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Swan Street Diner brings classic American restaurant to Larkinville

If you closed your eyes, imagined a classic American diner, then opened them standing in front of the Swan Street Diner, you'd say: Yes.

Inside, the white tile floor, mahogany woodwork, stainless steel behind the counter, and cooks glimpsed in the kitchen, might even bring you to: Heck yes.

When the Swan Street Diner, 700 Swan St., opens to the public Oct. 10, customers will get more than food like sausage gravy with eggs on housemade biscuits.

They'll get a loving restoration of a classic diner, created by the Zemsky family as part of their Larkinville project, two miles east of City Hall.

Swan Street Diner posts up in Larkin Square. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

Even the heavy white china is right, salvaged from Buffalo China's warehouse. Leslie Zemsky, mother of operator Harry Zemsky, took a hand in designing the diner décor, including a custom wallpaper.

She handed local artists plates and told them to follow their muses, including Monica Angle, Barbara Baird, Nick Blazier, A.J. Fries, Robert Griffiths, Mickey Harmon, Sarah Liddell, Adam Weekley, YAMES, Sarah Zak and Zemsky herself. The results are reproduced behind the building, facing its parking lot, and inside, on its wallpaper.

Leslie Zemsky shows off the custom wallpaper that draws on the work of a roster of local artists. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

The menu has classics, too: egg plates ($7-$10), and omelettes ($8-$11), hot plates ($7-$12), milkshakes ($7) and mini-doughnuts ($3/5, $6/8) (see above).

Breakfast tacos are available in two versions, including these, with crusty beef, fresh pico de gallo, cheddar and egg on doubled corn tortillas, with spicy pickled radish on the side ($10).

Breakfast tacos include these with beef has and fresh pico de gallo. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

Vegans can try the pumpkin waffle, but should ask the server to hold the butter.

Swan Street Diner's vegan pumpkin waffle. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

One highlight of the lunch sandwich lineup ($6-$12) includes this sandwich of buttermilk fried chicken on a sweet poofy bun with honey mustard mayonnaise ($12).

Booths and counter seats are available. The diner will be open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Phone: 768-1823.

Restaurant notes: Swan Street Diner, Rachel's, Tel Aviv Cafe

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