The DiTondo’s Facts
370 Seneca St, Buffalo / (716) 855-8838
Hours: Lunch: Monday – Friday 11 am – 2 pm / Dinner: Friday 5 pm – 9 pm
Price: $ (Cash Only) / Cuisine: Italian
When you think of comfort food, the old school Italian DiTondo’s should be one of the first places that comes to mind. Family owned and operated since 1904, DiTondo’s is the second oldest tavern in Western New York and has been serving up homemade favorites that our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents know and love. The place itself is a no-fuss, no-frills restaurant where the whole staff makes you feel like family. During the warmer months they have seating on their ginormous outdoor patio. If you want a big, rock-your-tastebuds, Italian-style comfort meal – this is the place to get it. Just make sure you bring some old fashioned moola cuz it’s #cashonly.
When a restaurant has consistently received rave reviews for 112 years, it’s a safe bet that your experience there is going to be pretty great. As if the amazing food wasn’t enough the atmosphere, friendly service (which can be slow if they’re busy), and prices seal the deal to make DiTondo’s a can’t-miss dining experience. Where else can you get a meal for 4 people with a side of genuine Italian-American history for less than $30? Like we said, there’s a reason DiTondo’s is a Buffalo classic.
DiTondo’s doesn’t have a massive menu, but like Nana always said quality is better than quantity. Their lunch menu includes classic favorites like Spaghetti with Sauce (small $6.75, large $7.75), Fried Bologna with Cheese and Onions ($6), and their Award Winning 12 oz Cheeseburger ($6). Their dinner menu features Clams Casino (½ dozen $7.25), Stuffed Eggplant Parm ($5.95), Fresh Baked Haddock Italian Style ($11.25-13.95), and Linguini with Clam Sauce (small $10.95, large $11.95). Pro tip: DiTondo’s has three different homemade sauces, Plain, Mushroom, and Meat, that you can ask your server to try with your bread basket if you’re unsure which you’d like with your meal. No one will judge you for trying them all. Second pro tip: ask for a bib, because while you’re there you’ll probably see some notable Buffalo movers-and-shakers and it might get awkward if your face/hands/body are covered in food (we say this from a place of love/experience).
Trust us when we say we know how hard it is to save room for dessert, but if you can find the willpower to get half of your meal to go you won’t be sorry. Every day the wonderful cooks at DiTondo’s make a limited selection of homemade pies and desserts which we’ve been told are best to order *prior* to your meal because once they’re gone, they’re gone. Homemade pies on any given day can include Banana Cream, Strawberry, Apple, Blueberry with Crumb Topping and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and many, many more. As they say* (*we tell ourselves), calories don’t count during lunch/on Tuesday/when you deserve it/etc!
It was one of our smart, funny, all-around great employee’s (aka my) birthday and when presented with the choice of going to any place of my choosing for lunch the only thing I could think was D I T O N D O S. I had heard amazing things about DiTondo’s but due to the limited hours I always found myself driving by only to see a ‘CLOSED’ sign and then feel very sad (also hunger pains).
We arrived and found ourselves transported back in time and surrounded by what seemed to be lots of regulars – some in suits, some in jeans, all with heaping piles of food in front of them that made us jealous/hungry. The inside of DiTondo’s is a mix of charming with old-school cool, and all around us were photographs and memorabilia of decades past of friends, family, and everyone in between that made you feel like you were in your Italian grandma’s house instead of a restaurant.
We sat down and were given postcard-sized menus with the lunch offerings of the day. Even though the menu was small, we all still had a difficult time deciding what to eat because everything looked So. Good. After much deliberation we finally made up our minds and placed our orders. First up we tried the Soup of the Day which happened to be Pasta Fagioli (cup $2.75, bowl $3.25) and the Stuffed Hot Peppers ($7.95). Both were super good and combined with the bread basket had already started to fill us up…we know, party foul.
When our main courses arrived we all started salivating or maybe it was just me as the waitress one by one placed our plates in front of us. We ordered the 8oz Italian Sausage Patty with Cheese ($6), Spaghetti Parmesan (small $8.25, large $9.25), Meatball ($4.25), Spaghetti with Sauce (small $6.75, large $7.75), and Grilled Steak Sandwich (market price). Everything we ordered made the whole table turn silent as we gracefully ate our food (read: shoveled our food into our face holes). The Italian Sausage Patty and Grilled Steak were huge in terms of both size and flavor, so if you’re craving beef you can’t go wrong here. The Spaghetti Parmesan was my personal favorite but be warned: if you don’t like cheese then 1) GTFO and 2) you may want to go with the Spaghetti with Sauce as the Spaghetti Parm is LOADED with cheese and then has more cheese on top of that. Both pasta dishes filled us with love, happiness, and rainbows and the portion sizes gave us enough leftovers for dinner that night AND lunch the next day.
Although we thought we did a good job of controlling ourselves ~LOL~ unfortunately our stomachs could not handle the mere thought of ingesting even one more bite, so we were unable to indulge in DiTondo’s delicious homemade dessert menu. *BUT* now that we know the whole order-your-dessert-first-and-take-your-meal-home trick (sidebar: why don’t we do this ALL the time??) we will be prepped and ready during our next DiTondo’s adventure…which if we’re doing it right will be before my next birthday rolls around.