Cheap Eats: Distinctive ingredients set the stage at Sophia’s - The Buffalo News

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Cheap Eats: Distinctive ingredients set the stage at Sophia’s

Heading to Sophia’s Restaurant near the Kenmore/Buffalo border on a weekday morning, I wasn’t expecting the weekend crowds I had heard about. I would soon learn that Sophia’s isn’t just a weekend phenomenon. With the small parking lot jammed, I found a spot on the street and waited a quick 15 minutes for our party of five to be seated. The quaint space appears to have some recent upgrades – pendant lights and flooring – to coincide with the tribute wall dedicated to Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” visit a few years back.

Sophia’s has the usual breakfast selections with upgraded twists. Breakfast side meat selections include the usual bacon and sausage in addition to Polish sausage, Canadian bacon, ham off the bone and gyro meat. Omelette ingredients feature some atypical choices like hash, olives, pepperoni and chicken. There are menu options named the Giambotta ($7.95) and Skillets ($7.95), which are variations of egg dishes mixed up with potatoes and other fixings and served with toast. You also can order lunch at Sophia’s with a variety of burgers, sandwiches and wraps all priced around $6.95.

We ordered from the breakfast side of the menu and were captivated from the first bite. Jon decided on the breakfast burrito ($5.95) and intuitively bestowed upon it the “most-food-for-your-money award.” Chock full of fluffy scrambled eggs, sausage and cheese, the burrito shell was packed and held the filling without disintegrating into a two-napkin mess. Jill selected the corned beef hash breakfast ($6.95) and quickly commented on how impressed she was, noting it can be challenging to get those evenly flavored crispy parts of hash without overcooking it. She mentioned several times she would return with her husband, the resident “hash expert.”

Two omelettes were ordered, with MaryClare opting for the spinach and feta ($5.95) and Lori choosing the namesake Sophia ($6.95) consisting of spinach, feta and tomato. Both were satisfying selections served with a generous amount of breakfast potatoes. I chose the two eggs and bacon plate ($4.50). My eggs were cooked over easy, the potatoes were evenly flavored, and the bacon was crispy.

The star of all the breakfast platters was the homemade toast. It’s this kind of upgrade from the traditional loaf of white bread that makes the packet jelly bearable and separates Sophia’s from other breakfast establishments.

Our waitress had suggested the apple, cinnamon and walnut pancakes ($3.25) and French toast ($3.95) so we ordered a short stack of each to share. The pancakes were quite large with airiness and plenty of fillings, the cinnamon and walnuts more prevalent than the apples. With a proportionately correct egg and milk batter, the French toast was some of the best I have ever sampled, the homemade bread helping to kick it up a notch.

My one quibble isn’t about the food, but with attention to spotlessness. A layer of dust coated the light shades and chair-rail moldings, and the menus had seen better days. Nothing that would keep me from coming back, but there are as-busy restaurants with less down time finding ways to master the details. Sophia’s is a gem that with a little polish will leave a lasting impression.

Sophia’s Restaurant

Where: 749 Military Road (447-9661)

Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Parking: limited spaces in lot; street parking available.

Notable: Distinctive ingredients and homemade bread set the stage for an unique breakfast exploration.

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