• Chris Edwards

Lake Effect Diner- Buffalo, New York

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

Travels With Larry

I was sitting with my buddy Larry in his posh digs at Niagara-on-the Lake.

A dreary drizzly winter day. What to do?

Having enjoyed many pleasures in the hood during numerous trips - NOL being one of the hippest historic places in Ontario - we decided, spur of the moment, to embark on a trip across the Niagara Gorge to the American side.

Our initial thought was to head to Youngstown, across from NOL. But soon after crossing we ditched that idea, heading instead to Niagara Falls on the US side- neither one of us having been on this coast of the lesser falls.

Over the Lesser Falls

Niagara Falls NY’s rep is of sleaze and abandonment. Imagine our surprise when we chance upon a modern, clean, revamped centre with extraordinary views of the Falls. In fact I prefer it to the Disney Canada coast. The new mall leading up to the Casino is bright, features a skating rink with vendors- a festive air (mall in this case meaning an outdoor promenade closed to traffic). A giant tower is being erected for the New Year’s “guitar drop” hosted by the Hard Rock Cafe.

Niagara Falls NY- no sleaze to be found…

We are hungry. I am able to grab a Canadian network on my trusted iPhone and google “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Niagara Falls NY.” The return include the “Lake Effect Diner”- reputed to be one of the most authentic fifties style old school diners in America. And this we cast or gaze toward Buffalo, home to famous Anchor Bar wings (which we consumed last summer).

The GPS in my Merc does not fails us- after touring several fine neighbourhoods. Buffalo continues to delight as it did last summer when we located the resplendent Frank Lloyd Wright design build Martin Home.

Soon we pull into the parking lot beside an adorable diner; the real deal. Bellies empty- ready for lunch. The menu is large- diner classics. The dilemma- potato pancakes or the meatball sandwich. The sandweech it is, on a home made hoagie bun, replete with caramelized onions, homemade bbq sauce, cheddar cheese- the best I have ever eaten.

The diner is somewhat more famous now thx to Guy Fieri’s review on Triple D, which ensures national exposure and pilgrims from abroad.

My love for all things Americana, esp. from the 50s, continues. A Route 66 tour opened up new possibilities for travel, which we hope to explore sooner rather than later. But to chance upon a classic, museum quality fifties diner as can be found at the Lake Effect (read more about it here) out of the blue turned an otherwise ordinary day into a serendipitous adventure.

Highly recommended….

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