeque
                    Buffalo Barbecue and Brew

                    Not Recommended:
                    Fat Bobs
                    Smokey Bone's
                    Famous Daves

                    Kentucky Greg's Hickory Pit
                    2186 George Urban Blvd, Depew, NY 14043

                    One Eyed Jacks
                    5983 S Transit Rd Ste 1, Lockport, NY 14094

                    Fat Bob's Smokehouse
                    41 Virginia Pl, Buffalo, NY 14202

                    Donnie's Smoke House
                    883 Jefferson Ave, Buffalo, NY 14204

                    Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill
                    2007 Walden Ave, Buffalo, NY 14225

                    Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que
                    1753 Walden Ave, Buffalo, NY 14225

                    Suzy Q's Barbeque Shack
                    2829 Niagara St, Buffalo, NY 14207

                    Buffalo Barbecue & Brew
                    1680 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14207

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jerryc123

                      I'll be going to Buffalo (from Toronto) and am thinking about trying either KG or Suzy-Q for BBQ ribs. Is there a difference in the "style" of BBQ at these two restaurants? I don't like my BBQ too sweet and would appreciate your opinion. Also, thanks for the referral to this thread from the Ontario board.

                      1110 Chenango St, Binghamton, NY 13901

                    2. So I did ultimately try Smokey Bones. Other than the donuts in a bag, which were awesome, I was not superthrilled with my meal. Won't get into specifics, as it was over a year ago and the passion is gone, but meh.... wouldn't go back. Happy I at least gave it a shot though.

                      I did try Lake Effect Diner for brekky this past weekend and it was honestly one the best breakfasts I've ever had. It was incredible.

                      Also this past weekend I was mortified to make the trek to Donnie's Smokehouse only to find it closed. It looked to be permanently closed. I started another thread on this board asking about what happened to Donnie's. If anyone knows the story it would be good to know. I was a disappointed young man as I'd heard great things and was eager to try it.

                      Also, as an aside, I must say Donnie’s was indeed in a crummy area. My god, travelling thru 4 miles or so of derelict and mostly abandoned buildings and homes I don't know how anyone could say Donnie's is/was not in a rough area. To me it certainly seemed that it was! I actually wasn't prepared for how bad the area I'd be travelling through actually was. Don't get me wrong, it makes no difference to me either way, but let's not kid ourselves. Seemed plenty sketch to me.

                      Anyhoo, there you go. Will have to try Kentucky Greg's and/or Suzy Q's on my next trip in. I was sad about Donnie's :(

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: magic

                        I haven't heard anything about Donnie's. That's too bad. I'm the one who said Donnie's wasn't THAT bad. Basically, I meant that the chances of getting shot and killed ona Sunday afternoon are pretty slim, but I'll admit that after years of living in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, there really isn't any neighborhood in Buffalo that compares to some down there, so my sensitivity to such things is probably a lot lower than most other peoples'. Sorry!! I promise Suzy-Q's is a better neighborhood, and good BBQ to boot.

                        1110 Chenango St, Binghamton, NY 13901

                        1. re: RosemaryHoney

                          Oh no worries :)

                          Definitely will be doing Suzy Q's on next visit.

                          1110 Chenango St, Binghamton, NY 13901

                          1. re: magic

                            I just tried Sophia's for breakfast. Amazing food. Great, warm people running it too. Will return next time in Buffalo.

                      2. Any updates on BBQ in Buffalo? Thinking of coming down on Friday for some shopping and BBQ. Best bet for BBQ on a Friday night not too far away from the border?

                        1. For an excellent breakfast:
                          Lake Effect Diner or

                          Pano's Restaurant
                          1081 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222

                          Lake Effect Diner
                          3165 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Motosport

                            I second Lake Effect or Panos for breakfast if you're still interested in that. Can't really wholeheartedly recommend any barbecue place I've tried here. I did have Donnie's once and it was good but they have closed.

                            As a southerner, I'd point out that barbecue isn't really part of Buffalo's food culture. It's catching on, but it's far from a local specialty.

                          2. Another BBQ "update" request. Any changes since last the last post?

                            I did end up going down last year and I tried Smokeys.. I had tried Kentucky Greg's already so decided to try something different. It was pretty decent compared to chains up here in Canada.

                            Quoting Jerryc123 list ... are all of these places still open?
                            Donnie's Smoke house
                            Kentucky Greg's
                            One Eyed Jack's
                            Suzy Q's Barbeque
                            Buffalo Barbecue and Brew

                            Thinking of coming down on Sunday for some sightseeing/road trip and deciding where to hit up....

                            The thing is my friend is on this new healthy food lifestyle... so would be great if there was something she could eat there too ... maybe asking too much for a BBQ joint :)

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: ylsf

                              To update myself on this thread. Found out that Donnie's smoke house has since closed... and that Suzy Q's is closed on Sundays and MOndays. Kentucky Greg's is closed on Sundays as if Buffalo BBQ and brew (which seems to have very limited hours based on their website... and various events,etc).

