Tucked away in Clarence, Penny Lane Cafe is an artsy establishment displaying quirky decor and serving tasty grub on a budget.
An outdoor seating area has unusual embellishments like tiki umbrellas, statues, bottle cap tables and chairs, hula hoops, and other not-so-basic furniture. The inside seating area is just as zany with strings of orange and purple lights brightening up the bar area and purple backlights highlighting the stage where there is open mic on Wednesday nights.
Penny Lane has nods to the Beatles' song of the same name with chairs painted with sayings like “Paul’s Chair” and “George’s Seat.” The bar is decorated with beads, stones, wine corks and paint brushes that have been turned into swirling designs.
Why the unusual decor? Penny Lane is owned and operated by local artist Anne Valby. Along with her daughter Angel, she created the fun decor that you’ll see all around Penny Lane.
Her creative nature guided her to create special dishes in the kitchen, too. There are a variety of food options for very reasonable prices. You can enjoy coffee ($1.50-$1.75) with shots of sweet English toffee and breakfast dishes like protein-packed Scram-Bowls ($4.95), made with three eggs scrambled with tasty ingredients and a side of toast.
A selection of healthy shakes and smoothies ($5.25-$5.50) include the Black Forest Power Protein with juicy blueberries, tart cherry juice, cacao nibs, almond milk and vanilla whey protein for a sweet treat that will fill you up.
Wraps, salads, panini, sandwiches, options for the kiddos, desserts and more fill out the menu.
The Penny Lane Antipasto ($14.95 for the small and $20.95 large) is not your average salad. The small serves two people and the large three or four. The greens are loaded with cured Italian meats like prosciutto, salami and pepperoni and cheddar and Parmesan cheese.
Classic salad necessities include raw onion, tomato and cucumber, but they also throw in veggies like marinated artichokes and roasted red peppers. The salad is served with crunchy crostini and drizzled with a light, housemade Italian dressing that allows the ingredients to really shine through.
You get a salty element from the meats and creaminess from the cheeses and roasted peppers. The textures and flavors create a truly delicious, crave-worthy salad.
The Everybody Loves a B.L.T. ($6.25) is true to its name. It’s disappointing when you order a BLT with bacon that isn't crispy and bread that’s soggy. Penny Lane loads its BLT with crispy, crunchy bacon, fresh lettuce, juicy tomatoes and a spread of mayo on white, 9 grain or rye bread.
Penny Lane has a selection of what they call Piano Breads, which are essentially flatbread pizzas. The Notorious F.I.G. ($12.95) caught my eye for more reasons than the name. The bold flavors blend perfectly to create a super salty and sweet pizza.
The flatbread is covered in the sweet fig spread then gently topped with blue cheese crumbles, caramelized onion, Asiago cheese, salty prosciutto, peppery arugula and sprinkled with a little truffle oil. The savory toppings beautifully balance out the overly sweet taste of the figs.
Wine is generally just $7 a glass, including sparkling, plus there is beer and craft cocktails to sip while listening to live music on Wednesday nights.
Our server, Tiffany, was excellent at explaining the dishes and provided great service throughout the night. If you're looking for delicious food at a great price, a fun atmosphere and great service, look no further than Penny Lane Cafe.
10255 Main St., Clarence (320-5872)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday, 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Price range: $1.50-$20.95
Wheelchair-access: Yes, no stairs, only one floor and the bathrooms are handicap accessible
Gluten-free options: Yes including sandwich rolls, salads, smoothies.