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Cheap eats

The Golden Parachute on Main Street in Williamsville is a lot like your grandmother's kitchen.

Most of the tables are topped with that fake butcher-block finish that was so popular in the 1970s, and the chairs, with their tapering backs and harvest gold upholstery, are from the same era. The salads are served in those checkerboard-pattern, molded thin-wood bowls, which I haven't seen in years.

To add to the family kitchen feel, sets of black pants, white shirts and chefs' jackets hang along one wall in the front, in case, we were told, staffers have to go directly to a catering job. And shelves near the kitchen are stacked with trays, baskets and other catering accessories. OK, maybe that part is an unusual sight in a grandmother's kitchen. But then you get the food.

The Golden Parachute is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, and its specialty is lunch, although a continental breakfast is also offered. John and I walked up to the counter and had to step back to peruse the five salad and sandwich specials, in addition to the usual menu of cold sandwiches, grilled sandwiches and salads.

When we were ready, I ordered the assorted mixed greens salad from the cashier and, out of the corner of my eye, saw a kitchen staffer reach for a bowl and some greens. Sure enough, minutes after we ordered and took a seat, our food was being carried out of the kitchen. This place has got the speed thing down, giving people on their lunch hour plenty of time to eat and enjoy.

And we did enjoy it. We both ordered off the specials menu, so these exact choices may not be offered if you stop in. John had the roast turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich ($6.25) on a fresh, warm whole wheat baguette, served, as requested, light on the herb mayo. The baguette elevated the sandwich from good to great. He added a cup of the vegetarian tomato and corn soup for $1 more -- it's usually $2.95 per cup, which seems a bit high. But the soup was fresh-tasting and thick with tomato bits, corn kernels and fresh basil. Different and delicious.

My salad ($7.99) was served in a bowl that was 9 inches across, making an impressive presentation. The generous helping of mixed greens was dotted with feta cheese, sunflower seeds, cucumber slices and tomatoes and topped with a small but tasty grilled sliced chicken breast. The salad was also available with dijon dilled salmon, another good choice. I added a cup of chicken rice soup for $1, and the simmered, homemade-tasting broth was thick with chicken and carrots.

Everything was very good, but it's that soup that would draw me back if I'm in the area again around lunchtime.

-- Anne Neville

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The Golden Parachute

5735 Main St., Williamsville

632-1666

Review: 3 stars (Out of 4)

"Good and quick."

The Golden Parachute is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is handicapped-accessible.

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