Update: Amy’s Place is closed indefinitely, reopening only if the business is purchased.
3234 Main St., Buffalo / University Heights / North Buffalo
Cuisine: Classic & vegan Lebanese comfort food
Hours: Sunday-Saturday 7am-9pm
Located in University Heights, Amy’s Place is a hidden gem of sorts. You might have seen their food truck driving around or parked at Food Truck Tuesday’s, but their brick and mortar restaurant is a low-key place hidden in plain sight next to the likes of Shango’s and Sato Ramen Bar. Since 1981 they’ve been serving up “outstanding vegetarian and vegan options to nourish your healthy side without overlooking your need for fried goodness”. Virtually every dish they offer is under $10, and all you carnivores out there need not fret; there are plenty of options for you too.
I’m a huge fan of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean types of food, and Amy’s Place gave my taste buds a party in my mouth they won’t soon forget. Amy’s Place offers a wide range of options to satisfy every palate during breakfast, lunch, and dinner at prices that also satisfy every wallet. While they specialize in vegetarian and vegan dishes, they know that not everyone wants to eat leafy greens all day so they switch it up by serving unique, fresh foods in all kinds of different ways. Even though their cuisine is a bit exotic this place is a diner through-and-through and everything from the booth seats to the $4 entrees to the Early Bird Specials bring their comfort food to life and make you feel comfortable (and full). No matter what time of day or who you’re with Amy’s Place will give you a good time and food that you can actually taste the TLC in, just make sure you bring cash since they don’t take cards.
The menu at Amy’s Place has something for everyone. They serve all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner options so no matter what time you go you can get whatever it is you’re craving. Their Breakfast options include everything from Lentils with Broccoli, Homefries, & Toast ($1.99 Early Bird Special, $4.99 regularly) to Shawarma & Eggs with Homefries and Flatbread ($8.50) to L.A. Cinnamon Bread French Toast ($5.50). Their Tummy Teasers include their famous Curly Q fries smothered with chili, onions, cheddar, and a side of sour cream aka Wet Shoes ($6.50), salads, Middle Eastern appetizers, and “Old Favorites” like Grilled Cheese ($3.50) and Eggplant Parmigan ($5.99). Then there’s their Sandwich Section which has a whole bunch of things to choose from under their Hot & Spicy Sandwiches (Customer’s Favorites), Warm Sandwiches (Middle Eastern Classics), Cold Sandwiches, Middle Eastern Dinners, Hamburgers & Veggie Burgers, and Chicken Sandwiches options. You’ll also find their Crew’s Creations with lots of selections crafted by the Amy’s Place crew and named after each person who invented it. And if all that food has got you feeling thirsty, there’s tons of hot and cold beverages to wet your whistle including their selection of locally made Johnny Ryan cane sugar sodas ($1.99). Drooling yet?
We arrived not really knowing what we were walking into, but were all pleasantly surprised. What we did know was Amy’s Place specialized in vegetarian and vegan foods and that we really liked their food truck. I’m almost embarrassed to say that for as long as Amy’s Place has been around it’s taken me this long to make my way into their actual restaurant, but as they say better late than never. When we walked in we were immediately immersed in an authentic diner setting: there were bright booths filled with patrons, a long counter where customers can eat, order takeout, and pay their bill, and paper place-mats that some customers enjoy exercising their artistic creativity on. After we received our menus we all had the same reaction: “whoa”. There are a lot of options to choose from. Thankfully Amy’s Place makes it (somewhat) easier for you by categorizing their options into different sections and subsections and labeling them with doodles that denote whether each selection is Vegan, Vegetarian, or has alternative meat or spread options. Wanting to try as much as we could, we decided to get a bunch of different options and share.
- Maza Dish Sampler ($10.99)
- One look at the Middle Eastern Appetizers in the Tummy Teaser section of the menu and it was unanimous that we wanted all of them. The Maza Dish was a fantastic way to try their humis, eggplant dip, labanee, and tabulee with lots of warm pita to boot. It should be known that this is a BIG dish; there were 3 wannabe-professional eaters here and we couldn’t finish it all. Don’t let that stop you though, that’s what take home boxes are for.
- Shawarma Sandwich ($7.50)
- From the Sandwiches section of the menu under the Warm Sandwiches subsection, this one comes with thin strips of wine-marinated beef grilled with onions and tomatoes and rolled in a pita with tahini. Even that sturdy pita shell couldn’t contain all the goodies in this sandwich. Pro-tip: leave the paper on as you eat.
- Falafel Sandwich (Mini $5.25, Full $7.50)
- Another contender from the Sandwiches/Warm Sandwiches section, the Falafel Sandwich is one of Amy’s signature vegan options. Pita bread stuffed with ground fava beans, chick peas, onions, parsley, and spices rolled into patties and deep fried then rolled up with lettuce, tomatoes, tahini, and house dressing. A full-blown lover of falafel in general, the orderee of this dish proclaimed it was the best falafel she’s ever had.
- Kafta Sandwich ($7.50)
- As I said before I’m a Middle Eastern food fanatic, so a selection from the Middle Eastern Classics (Sandwiches/Warm Sandwiches) was always my plan. This fine specimen consisted of ground beef and lamb mixed with parsley, onions, and spices and char-broiled then rolled in a pita with humis, lettuce, tomatoes, and house dressing. The meat in this was so tender that it was heavenly, and the sandwich itself was so big it lasted me 2 additional meals after I got home. Three times the Amy’s Place, three times as happy.
Bottom line: If you like Middle Eastern/Mediterranean/vegetarian/vegan/cheap/delicious food that will feed you multiple times over, head to Amy’s Place.