The 5 Underrated WNY Breakfast Spots You Need in Your Life

City Guide, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Guides


Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Published on February 3, 2022
Photo courtesy of Granny’s Family Restaurant in Tonawanda

As we found out in a little documentary called Pulp Fiction, things can get a bit weird during breakfast at the diner, but you don’t question it. You just eat your muffin, drink your coffee, be cool like Fonzi and possibly have what alcoholics call A Moment of Clarity…

Diners and other breakfast spots distinguish themselves with unique dishes, cravable from-scratch food and massive portion sizes. The most successful breakfast specialty spots have worked this formula to develop a deep cult following: Betty’s, Bertha’s, Sophia’s, The Original Pancake House, The Poked Yolk, Campfire Grill… You know ‘em. You love ‘em.

But this article isn’t about those places. Below are five breakfast spots that have mostly flown under the radar. Sure, they might be popular in their neighborhood, and people mostly don’t drive across town for them like they do for a Dutch baby at TOPH. Check out the following places that maybe don’t get the love that they deserve. And maybe think about hitting them up. 

Did one of these places close? Send us a note!


1. Nick’s Place

504 Amherst St., Buffalo 14207 / More Info

Located in Black Rock, Nick’s Place has been starting days and crushing hangovers for years. With modest digs and big helpings, Nick’s checks off two breakfast spot essentials.

The little diner truly sets itself apart with its house-made bread and breakfast combos, including the Nick’s Omelette, with peppers, onions, hotdog, cheese and Texas Hot sauce. It’s a hangover/ stoner dream you need to dream. 

2. Villa Coffee House

769 Cayuga St., Lewiston 14092 / More Info

A long-time Lewiston favorite, Villa Coffee House got a new owner a few years back and with it, an overhaul, from the décor to the food. Regular menu is pretty basic but dig a little deeper and you’ll find something special. The technique is on point. Some items flex seasonal ingredients. There’s a lot made from scratch, and the specials are killer.


3. Granny’s Family Restaurant

2865 Sheridan Dr., Tonawanda 14150 / More Info

Owned by Lebanese immigrants, Granny’s brings a heavy Mediterranean flair to her breakfast game. Fresh and spicy things like kafta and tabouleh are useful when coffee just isn’t enough to wake you up. If you’ve never had your Mediterranean grandma cook you breakfast, this is probably about as close as it gets.

A strip mall gem hidden in plain sight, it can be a bit cold in winter, which will make you complain about the cold, like a granny.

4. Rooster’s Café

93 Ridge Road, Lackawanna 14218 / More Info

The quintessential American diner experience involves cheap prices, big portions, friendly service and a bit of quirkiness. Rooster’s Café not only ticks all those boxes, it does so with the authority of an Alonzo Mourning dunk.

At Rooster’s, you can have head-sized pancakes, perfectly-crispy corned beef hash and technically-sound eggs Benedict served with a smile, all while surrounded by a massive collection of rooster art.


5. Polish Villa

2954 Union Road, Buffalo 14227 / More Info

First, let’s all agree that the Polish Villa is just underrated in general. In WNY, we have countless places for sushi and Mexican. Chef-owners have been tripping over each other to open the next farm-to-table, New American gastropub. The Authentic Irish Pub is a concept that people just can’t get enough of. 

But a bona fide Polish restaurant? In a town that hosts the World’s Largest Dyngus Day celebration, you’d be pretty hard-pressed to name more than a handful of places. (And don’t get us started on Buffalo not having a modern Polish pub; with say, local craft beer, artisanal kielbasas, house-made pierogis, Sabres game night specials and live polka)

Yes, Polish Villa offers a Polish-American breakfast that goes mostly unappreciated outside Cheektowaga, seven days a week. Ya got yer kielbasa, yer kiszka and even yer kluski noodle wit’ eggs! What’s wrong wit’ youse? Pick up yer babcia and take her out for a nice breakfast!

Did one of these places close? Send us a note!

This post was originally published in 2021 and has been updated.

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Written by <a href="" target="_self">Brett Llenos Smith</a>

Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Brett Llenos Smith is a freelance writer based in Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood who has been covering local food and culture for Step Out Buffalo over the past six years. As someone with a multi-ethnic background, he has a passion for exploring and understand the many diverse corners of Western New York.
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