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Syros Restaurant hits the right flavors with Greek-American menu

After the recent winter weather watches and the "bomb cyclone," you are probably fighting cabin fever and looking for something to do.

We suggest taking a jaunt to Lewiston, either to walk the village or to go ice skating at the Lewiston Family Ice Rink in Academy Park. You'll need to eat, so hit up cozy Syros Restaurant for a family meal.

Off the beaten path on Cayuga Street, the restaurant has been owned for about seven years by Bechara Cobti, owner of the former Cobti’s Restaurant located on Bailey near Eggert in Amherst.

“It’s always been a restaurant, but somewhat hidden,” Cobti said. “It was a hamburger joint when I bought it, so I kept good burgers on the menu.”

Syros owner Bechara Cobti makes the saganaki breakfast. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Cobti said he uses only 90 percent fresh beef for his burgers; “It’s never frozen, so it tastes like steak.”

But burgers aren’t the only thing Syros serves. As the name implies (Syros is named after the Greek Island), Syros is a Greek-American diner. But Cobti isn’t Greek, he’s Lebanese, and came here in the 1980s to attend the University at Buffalo for mechanical engineering.

“The food is kind of the same,” he said of Greek and Lebanese cuisine. Cobti also sees similarities between cooking and mechanical engineering, “Because both help the brain,” he joked.

We like that our brains weren’t overwhelmed by a giant menu. Syros selections hit all the right categories, with a little Greek and American sprinkled throughout. Appetizers feature items like spanakopita ($7.99) as well as chicken fingers ($8.49 single).

Yet those craving Greek can get house-made Greek spreads (tzatziki, tirokafteri, hummus or olive tapenade) for $6.99 with warm pita.

Syros Restaurant's spanakopita appetizer. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

We started with a cup of the vegetarian chili, a nice blend of vegetables, like onion and peppers, plus something we couldn’t identify until we asked – soy protein – that gave the chili a meaty texture without being meat. We liked that it wasn’t an overly thick chili, but more a chili soup in a rich tomato broth. It was the perfect warm up on a chilly day.

Our lunches were simple but delicious, starting with my Athenian burger ($9.49) that was served topped with lettuce, tomato, feta cheese and Greek dressing on a lovely grilled bun. The third-pound burger, served with super-hot fries, was meaty and grilled medium as requested.

The special Philly wrap ($7.99) with strips of grilled steak, peppers, onions and melted cheese was large, and helpfully cut in half to make eating much easier. It came with good hot fries.

Syros Restaurant's Stinger sub is Philly steak and cheese and chicken fingers together. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

We noticed a lot of regulars on our stop, including many folks ordering breakfast, which is served all day. Simple two eggs and home fries and toast is $5.59. Greek breakfasts are available with gyro, chicken or beef souvlaki coming in at $9.99. Omelets range from $7.99 for cheese to $10.49 for all meat.

“Nobody beats me on eggs,” Cobti said, who goes through between 60 and 90 dozen a week. For the folks who like sweet, there are buttermilk pancakes, specialty pancakes (like walnut spice) and French toast ($6.99-$7.99).

Eggs, peppers, onions and home fries cooked together at Syros. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Dinners include Greek specialties, like a souvlaki platter ($14.99-$16.99) to American diner classics like liver, bacon and onions ($14.49) and meatloaf ($12.49).

Cobti said he likes to offer dinner specials including lamb shanks, stuffed peppers and Lebanese squash dishes.

“I just love to cook,” said Cobti.

CHEAP EATS

Syros Restaurant
869 Cayuga St., Lewiston

Hours:  7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Price range: Burgers, wraps, melts, sandwiches, subs, sandwiches, etc., are $8.49-$9.99; breakfasts $5.59 to $11 for steak and eggs. Dinners, $11.49-$16.99; Friday fish fry, $11.49/$9.49 half.

Parking: lot

Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

Gluten-free options: No special menu, however restaurant can accommodate special dietary requirements.

Syros Restaurant is a Greek family restaurant at 869 Cayuga St. in Lewiston. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

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