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Fill up at Toni Pepperoni pizza buffet

If the idea of putting together the words pizza and buffet sounds like your idea of food heaven, a trip to the Toni Pepperoni buffet in West Seneca should be on your agenda.

Located in a strip plaza (conveniently next to a store selling exercise equipment if you feel the need after filling up), this Toni Pepperoni is the second pizza buffet owned by the Reese family – and a family affair it is. (The other location is at 4224 Maple Road, Amherst).

Family members work throughout the restaurant. Say hi to “Nona” Reese – who said she cooks about 75 percent of the food – as she replenishes the dishes and chats with customers.

You’ll also be treated like family, too. Throughout our meal we were waited on nearly hand-and-foot by staffers who cleared the table regularly of dirty dishes with a friendly “Let me take that for you.” Later as we apologetically languished over dessert, we were told to “relax and enjoy.”

Toni Pepperoni is in a large, 5,000 square foot restaurant that formerly was a Chinese buffet. There are two areas for pizza with about 10 options total (including dessert pizzas), a long salad bar and a hot dinner area. The owners pledge “if we don’t make it, we don’t serve it,” and they back up it up with their food.

Pizza included the standard cheese and pepperoni along with such specialty choices as white, barbecue chicken, garlic and a “zesty” pie that looked like a C&P pizza, but had quite a kick. The pepperoni was charred – always a good sign – and while the pizzas had a lighter crust, the dough was still pleasantly meaty, not hard and crunchy as thinner pizzas tend to be. Nice.

We visited on a Sunday, “Italian Day,” so the dinner side of the buffet included spaghetti, red sauce, chicken parm and meatballs. On weekdays, that changes to two hot meats with mashed potatoes and gravy for a homestyle meal.

The buffet also features two choices of chicken tenders (the barbecue were moist and juicy with just the right amount of sauce), plus a tasty mac and cheese with thick sauce. Hot veggies included green beans and corn. Two soups were available including a very popular chicken wing soup that was refilled multiple times.

For dessert, grab some pudding from the salad bar area or a cute cup of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and combos) conveniently scooped into small self-serve bowls. Grab one from the fridge and add your choices of nine toppings like cookie pieces, gummy bears, nuts and sprinkles. Slather on as much hot fudge as you want from a nearby vat.

The weekday buffet is $8.99; for our Sunday buffet it was $10.99 because it included all-you-can-eat chicken wings with four choices that featured garlic, medium, hot and barbecue. (Normally, you would pay extra for the wings.) Endless drinks are $2.49.

For lighter fare, go for lunch (11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday), where you’ll also have the choice of 3-inch subs like the turkey and provolone. It’s a bargain at $7.99.

email: truberto@buffnews.com

Toni Pepperoni

Where: 3176 Orchard Park Road, Orchard Park (675-8664, toni-pepperoni.com)

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Wheelchair access: Yes, no stairs.