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Restaurant notes: Swan Street Diner, Morton's, Wild Bill Hickory's

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

Morton’s coming: Buffalo will get its first edition of international steakhouse chain Morton’s later this month.

Supposedly Oct. 26 is the day, but we’re seeking official confirmation. “Morton’s is very excited to join the Buffalo community,” a representative said via email. “At this time, we do not have details to share.”

Invitations went out Oct. 9 to an invitation-only preview to be held on Oct. 25 in the extensively refurbished space.

Wild Bill scratches restaurant: Bill Richer gave up on plans to build a barbecue restaurant after a year and a half of work, then experienced a heart attack that could have killed him.

On Oct. 10 he'll be right back at it, serving up his hickory smoked pork with a smile on his face befitting that of a man with a new lease on life.

Richer's roadside restaurant trailer, 9840 County Road, Clarence, will be open for business 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Same as before he announced plans to open a restaurant on Sheridan Drive, where Emily's Diner used to be. Those plans are kaput, Richer said, due to diverging visions between him and his business partner.

"I decided it wasn't going to be a good fit between the two of us, so I'm just going to stay where I am for the time being." Instead of that restaurant he was dreaming of, now he has his sights set on building a pavilion next year to shelter his customers.

Last month he had a heart attack, but he's better now, Richer said. "I went into the hospital, and I was very fortunate," he said. "They stuck a stent in me and I was home the next afternoon."

He's feeling too good to give the barbecue a rest. "I feel great," he said. "I'm going to the gym today."

AStreet offers square meals: AStreet Meatball Market popped up practically in the shadow of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Since August, Bobby Burns and Dennis Glenn have been doing their best to lure medical students and others to 23 Allen St. to check out their work.

The restaurant's protein orbs come in beef, pork and chicken. An original vegetarian version, with sweet potatoes, kale, eggs and parmesan cheese, was months in the making.

AStreet Meatball Market is down the street from the new medical campus. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

Customers pick a sauce, like classic Italian tomato sauce, creamy Parmesan, mushroom Stroganoff or basil pesto. Then a cheese, like ricotta, cheddar or provolone.

Four balls, bare or on a sandwich, are $9.50. That's with a side, like penne pesto or mac and cheese.

AStreet Meatball Market's meatball sub. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

But the most interesting sandwiches aren't spherical; AStreet Meatball's most compelling offering might be the baked sandwiches ($9.50), in bread cast in a golden crackling jacket of Parmesan cheese.

One excellent version packs fig, blue cheese, bacon, provolone and ham. Salty smoke and fruit sweetness makes the cheese funk stand out. Get it with the coleslaw side.

Glenn and Burns aren't sure yet what sort of patronage to expect from the school up the street, but they hope their handmade meals keep drawing a steady crowd.

AStreet Meatball Market's interior. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

AStreet Meatball Market's menu. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

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