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Jan 21, 2010 01:57 PM

Diners in Buffalo, NY

I'll be in Buffalo for the weekend in Feb. Does anyone know of any good diners (for lunch or dinner) in the area that are a must-do. Thanks.

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  1. Depending on your definition of diner (and I think breakfast served all day is a good qualifier) - I was very pleased with my breakfast, and my dinner, at Pano's on Elmwood. It's nicer than a diner, but has a diner slant on to the menu.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jeanmarieok

      Thanks. Any recommendations? Menu looks amazing. Is there parking in the area?

      1. re: petertheeater

        I like their specials menu - I've actually only ordered specials for dinner. The greek breakfasts are killer good, too. Parking has been OK - we've found on street parking without much trouble. I don't live in Buffalo anymore, so my visits are of the twice a year variety, and Pano's hasn't disappointed, as recently as Dec 2009.

        For beef on weck, even though I grew up within walking distance of Schwabl's, my personal favorite place is Steve's Pig and Ox Roast on RIdge Road in Lackawanna. If the lights are running right, you are only about 15 - 20 minutes or so from either place from Walden Ave, with Schwabls being closer, at Center Road and Union. Schwabl's is very good, but Steve's is maybe a little more interesting.

    2. As far as Diners are concerned, go to Lake Effect Diner.
      Bertha's is also supposed to be good but I can't personally comment not having been there.

      If you're looking for local cuisine, it's a different ball game. Also, it would be a help if you could indicate where you'll be staying so you don't have to travel far.

      2 Replies
      1. re: houdini

        Probably staying near Walden but I have a car so travelling isn't too much of a concern as long as there's parking

        1. re: houdini

          Thanks to your LED recommendation, and through some searching of my own, I realized it was featured on DDD. That's reason enough to make it a priority for this foodie!

        2. I'm also dying to try beef on weck, so if anyone has a good place in mind for us to sample please let me know.

          10 Replies
          1. re: petertheeater

            For Beef on Weck, go to BarBill in East Aurora - also some of the best wings you'll ever have. (Stick to medium if you haven't had HOT wings!
            Check out and use the cuisine filter for more suggestions.
            You might want to try the pizza at Bocce, La Nova, Pizza Junction or Just Pizza.

            1. re: petertheeater

              I would recommend Lake Effect Diver for a true diner experience. It is in a restored dining car, and very retro.
              "Diner" means different things to different people. In Buffalo, most people refer to a diner as a restaurant that is no-frills, open 24 hours, and serves breakfast day and night.
              Just a heads up, in Buffalo many of the diners that fit this description were Greek, so souvlaki and gyro breakfasts, in addition to steak-and-eggs, are commonplace.

              One of the most popular diners in Buffalo was/is Pano's on Elmwood Avenue. But over the last few years, Pano has taken his restaurant in a new direction, and is now more of a hugely successful family restaurant. Last time I was there, a lobster dish was on the menu - though you can still get breakfast any time.

              For Beef on Weck, I would like to politely disagree with houdini, and instead, suggest Schwabl's. There are many fine bars and restaurants, like BarBill, that serve a good version, but Schwabl's is an institution since 1837. Your beef will be cut to order by the carver who has been doing it for 40+ years. Since it is cold outside, order a Tom & Jerry cocktail. Or if a hot toddy is not your thing, order a Genny Cream Ale, or Flying Bison, to accompany your sandwich.

              Here is a link to video of Anthony Bourdain at the restaurant. Start from 08:29 to see the segment.

              Schwabl's Restaurant
              789 Center Rd, Buffalo, NY 14224

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

              1. re: jerryc123

                If you go to Schwabls( yum!!!), you should try anoinettes next door. homemae ice cream and candies. the real whipped cream is the best!

                1. re: jerryc123

                  Now Jerry, BarBills carves it too! (And has wings) But if you want to try the Friday fish fry or the German potato salad, now you're talking. Why not visit both?
                  And I still think Nelson gave Bourdain short shift - he could have picked better. At least he didn't go to Anchor Bar!
                  Diners, to me, in their purest form are like former Rail Road cars - Like in NJ. Lake Effects "Car" came from Wayne, PA (I used to eat in it there!) and there are none like it nearby.

