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For outdoor eating, spring is the season

Owners of seasonal hot dog stands and custard joints are pulling out their picnic tables and firing up their grills. 

The warm weather forecast for the weekend has several outdoor restaurant owners anticipating crowds.

Richard Eliah, owner of Taffy's Restaurant in Orchard Park, said spring is his busiest time of year.

"Right now, spring, really makes the season," said Eliah, whose father started the Orchard Park Road business in 1949. "People think it's the summer, but it's spring."

Aside from pent-up cabin fever that gets everybody outside, Eliah said, there's fewer festivals and other competitions to outdoor eating.

"You're not going to cook outside," Eliah said. "It's too muddy." Taffys  

But since "95 percent" of his seating is outside, Eliah said opening up before mid-March is pretty much out of the question.

George's Hot Dogs on Herman Hill in North Boston opened last Thursday and saw a busy weekend. Manager Joe Mumm the restaurant typically tries to open by the last week in March.

"I'm sure it will be pretty busy once it gets nice out this week," Mumm said.

A sampling of a few other warm-weather restaurants that have opened for the season include Fran-Ceil Custard on South Park Avenue in Blasdell, Mississippi Mudds on Niagara Street in Tonawanda and De Dee's Dairy on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Niagara Falls.

The Hatch Restaurant at Erie Basin Marina is closed until May 1.

--Denise Jewell Gee

Taffy's in Orchard Park is one of several seasonal restaurants open for the spring. (Robert Kirkham/ Buffalo News file photo)

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