by Carolyn Batt

Unquestionably, I had heard the rumors, seen the lines out the door and listened to the dozens of praises I had heard about Amy’s Place. Admittedly though, it took some persuasion to actually get me into this hole-in-the-wall diner in University Heights.

Amy’s Place is not your typical restaurant. It’s an anything goes kind of place—some days the sounds of Ray Charles play softly while you’re dining, and other times Queen and Nirvana are blasting while you’re sitting along the counter. The wall art is a collection of local talent along with the placemats of customers that have sketched while dining, and the people watching- well, that’s almost as big of a draw as the food. You never know whether you’ll be seated next to college students, an artsy family or a young city couple.

I always start off my morning (or afternoon or evening—Amy’s Place is open all day), with a Johnnie Ryan soda—locally made root beer, cherry soda, or cola, made with 100% pure cane soda. There’s something about drinking a soda out of a glass bottle in a diner that makes me feel like I’m suddenly not in 2009 Buffalo.

Then it’s on to the lentil soup. Lentil soup in itself isn’t always the most exciting first course, but at Amy’s Place, their homemade soup is a chunky mix of fresh lentils, seasonings and pasta for an added originality. Their menu contains a mix of Middle Eastern, vegetarian options and dishes created by their own staff. Despite the more than 50 items you can order, I’m pretty partial to the Simply Salim—a mix of fresh tomatoes, feta cheese, fries and hot sauce in a pita with a side of tabouli. It’s definitely one of those “tastes better than it sounds” must-try foods.

Amy’s Place has caused me to have an addiction to an offbeat restaurant that at first glance, may not be your first choice. However, after one meal there, instead of people trying to persuade me, the roles have reversed and I’m the one now suggesting Amy’s Place—for the third time in a week.

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