Tony’s Drive In hits the high points of summer dining - The Buffalo News

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Tony’s Drive In hits the high points of summer dining

In the words of Ella Fitzgerald, it’s too darn hot to cook. Well, that’s not quite what she sang, but Tony’s Bayview Drive-In provides a summer escape from the kitchen even if you arrive dripping from the pool.

In its 31st year, this iconic Route 5 hot dog joint sits next to a go-kart track. There’s indoor and outdoor seating. The large deck is decorated with lovely planter boxes.

The menu is basic and hits the high points of summer dining. Hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, subs, tacos, sides and ice cream. Condiments, napkins, silverware and straws are help yourself. No fuss or muss.

Hot dogs (Sahlen’s) range in price from $2.35 to $2.95 and include combinations like Texas hot, cheese dog, chili dog, nacho dog, kraut dog and pepper & onion dog.

The kraut dog was nicely slashed and blistered with a healthy amount of sauerkraut. Thankfully, Tony’s sauerkraut is actually sour, not bland. A swash of mustard and the dog was pure heaven.

A regular cheeseburger ($2.59) was the usual patty, with a good solid roll. Hamburgers start at $2.25. Quarter pounders ($2.69-$3.05), double cheeseburger ($3.26) and triple cheeseburgers ($3.99) let you stack it up. A bacon cheeseburger comes regular ($2.89) or double ($3.59). A chili cheeseburger runs $2.95. There’s a veggie burger, too ($3.59).

Sandwiches start at $2.25 for grilled cheese and up to $4.09 for grilled chicken. Our bologna and onion ($3.15) was a thick cut on a hearty roll. A few more grilled onions would have been nice, but there were enough to get the gist.

The 6-inch chicken Philly sub ($4.39) was very tasty. The tender meat chunks were topped with peppers and onions, and a nice white cheese. Other subs for the same price are regular Philly, Italian sausage, meatball and chicken finger.

Steak, chicken and beef tacos run small to large ($2.09 to $3.49). The hot beef taco was indeed hot. Sometimes tacos don’t reach a true hot, but this one did.

For the chicken finger crowd, $7.69 gets you fingers and fries. Nuggets come six or 12 pieces ($4.49-$8.99).

Sides are varied. Delicious curly Q’s ($2.35-$3.35) and sweet potato fries ($3.05) are available, but so are baked beans and mac and cheese (both $1.95). Were the beans canned and mac and cheese like something out of a box? Yes. But that didn’t make them bad, especially if you have a youngster who only knows one kind of mac and cheese. These were perfect. The menu says the chili ($2.65) is homemade, and we assume that is what they use for the chili dog and cheeseburger.

Despite the longish line, we placed and received our order in a snap. The operation is smoothly run, with employees working hard in the heat. We found ourselves out on the deck in no time.

Nearby kids played on a swing set, and we watched go-karters zipping around the track. Tony’s has food packages ($6.50-$9.50 per person). It would make a great “kid party” location.

We didn’t have room for ice cream, but Tony’s does have 24 flavors of Perry’s plus soft serve. Small to large cones ($2.95 to $3.75), sundaes ($3.95), milkshakes ($3.25), malt ($3.35) and floats ($3.05) provide a sweet ending to a summer day better spent outdoors than toiling away in our own kitchen.

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