LOCKPORT – Kalamata Family Restaurant is almost an insider spot.
If you’re driving on South Transit Road, you might not notice it. The Greek-American eatery is almost invisible from the road, unless you happen to glance over a building that has some road frontage. There is no sign along the road for Kalamata, which, for the record, is located in a former John & Mary’s at the north end of a small commercial development. Enter the driveway beside the Dunkin Donuts and look to your right.
Once you’ve stopped in, as many Lockport residents have been doing for the past four years, you will discover that Kalamata is not for people who aren’t really hungry.
Portion sizes here are enormous, to the point that practically every meal should come with a Styrofoam take-out container on the side.
But the cost is easy to amortize, as very little on the menu weighs in at more than $10.
And that menu is lengthy indeed, containing practically every type of food you might want – and most of the exceptions are taken care of by the revolving cast of daily specials, about half a dozen of them each day, although unfortunately, they’re not listed on the Kalamata website.
About the only things you can’t get are pizza, wine and beer. The latter omission is expected to be remedied soon, as a state liquor license application is pending. But while not entering the pizza wars, Kalamata offers plenty to like for anyone of any age.
You can choose one of the numerous Greek specialties or the regular American food, and it’s possible for two people to fall into a food coma and still have change from a $20 bill.
It won’t take long, either. The restaurant appears to be adequately staffed, as so many these days are not. Plenty of wait staff, and judging by how quickly the food arrives, the kitchen must have enough people to do the job, too.
On a recent Sunday morning, the place was packed with folks chowing down on the traditional offerings. My better half chose a seasonal special, a short stack of pumpkin pancakes ($3.99), which were large and deliciously flavored.
I went for the Greek scramble ($6.49): scrambled eggs with a choice of ham, bacon or sausage mixed in with the feta cheese that augmented the eggs, and home fries, which, in typical Kalamata style, were large chunks of potatoes, not the diced ones.
That was a surprise, as was my recent dinnertime encounter with a fish sandwich on a hard roll ($7.99). Expecting a squared-off fish patty, I was presented with a fish fry laid atop the halves of the roll. Our waitress assured me that wasn’t as big as the regular fish fry ($9.99).
There was nothing to do but cut it in half, eat half on the roll, and take the rest home. So be aware that you can save $2 on a fish fry by ordering the sandwich. You won’t feel deprived – unless you show up on the wrong night. Fish is available only Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The missus ordered an open souvlaki salad ($8.49), which gave her plenty of marinated chicken over a Greek salad. She liked it but thought there should have been more veggies and less lettuce.
She was pleased by a cup of the chicken lemon rice soup ($1.99), in which just a hint of lemon brightened the broth and there was plenty of chicken, carrots and celery.
As long as you’re taking food home – and you will be – save room for the desserts, such as the creamy homemade rice pudding, available with or without raisins ($2.99) or the warm baklava ($3.49), soaked in honey with lots of walnuts.
Or you could just skip the sit-down experience, since everything on the menu is available for take-out, and it’s not unusual to see people walking out with stacks of Styrofoam they can hardly see over. They’ll be eating for a while.
Kalamata Family Restaurant
Where: 5690 S. Transit Road, Lockport (433-2626, kalamatafamilyrestaurant.com)
Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.