The Poked Yolk, at 3100 Transit Road, West Seneca, is a breakfast place as its name implies. But you’ll get more than you bargained for when you look at the menu, which also features lunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. pm every day, except major holidays.
Creative dishes such as cinnamon roll pancakes are inspired by owner Jim Vaughan, who ran restaurants in Las Vegas for a decade before he and his wife Kristyn returned home to Buffalo to raise their family. They opened The Poked Yolk three years ago and now baby number three is on the way.
There's no place like home for Vaughan who put down his apron to talk about decadent menu specials, gluten free options and Buffalo’s rebirth.
Question: How have you spread the word about your food over three years?
Answer: Basically we put out good quality food at a good price and word of mouth let people know about us. We have a pretty good group of regulars who come in weekly. It helped that we won awards.
We post pictures of our food and menus on Facebook and now people wait for a new month to begin for the new specials. They anticipate it. I make all the specials myself like cinnamon roll pancakes we have now. That’s something we did awhile back and people go crazy for those. We sold quite a few.
Q: Cinnamon roll pancakes: How do you make those?
A: We use sweet cream pancake batter and we make Cinnabutter – it’s butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. We make a cream cheese glaze that goes over the top of them. It’s decadent. They’re pretty tasty.
Q: How do you plan out the monthly specials menu?
A: We kind of try out new things and play with seasonality to keep it fresh and interesting. For our January menu – everyone starts on a New Year diet so we’re doing multigrain pancakes with different types of veggie hash with sweet potatoes and root vegetables.
Q: What does it take for an item to go from a special to the permanent menu?
A: If something is very popular, like the Crabcake Benny, it will make it to the regular menu. That’s Eggs Benedict with a crabcake. Our veggie hash – sautéed kale, peppers, onions, mushrooms and home fries topped with eggs and toast - that started on the specials menu and made it to regular menu.
Q: What’s your favorite menu item?
A: My absolute favorite is the corned beef hash. I brine it, cure it, slow roast it, shred it and make it to order – it’s way better than the stuff in the can. You can have it with eggs and toast or just as a side.
Q: Why do you feature a large gluten-free menu?
A: We try to have everything on the regular menu have a gluten free option or have a version of something gluten free as well. So many people are limited. Some places have only one or two options.
We’re very cautious and use separate plates and take out containers. We have a separate waffle iron. One of our loyal customers is gluten free and she loves coming in - she can count on a great meal and not worry about it.
Q: How does it feel to return to Buffalo after 10 years in Las Vegas?
A: We moved back in 2014 and opened at the end of October and then the November storm brought seven feet of snow. It was challenging at first, but it’s great. Buffalo is a good community. It has come a long way since we left in ’04 with Canalside and all that. It’s nice. We wanted our kids to grow up here.
*Read about the Poked Yolk's Jammin' Waffles in Andrew Galarneau's breakfast centerfold: