It wouldn’t be Christmas without our annual Springville tree-cutting expedition with the nephews - and a stop at Brunner’s Eatery just off the Hamburg/Boston exit of Route 219.
Long before they were a twinkle in their parents’ eyes, the original Brunner’s was nothing more than a pick-up place in the plaza across the street.
Instead of building a big pizzeria with a sterile dining space, today’s diners are welcomed to a domed ceiling painted with clouds, pastoral walls, a faux fireplace and homey décor. (Brunner’s goes all out with Christmas decorations and music.)
The place is efficient. Order at the counter, find a table or booth and they deliver the food.
The nephews were enthralled with the self-serve Pepsi machine with flavor shots like strawberry, vanilla and cherry. Yes, add a sugary flavor to sugary soda. They loved it, especially with no parent monitors around.
Brunner’s fare is perfect teen fare, too. (To be honest we loved it). Pizza, subs, sandwiches, tacos, wings/fingers and those side orders items like pizza logs ($6.59), cheddar poppers ($6.19) and mac and cheese bites ($2.99).
The growing boys wanted a few things, starting with (and kind of funny) a large Politician Pizza ($17.99) listed as “a lot of pork” with four cheeses, pepperoni, bacon, sausage and ham.
Brunner’s has a great crust. It’s thicker, but yet light, too. The pizza was loaded with meats and cheese, but not soggy. A basic large cheese pizza starts at $13.99, specialty versions start at $17.29. All pizzas come in mini sizes for around $7.50.
There are multiple pizza specials including a large cheese and pepperoni on Monday and Wednesdays for $12.29 and a small on Thursdays for $7.99. For a quick daily special, order two slices with a small soda ($6.44) or a slice with five wings and small soda ($7.59).
And what goes with pizza? Tacos of course. The Super with beef, cheese, lettuce and tomato ($4.19), steak ($4.99) and beef and cheese ($3.99) were made with a 10-inch tortilla and loaded with fillings.
Our random order of 10 boneless wings ($7.79) fit the bill. Nice chunks of chicken came medium with lots of blue cheese, celery and carrots.
An 8-inch mini chicken finger parm sub ($6.19) arrived on a toasted bun with plenty of fingers, lettuce, tomato and cheese. So did a mini Italian sausage sub ($5.38). Whole subs (12-inch) start at $5.59 for a pizza sub to $10.99 for a stinger. Rolls include wheat, white or sesame.
My small taco salad came in a deep fried taco bowl ($7.29). It was actually big (and tasty), loaded with taco meat (chicken is available) lots of shredded lettuce, tomatoes and cheddar and jack cheese. I almost got the small Greek Chicken Salad ($8.99).
Sandwiches run the gambit, from a hot dog ($2.69) to charbroiled chicken ($6.19) and pulled pork ($6.99). We've had the chicken wing and stuffed hot pepper soups ($3.69/$5.25). Both are good.
Brunner’s serves ice cream including cones, milkshakes, floats and sundaes. For the season, apple crisp ala mode is $2.49. Surprisingly the nephews were too full for ice cream, but scavenged leftover pizza for later.
The day will come when they are too old for tree cutting with us, but for now, we have one more outing to cherish.
7171 Boston State Road, Hamburg (649-1707)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
More: Drive through pick-up window. Limited delivery. Beer and wine. TVs tuned to sports. Super clean self serve-station with a variety of hot sauces, mustards, sub toppings, to-go boxes, napkins.
Fun: Framed “Mona Pizza” painting by Tyler Brunner.