By Brendan Cunningham
Ever since John Belushi did his Saturday Night Live famous diner scene, barking “Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger” the so-called greasy spoon diner has become a staple across the American landscape. Buffalo is a city that conspicuously undersells itself as a great restaurant town will not be outdone in this department and so we have assembled our top 10 best greasy spoon diners that specialize in great food values for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Not surprisingly, 7 out of the 10 are run by Greeks and even in Buffalo as an ethnic group they are to diners as the Irish are to corn beef.
Taking the number 10 spot is Hillview Restaurant 6135 Transit Rd. Depew. Turning southward and heading to East Aurora, our number 9 contender is the famous Charlie’s Diner at 510 Main St. East Aurora. Virtually impossible to find a seat on a Saturday morning, once the farmer’s market reopens, one may find the best flapjacks anywhere and if you are serious about breakfast you may have died and gone to heaven here. Their peanut butter pie will not to be out done by anyone and their soups are always homemade.
Let’s head north now and actually arrive in the city proper. The people in South Buffalo might not agree on this geographical point and periodically would like to think of themselves as being a city totally distinct from Buffalo, or God’s country, either way we find one of the best diners anywhere in the lower 48 the Wayside at South Park. If you want to make a nice morning for yourself, bring your appetite, go in and chow down at the Wayside and walk it off at the Botanical Gardens just down the road. Coming in at number:
8. Wayside 2301 S Park Ave. Buffalo
7. Lake Effect Diner 3165 Main Street Buffalo
6. Alton’s 2250 Walden Avenue Cheektowaga
5. Pegasus 5748 South Park Avenue Hamburg
4. Towne 186 Allen St. Buffalo
In the number 3 spot we have Acropolis a little further down Elmwood 708 Elmwood Avenue Buffalo. The recent renovation makes this a great choice for dinner, drinks as well as breakfast. And Mythos 510 Elmwood Avenue Buffalo at number 2, its nearby neighbor is one of my favorites and may in fact have the best home fries. And taking the number one spot for sure and it probably won’t surprise anyone is “The Cathedral of Greasy Spoons in Buffalo”, the jewel of Elmwood Avenue: Pano’s, 1081 Elmwood Avenue Buffalo. The owners might take exception to this place being called a Greasy Spoon so please know again we use this as a term of absolute affection. Pano's underwent a major overhaul and controversial renovation at their famous location a few years ago but the quality of the food and service continues to be unsurpassed and truly makes this eatery a place that remains in the proverbial league of its own. If you are looking for breakfast/brunch on a Sunday you better expect to wait and this is one of the few places that actually is worth the wait. The much improved structure now boast a beautiful new second floor and if one didn’t know anybody one might even consider a reception here that’s how “fancified” it has become.
So that’s how the souvlaki crumbles when it comes to navigating the best greasy spoon/diners out and about the Queen City.!