For a greasy spoon diner to be truly excellent, there is one important criterion that must, above all else, be met: freely flowing, good quality coffee.
Buffalo Joe’s Cafe exceeds this standard. Our mugs were kept regularly topped off with a robust, tasty brew. We never had to look desperately around to catch a harried wait staff. Our friendly server, Michele, whose smile was warm and demeanor mom-like, never hurried us out, with one last coffee offer indicating we were welcome to linger longer if we wished.
We ducked into the cafe, which opened seven years ago in an unpretentious plaza in Clarence, on a recent weekday, happy to escape the raindrops plunking into our parkas.
We were promptly greeted and told to sit anywhere we liked. We picked one of the four spacious booths lining one side of the cheerful interior. Other seating includes five tables and an L-shaped row of chrome stools, where you can sidle up to the counter and hear the sizzles, cracks and splats of the chef working the grill.
In addition to the coffee, Buffalo Joe’s gave us another reason to set our Cheap Eats hearts all aflutter: the prices. Most plates hover around $7, making Buffalo Joe’s a Cheap Eats all-star. (Example: two eggs, toast, hash browns and choice of meat for $6.59.) For this story—and, let’s be honest, everything sounded amazing—we ordered two breakfast plates and two lunch plates.
Buffalo Joe’s keeps it simple, offering breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, eggs Benedict, which come as traditional, California style or corned beef hash (all $8.59) are offered. Other options include a souvlaki breakfast ($9.89), country fried steak ($8.49) and homemade corned beef hash, eggs and toast ($7.79).
The usual suspects are here, too, including pancakes (short stack $4.39, tall $5.99, and both come with meat), French toast (short stack, $4.59, full $5.89) and omelets ($7.99 to $10). We tried pancakes and French toast. The pancakes— fluffy and golden brown— impressed and so did the French toast, especially with the crispy bacon on the side.
Our lunch dishes didn’t disappoint. We ordered a cheeseburger and fries ($7.99) and Reuben sandwich ($8.79). The cheeseburger was juicy, crafted with fresh ground beef and set on a nicely buttered, toasted bun. The freshly cut fries arrived crispy and with a tasty herb seasoning. Buffalo Joe’s also will happily swap out onion rings for fries if you so wish.
The Reuben was a real standout, with the homemade corned beef, toasted bread and tangy sauerkraut. Also available are an array of panini, wraps, grilled cheeses and a Friday fish fry.
Buffalo Joe’s doesn’t try to be trendy, healthy or hip. You won’t find avocado toast, free-range eggs or dairy-free milk. You won’t find cool lighting or acoustic music. You will find comforting, exactly-what-you-want diner food. You will find lollipops on the counter and cushiony booths.
Most importantly, you will find coffee that comes at you quick, along with terrific food at an exceptional price, and you know what? I like that better.
Buffalo Joe’s Cafe
8611 Main St., Clarence (276-3012)
Hours: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed Monday.
Gluten-free options: most breakfast items.
*Read more Cheap Eats by clicking on the Story Topic, below.