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Paulter’s Drive-In serves up generous portions at a reasonable price in a fun atmosphere

We are West Seneca/Sloanites, so forgive us if we didn’t find Paulter’s Drive-In, which has been around since 1958, until recently. We fell in love before getting out of the car. The retro look, the neon and the pink parking lot lines are darling.

Paulter’s does double duty as a hot dog joint and ice cream place (always a plus in our book). Food is ordered indoors, and ice cream can be ordered inside or out. The lines are separate, so ice cream folks don’t have to wait with hot dog eaters.

According to the menu, the current owners (the Aiken family) have limited the food selections from past years. While we can’t speak to what was offered then, we found lots of choices now.

The combo meals are a great deal. Served with Curly Q or steak fries and a medium drink (no substitutions!), a hot dog combo is $5.40, hamburger $8.75, cheeseburger $9.50, beef on weck $9 and chicken fingers $8.70.

Paulter’s fixes your burger or dog with toppings. Basics include ketchup, mustard, onion, pickle, lettuce, tomato, etc. Extras are reasonably priced — 75 cents for extra cheese, 25 cents for sauerkraut and $1.00 for bacon or Texas sauce.

Our two cheeseburgers were big. The menu says they are 8 ounces burgers made with Angus beef. Cheeses are American, cheddar, provolone, Swiss and blue cheese.

Served on a nicely toasted bun, one burger came with lovely green leaf lettuce, tomato and onion and the other with dill pickle and onion. The big pile of steak fries with the combo is enough for two.

Our third burger, the hefty Galvin Burger ($6.95), came topped with a chunk of real melted cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce and onion rings. All burgers were juicy and fresh.

My charbroiled White Hot ($4.90) was a welcome change from a regular Sahlen’s hot dog ($2.65). Plump and juicy, it was perfectly grilled, topped with ketchup and mustard and served on a toasted bun.

Other grilled items include Italian sausage ($4.80), a foot-long dog ($3.85), a Texas hot ($3.65), a turkey burger ($5.50) and a garden burger ($5.50).

We added sweet potato fries ($3.35) and two orders of tuna macaroni salad ($2.50), a special of the day. One order of tuna macaroni would feed two. The salad, homemade, had plenty of tuna, bits of finely chopped celery and dill. Homemade potato salad is $2.50. The sweet potato fries were the standard, served with butter/honey.

For those not feeling burger/dog-ish, “House Specialties” include beef on weck ($6.25), a grilled chicken sandwich ($5.95), a barbecued pulled pork sandwich ($5.45) and a Tex-Mex Wrap - chicken, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese and ranch dressing in a jalapeno-cheddar wrap ($6.95).

Salads are another option. The chicken souvlaki and chicken bruschetta (both $7.95) we saw looked delicious. Kids’ meals (for ages 12 and younger) run $5.25 and include a hamburger, a cheeseburger, a skinless hot dog, grilled cheese or chicken fingers with fries or applesauce and a drink.

Paulter’s keeps the ice cream basic with soft custard and Perry’s hard. Soft serve includes chocolate, vanilla and one specialty choice, while there are loads of Perry’s flavors.

A regular sundae is $2.95 and large is $3.95. Specialty sundaes are one size for $4.50 (think Peanut Butter Lover or Tutti-Frutti). The Twist & Swirl, Paulter’s Blizzard, is $4. Milkshakes are $2.50-$4 (mmm... Creamsicle!). We also saw a kid hammering down a good looking banana split ($4.95).

Our soft custard twist “junior” cone ($1.90) turned out to be plenty big, as did a single scoop of Perry’s strawberry ($2.40).

Paulter’s may not be in our neighborhood, but the food and atmosphere made it worth the ride.

Paulter’s Drive-In

6343 Transit Road, East Amherst (pautlersdriveinofclarence.com, 636-1690)

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily

Seating: Outdoor areas, indoor booths.

Extra: Tuesday night cruise night, big playground area for kids, daily specials.

Fun: “Hot Dog Time” neon clock and 1950s music.