For years, the Gardenview Restaurant was a supersized version of the popular family-style eateries that draw large crowds with inexpensive, good food.
A few years back, the Gardenview underwent a renovation that created an upscale new look with gleaming wood ceiling beams, stylish black booths with curved backs, classy wallpaper and sconces. Prices are a bit higher now, with dinners starting at $10 and “signature” salads and sandwiches, burgers and flatbreads hovering in the $7-$10 range. You can even order beer and wine.
Gardenview is open 24/7 with an extensive menu. Breakfast includes the usual eggs, pancakes, waffles, French toast and combination platters. Three-egg omelets are $5.99 to $7.99 and go beyond the ordinary with a meatball version (diced meatballs with mozzarella, pepper, onions, tomatoes and marinara sauce) and the Polish omelet (sliced Polish sausage, diced mushrooms, diced tomatoes, onions and cheddar cheese). Build your own breakfast for $5.99 and pick four from this list: bacon, sausage, ham, eggs, home fries, French toast, pancakes, bagel, toast and English muffin.
We visited on a Sunday afternoon right before the dinner rush. If we weren’t there on Cheap Eats duty, we would have picked one of the choices from the “Just Like Home” section of the menu where you can get meatloaf, roast beef and pot roast dinners.
Instead, we ordered the Mushroom Spinach Burger ($8.99), a half-pound patty topped with sauteed mushrooms, spinach and melted mozzarella; the Grilled Chicken Club ($9.49) with Swiss cheese and bacon off the “Two-Hands Chubby Decker” section; and the Tuscan Turkey Panini ($9.49), a large panini on sourdough with turkey, baby spinach, roasted red peppers, sliced olives and melted provolone. All came with a choice of potato, chef salad or soup. You can substitute onion rings ($1) or sweet potato fries ($1.99). We chose soup, mashed potatoes and the sweet potato fries for our sides.
The soup arrived first, but it was the cream of broccoli, not the beef that was ordered, a mistake the waitress realized as soon as she set it on the table. She graciously left the cream of broccoli and returned with a cup of beef as well. Both were steaming hot, delicious and filled with chunky vegetables.
The main dishes – sandwiches in this case – were overstuffed and delicious. The grilled chicken club had thick, tender chicken breasts on both inside layers of the three-decker sandwich. I would have given up and used a fork, but Dad ate it like a man. The burger was well done as requested, yet juicy and tasty. It, too, was large, but noticeably light on the promised mushrooms (we counted three small ones).
The panini was the only food that didn’t arrive piping hot. It was lukewarm at best so the cheese wasn’t melted. Nearly half the sandwich was missing the olives, but the turkey was tender and the red peppers were thick and flavorful.
The sides were fantastic. The mashed potatoes and sweet potato fries were both the best we’ve ever had. The mashed were so creamy and buttery, I started to ration them to last longer. The fries were slightly crispy on the outside and soft and flavorful inside and came with a tasty mayo-honey dip.
We couldn’t resist a dessert from the revolving glass display case in the entranceway. The mini lemon meringue pie ($5.49) was a good 4-inches tall and could easily have fed a table of four. We took most of the pie home with half our sandwiches.
The Gardenview’s looks may have changed over the years but one thing hasn’t: You’ll always go home full.
3 out of 4 pennies
1744 Union Road, West Seneca (674-7176, www.thegardenviewrestaurant.com)
Open 24 hours
Wheelchair access: Yes, no steps.