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A FOOD-FILLED EGO TRIP TO KELSEY'S

Kelsey: Yes, I do own a restaurant, thank you. I came up with the winning idea, and I'm glad to see locations open up close to home. Now, I don't have to drive to work in Canada every day.

Jen: What Kelsey is attempting to say is that Kelsey's, a popular Canadian restaurant chain, recently opened its first Buffalo-area location. It's right off Route 219 on Milestrip Road in Orchard Park, and its slogan is "Your neighbourhood bar and grill." (Yes, that is neighborhood with a u).

Kelsey: Yeah, except it's missing the whole neighborhood thing. It's located right in front of a huge Target store and across the street from . . . woods. However, I did enjoy the fact that the name Kelsey's was etched into windows and plastered on the sugar wrappers and napkins. Plus, the door handles were shaped like a big K.

Jen: But aside from the "Kelsey" theme that you so enjoyed, the restaurant was decorated in that oh-so-common "movie posters and sports memorabilia" theme, which included halves of croquet balls glued to the wall and a guitar hanging ominously over my head. And the food? Well, like the decor, it was nothing special, either.

Kelsey: Well, I thought the Bruschetta with Feta Cheese appetizer we shared ($5.99) was delicious. It included seasoned tomatoes, onions and a couple types of cheese on four nicely toasted pieces of bread. I'd go back just for that. By the time my Oriental Chicken Salad ($7.99) came, I was stuffed. I have that eyes-bigger-than-my-stomach problem. The salad was huge and included 13 different vegetables, one of which was something odd called Bok Choy.

Jen: Kelsey's portion may have been larger than she could handle, but the rest of us -- our friends, Karen, Shelly, Fanny, and me -- didn't have that problem. For what we paid, the portions were pretty small. For instance, Shelly, who has the smallest appetite of anyone I know, was hardly filled by the soup and salad combo ($4.99), which included a cup of ordinary-tasting chicken noodle soup and a tiny salad. I myself got the Chicken Fajita Wrap ($6.99), which was pretty tasty. It was stuffed with chicken, rice and a variety of vegetables, including peas for some reason. But for the price, it wasn't that big. Similar things could have been had at the Mighty Taco down the road for a lot less.

Kelsey: I wasn't too fond of the pasta salad that came with the meal; it was slathered with too much mysterious white sauce. Unfortunately, the same thing (Miracle Whip maybe?) also appeared on Karen's "Kelsey's clubhouse" sandwich. However, Karen was already far too concerned with everyone else's drinks to really notice.

Jen: Yes, Karen was dehydrated and fortunately for her, the refills were free and the waitress was patient -- she actually kept bringing them, despite the fact that Karen's singalongs to the '80s music that was playing would have scared any normal human being away. "By the time the food comes, we'll be all bloated, and we'll be like, 'Wrap it up!' " she commented most accurately.

Kelsey: Well, I know I enjoyed joining in on her '80s music fest, while munching on the Bruschetta with cheese. I suggest giving this restaurant a try. If you really like it, you can purchase their Kelsey merchandise, like every Kelsey should.

Jen: I especially enjoyed the somewhat menacing name of "Kelsey's Icepick," an alcoholic drink, not to mention the eerie green color of Fanny's broccoli cheese soup, which she said tasted fine despite the odd shade. (I think I'll take her word on that one.) The service, although a little bit slow, was friendly, and the menu had a good variety of choices, even if they were somewhat overpriced. The food wasn't really great, but it wasn't bad, either. If you go with your friends, you'll have fun anyway. We did!

Jen Aronoff and Kelsey Burch are seniors at Kenmore East High School.

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