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Zorba's Texas Hots is a can't-miss Cheap Eats

Whether you are in need of a hot meal after a night of revelry, are in search of an affordable breakfast or you love a good Texas Hot, the locals will tell you there is no better place to go than Zorba’s Texas Hots in Depew.

Though known for Texas Hots (a hot dog topped with mustard, chopped onions and its Texas Hot Sauce), Zorba’s is much more than a one-trick pony.

Step up to the counter to place your order and you are greeted with a giant menu board filled with plenty of burgers, dogs and sandwiches to choose from, almost all under six bucks. Opt for a local favorite, fried bologna with onions ($4.10) and you won’t be disappointed. A juicy burger loaded with your favorite condiments will run you just $2.10 and for $1.95 more you can add a side of shoestring fries packed into a brown paper bag.

But on this day, it’s Zorba’s Texas Prairie Platter that has caught my eye. It’s the local nod to the Garbage Plate made famous down the Thruway in Rochester, and Zorba’s does it proud. A platter mounded with fries, topped with two dogs, mustard, onions and cheese, slathered generously in Texas Hot Sauce will set you back a mere $6.50, making it the most expensive item on the menu. A word to the wise if you plan to tackle the Prairie Platter: Come hungry. As tasty as it was (though I would prefer the sauce to have a bit more kick), I found myself throwing in the napkin with a sizable portion still on my plate. The good news: a half platter is available ($5.55).

My dining companion (at my suggestion) ordered the special of the day. Having spent more than a decade of my life in the food business, I can tell you firsthand, you can always judge a restaurant by its specials. Today the special was a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of chili ($6.25). Grilled cheese may not be the most exotic special, but on a cool fall afternoon, it hits the spot, especially dipped in the thickest chili you’ll ever find. Like the hot sauce, it would be nice if the chili had a bit more kick, but what it lacked in zip it more than made up for in the meat and veggies that overflowed the cup (including mushrooms, not exactly a staple of chili).

If you are a breakfast lover, you know how frustrating it can be to crave a platter of French toast, only to be told the restaurant stops serving breakfast at 11 a.m.. Not so at Zorba’s, where you can enjoy bacon and eggs, French toast, pancakes and omelets anytime the doors are open. And in true Cheap Eats fashion, you’ll get a generous portion for a budget-friendly price. Its signature breakfast item is the Zorba Omelet, which takes the Texas Red Hot and wraps it in eggs served on a platter with toast ($6.50).

If all of that doesn’t have your mouth watering, the folks at Zorba’s make a mean milkshake (vanilla, chocolate or strawberry, $3.50). My advice: splurge for the 50-cent upgrade to have it malted, you’ll be glad you did.

With plenty of booths inside and a patio of outdoor seating for the warm months, combined with a friendly staff and a menu of true diner fare, Zorba’s is a can’t-miss for those who enjoy big portions of hot, fresh food that won’t break the bank.

Zorba’s Texas Hots

Where: 5 Lee St., Depew (685-4948)

Hours: 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday; 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; and open 24 hours Friday and Saturday.

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