                              1. re: ylsf

                                I was lamenting that I travelled to Donnie's only to find that it had closed. Not sure if you read that..... :(

                                1. re: magic

                                  nah, I ignored your post because you are from Toronto area ;)

                                  Yeah, totally missed it.. :)

                                  Did you end up going to Susy Q's? That is next on my list of spots to check out.

                                  I went to One Eyed Jacks in the end I was not impressed. Dried out meat, non-friendly service (basic questions about what something was on the menu led to the server looking perplexed on why I would ask). The brisket was bone dry/over done. Pulled pork was a little better but for me it isn't a place I would return to.

                                  I recall my meal from Kentucky Greg's being much better (both service and food wise).

                                  1. re: ylsf

                                    I have not made it to Suzy Q's yet :(

                                    Lately I've focused more on the DDD featured restaurants in Buffalo with some great success!

                                    Suzy Q's still on my list. They have tricky hours for me and my travels though.

                                    1. re: magic

                                      Which DDDs did you visit? My husband loves the show and I would love to know what you thought of the ones in the Buffalo area. And, if anyone else cares to comment, I am wondering if Suzy Qs is best bet for BBQ Friday lunch.


                                      1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                        In Buffalo, I've been to the following DDDs (which I've rated out of 10).

                                        -Grover's Bar and Grill: 8.5
                                        -Lake Effect Diner: 9.5
                                        -Mulberry Italian Ristorante: 9.5
                                        -Pizza Junction (now closed): 9
                                        -Sophia's: 9.5

                                        Cannot go wrong with any of them! If you have anything specific you want to know just lemme know. Otherwise I'll just leave it at this for now. It would run too long if I were left to my own devices :)

                                        I will say this, of the 34 DDDs I've been to, Buffalo has the overall best per capita record for me so far. Ironically, it's also the closest to home (other than Toronto DDDs of course!) so that works out well!

                                        1. re: magic

                                          Thanks for the detailed reply!

                                          Did you eat lunch or breakfast at them?

                                          1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                            I've eaten breakfast at Sophia's and Lake Effect Diner. Both have some of the best pancakes I've ever had. Sophia's apple cinnamon walnut pancakes and LED's apple pancakes are just heaven.

                                            Sophia's service is very warm, but LED's is not - at least in my experience. Sophia's is very much a family operation, and LED is staffed by indifferent college kids. Not bad people, but can't compare their service to Sophia's.

                                            I've had lunch at LED, Sophia's, and Grover's Bar and Grill (Cattleman Burger and crab cakes - steer clear of fries and onion rings). For the most part, all delish.

                                            Mulberry is a very special restaurant but I don't know if they do lunch. Only been for dinner. They have possibly the best meatballs I've ever eaten. Almost everything I've had there is incredible. Great space too.

                                            Have a great time with your fella. Buffalo is great! We're so lucky to live close by.

                                            1. re: magic

                                              My best luck with DDD was SanFrancisco. Every place we went to were great. Huge lineups though.
                                              For Buffalo, our favourite is Sophia's for breakfast or lunch. Chicken souvlaki is very tasty. Apple cinnamon pancakes a must for our kids. The sausage giambotta (?) - a big heaping plate of eggs, sausage and potatoes feeds 2. Great service.
                                              Mulberry is really good as well. The dish to order is the lasagna. All the other pastas were great as well. Long wait even if you have a 5pm reservation.
                                              Pizza junction was ok. Surprised it's closed.
                                              We just tried Suzy Q last week. Good service. We are spoiled by Texas BBQ. But Buffalo is much closer. Buster Rhinos in toronto is poor cousin. Suzy Q brisket was ok. What everyone raved about was the polish sausage and it was pretty good. We loved the sides. The cornbread was delish!!!! Ate lots of it. Coleslaw was pretty good.
                                              We also tried Paula's donuts. Much better than Tim Hortons. Loved the red velvet.
                                              Spot coffee was another place we tried. Coffee was good. Saws lots of folks enjoying lunch and brunch. Food looked really good. Very crowded and happening joint.
                                              Famous Dave's - found food salty. But where else can you get rib tips for $8 or $9 a pound. Like I said, cheaper than flying to Texas for Q.

                                              1. re: caitlink

                                                Paula's is great, yes. I hardly eat donuts in Toronto anymore as they're so awful. I go to Paula's for donuts. Yum!

                            2. How is Smoke on the Water for BBQ?

                              Also, what about Amy's Place for breakfast?

                              1. We liked the Lake Effect Diner on Main St by UB.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: veggielover

                                  +1 on both Amy's & the Lake Effect.

                                  The BBQ landscape is a whole 'nother ballgame now that Dinosaur is open.

                                  1. re: WNYamateur

                                    Dinosaur is in Rochester though right? We'll be in the Buffalo area? Has anyone tried Smoke on the Water? Need a restaurant somewhere between the outlets in Niagara Falls (NY) and Amherst area.

                                    1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                      I just saw that they are opening in Buffalo - are they actually open now? I'll be in the area early March.

                                      1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                        Dinosaur opened in downtown Buffalo a week ago, so they're here, but probably very busy, given the (IMHO well-deserved) rep of the Rochester one and the original in Syracuse.