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Cheap Eats

Hot dog places that don't charcoal-grill their dogs have to offer something else to get the people in the door. And at Louie's, it's the Texas-style sauce, called, on this menu, "Louie's Special Greek Sauce."

Greek, Texas, who knows? I doubt they are as good at making this sauce in either Greece or Texas as they are around here.

We checked out the Louie's on Harlem Road. From the original location at Bailey and Delevan, Louie Galanes added this spot, as well as others in Depew and Orchard Park, and two in Buffalo. While the menu is the same, the places vary. Every location offers takeout, including 16 ounces of the sauce to go for just $4.99.

Many of the booths in the dining room were occupied when we stopped by around noon, so John and I picked the booth at the end of the row, sat down and knocked knees. Ouch! It may have been the same situation you run into on the last row of the airplane, where there isn't quite enough room to squeeze a seat but they do it anyway. We ended up sitting on the inside and outside of the booth, rather than across from each other. We looked like we weren't speaking to each other, but oh well.

A glance at the menu showed why the place was so busy. The prices are great, from a hamburger for $1.89 or a bologna sandwich for $4.89 to a breakfast sandwich of egg and cheese on toast for $2.39. Plenty of the patrons had one or more youngsters in their groups.

Breakfast is available 24 hours a day, so we selected the No. 4: Two extra large eggs, two pancakes or French toast and your choice of ham, bacon, sausage or gyro meat for just $4.89.

The eggs, served nicely scrambled, were larger than expected, while the pancakes were slightly smaller, about the size of a man's palm. The bacon was crispy and tasty. The whole breakfast cost just a tiny bit more than a side dish offered in a local chain pancake place.

We also tried the Louie's Omelette, made with three extra large eggs, two cut-up Texas hots, onions, topped with cheese and Louie's Special Sauce, for $7.59.

After one bite we could see how Louie's could become an addiction. I tasted cinnamon right away, although a Louie's fan I talked to a few days later looked at me like I was nuts when I said that. What else is in there? I guessed cloves or allspice, and certainly some red pepper to give it a touch of heat.

The sauce didn't contain much meat, as some do, but it packed plenty of robust flavor. The hot dog pieces in the omelette were cooked well, browned without being crispy.

-- Anne Neville

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Louie's Texas Red Hots

777 Harlem Road, West Seneca

823-77793

3 pennies (out of 4)

Get the sauce

Louie's on Harlem Road is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, then stays open from Thursday at 7 a.m. until Sunday at 9 p.m. It is handicapped-accessible.

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