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Cheap Eats

Despite slogan, Fast Teddy's serves reliable diner food

“Cold Coffee Lousy Food.”

No, that’s not a Yelp review. It’s the slogan at Fast Teddy’s Restaurant. It takes guts to put that on your window, and I had to investigate.

Apparently I’m not the only one intrigued by the slogan.

“It draws a lot of people in,” said Dave Dewols, who co-owns the establishment with his wife, Gina. “They want to see what’s going on.”

We visited on a weekday for lunch. It’s a tiny spot at 221 Main St. in the City of Tonawanda – so tiny we passed it at first. We also couldn’t locate the main door, and so we walked in the wrong one, only realizing our error once inside.

Waitress Patti Hanes delivers a plate of blueberry pancakes to a customer at Fast Teddy's. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Seating options include a breakfast counter with stools, a handful of cushy booths on one side and smattering of tables on the other.

After instructions to sit “wherever we wanted,” we slid into a booth, perused the menu and ordered the following: grilled cheese ($3.39), which came with chips; the sampler "with two chicken fingers, two pizza logs and onion rings" ($6.99); “No. 8,” with two eggs, home fries, toast and choice of meat ($6.49); and an order of French toast with choice of meat ($6.99).

We learned Dave and Gina took over the eatery 3 1/2 years ago, but Fast Teddy’s goes back further. Eateries of varying iterations, in that same building, have been there since 1952, noted Dave.

The couple formerly owned and operated the now-closed Dog Shack in Blasdell, a roadside hot dog stand. They visited Fast Teddy’s a few times, liked the area, and, when they saw it up for sale, decided to start a new adventure.

A ham and cheese omelet at Fast Teddy's. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

They updated the interior by painting it a cheerful red and added televisions, as well as specials to the menu. They call their version “Fast Teddy’s II.”

One thing they didn’t update was the slogan.

Around 45 regulars visit every day, Dave said, with some of them coming from Cheektowaga and Grand Island. He knows them all by name.

Our food arrived, smelling fantastic. Everything tasted the way you would expect: no hidden surprises in this diner food, just good, old-fashioned, fill-you-up grub.

One thing’s for certain: This food is cheap. Every Wednesday is a “Throwback” night, featuring old-school prices, including a $1 hot dog, a $2 Texas hot or burger and a $3 cheeseburger or milkshake. Additionally, Fast Teddy's features a Friday fish fry for $8.49.

Every Tuesday night, Gina makes her “famous” meatloaf, which often sells out. Fast Teddy's also has a special, three eggs scrambled with choice of meat, home fries, cheese and toast ($7.99); and an early bird special weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., two eggs and toast ($1.99).

Is the slogan correct? The food certainly wasn't lousy, and although the coffee wasn’t the best I’ve tasted, it was piping hot — not cold.

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CHEAP EATS

Fast Teddy’s Restaurant

221 Main St., Tonawanda

Hours: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Gluten-free options: None.

Wheelchair-accessible: A couple small steps to navigate.

Fast Teddy's on Main Street in the City of Tonawanda. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

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