TOWN OF LOCKPORT – About the only thing to change at the corner of Lake Avenue and Clinton Street over the past six decades or so are shapes (and speeds) of the cars driving by, and the faces flipping the burgers and serving up the shakes at Reid’s hot dog stand.
The place has endured what could most generously be described as a sort of reverse- evolution. While others around it have grown and matured, Reid’s has stagnated somewhat. Oh sure, it added some portable air conditioning to the back dining room, but it’s still little more than a roadside shanty. Appearance-wise, at least, Reid’s is about as far from keeping up with the Joneses as is humanly possible.
Fortunately, no one in these parts cares about appearances because it doesn’t make the food any better – and certainly doesn’t make it any cheaper. You can’t eat ambience, after all. But you can enjoy a nice grilled hot dog, or a juicy cheeseburger, or some tasty rings and fries. And that, friends, is where Reid’s reigns – not only in the quality of the food, but the price.
Talk about not keeping up with the times: You won’t find any $10 burgers here. Or even $2, for that matter (unless you want a double). A family of four can dine comfortably here and get change back from a $20 bill. That’s not something you can say about many places anymore – if any.
I suppose that’s why folks look forward to the spring and summer months so much, and the long-awaited return of outside dining at places like Reid’s.
If you want to impress your date with fancy surroundings (and price tags to match), drive up to Transit Road and head south. If you just want to enjoy summer, and all the trimmings that go along with it, you will be hard-pressed to find a more suitable place than Reid’s.
A burger and a dog will set you back less than three bucks – total, that is; add rings, fries and a shake, and you’re up in the heady neighborhood of $8. Haul your tray out to the little wooded grove in back of the place and you can share your leftovers with the gulls hovering overhead. It doesn’t cost much to share with a friend – even one with wings.
Across the street there’s a grassy, parklike setting with groundhogs and the like. The canal isn’t far away. There’s another wooded area with picnic tables on the side of the building, and an ice cream stand (the only real “new’’ part of the business) on the other side. You can spend an hour, fill your tank to the brim with dinner and dessert, and still drop less than $10.
And the food is good, too. Not fancy, not gourmet – not even particularly sizeable – just good. You want bulk? Order two. Hey, what do you want at $1.45 for a dog (white or red), $1.10 for a burger, or $2 for a “fishburg.” When it comes right down to it, it’s nice to actually have a choice of “smaller” for a change. The restaurant evolution that resulted in ever- increasing portion sizes has pretty much run its course.
If you have a hard time deciding what to order, that shouldn’t be a problem here, because I just listed virtually the entire menu. Yeah, there’s grilled cheese ($1.10) and a hot ham and cheese (do I need to keep listing prices at this point?), but that’s pretty much it. So knock yourself out with choices; just be sure to leave room for ice cream.
The old advice used to be to get the Reid’s special sauce on everything – except for your soda. That may still hold true, but you can have your food any way you like it here – even with a side of “slopp’’ for 75 cents, as listed on the menu board.
I’m not sure if that’s an old-fashioned reference, or what, but who cares for three bits? Make mine a double.
Where: 150 Lake Ave., Town of Lockport
Hours: Open daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.