                  1. re: houdini

                    I was not trying to dis-respect BarBill at all, simply stating that given the choice between the two, I would direct petertheeater to Schwabl's due to tradition, and a more convenient location, assuming a visitor to our area was staying in the city.

                    While I have not tried it, I also notice that Lake Effect Diner offers a Beef-On-Weck on their menu. They also use local beef from Raisin Acres Farm in Franklinville, though I am not sure if it is only for the dinner entrees, or if it makes it's way into the sandwiches. Houdini, have you tried their Beef-On-Weck?

                    Bar Bill Tavern
                    185 Main St, East Aurora, NY 14052

                    Lake Effect Diner
                    3165 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214

                    1. re: houdini

                      Thanks again for all the suggestions. Actually for wings I think I'll sit one out this time. We were in Buffalo a few months ago and I got my wing fix at Duff's (I prefer it to Anchor Bar, which I've been to once and though it was good but not in the same class as Duff's). I'm sure as with every city, there are places I've never heard of that are less touristy and have better wings. Everyone has given me some good suggestions, now it's a matter of fitting in what I can, there's only so many meals in the day. I hope to get to one of the diners at least.

                      1. re: houdini


                        Is the LED car the one that used to be the Chinese diner in Wayne? (I moved to Philly area from Lewiston years ago). The Chinese place was a sure bet to get food poisoning.

                      2. re: jerryc123

                        I agree that diners in Buffalo used to be all Greek, but I think it is becoming less so.
                        My favorite diner is still Kostas on Hertel , the rice pudding is to die for!
                        Is the Towne on Allen considered a diner?
                        I really don't know where to draw the line between diner and "family restaurant"

                        1. re: lisagambino

                          I used to go to Kostas all the time, and then I was with a party of four that was treated rather rudely by the staff, and have promised to never go back.
                          I didn't like the lemon flavor in their rice pudding - Ambrosia on Elmwood, makes the BEST Greek style rice pudding. Or the Towne restaurant in Allentown. I don't know that the Towne was EVER a "diner" but it IS open 24 hour, which is cool.

                          I agree about the Greek diners all becoming "All-American family restaurants"
                          I used to LOVE pano's for steak and eggs at three in the morning, and now it's like any other place selling 20 different different styles of cuisine, french, thai, etc.

                          I want to try the Lake Effect after reading this thread though.

                          1. re: mflipp

                            Kostas was always very good, whenever I was there.

                            Ambrosia has very good Greek food. Probably the only place that serves taramosalata, and other meze. Have you been to Mythos? I have heard it is good.

                            I love the rice pudding at the Towne. But my wife and I always argue about whether rice pudding should have raisins in it or not. I argue for - she argues against. And I would say that the Towne is a Greek diner, for sure.

                            Towne Restaurant
                            186 Allen St, Buffalo, NY 14201

                            Mythos Family Restaurant
                            510 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222

                            Ambrosia Restaurant
                            467 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222

                    2. Lake Effect Diner has gotten a bit of press lately with regard to the owner's emphasis on using local foods, curing his own bacon, etc. Links below for articles in "Buffalo Rising" a local blog collection. Included is a description of a recent visit from Guy Fieri of Food Network. Have eaten here a few's good...not life changing, but solid.



                      BTW....Not too far away from LED, is Amy's Place...a funky "diner-ish" joint located in the University District. Really good breakfast items, solid Mediterranean choices, good veggie items, and some good (and unique) sandwiches. Kind of a "crunchy" atmosphere, but food and service are both solid. Enjoy your time in Buffalo!

                      Amy's Place
                      3234 Main St. Buffalo, NY

                      1. I recently came across a bbq restaurant called Fat Bob's. Any input about it's quality, etc, would be greatly appreciated. I checked out the menu online and it looked good...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: petertheeater

                          Rather than de-rail this thread on Diners, I've bumped the thread on BBQ and Breakfast in Buffalo. There is some discussion there that is a few months old - but still relevant.


                          I hope to write a review of the Buffalo barbecue scene soon.