Western New York is rich with great places to get excellent Sahlen's hot dogs, fresh off the charcoal grill. But what if somebody in your group doesn't like hot dogs?
Milton's is one of the local places that does hot dogs right and also offers enough other choices so nobody feels left out.
Milton's has the bright blue and orange decor on the corner of the intersection of Union Road and Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga. It shares a parking lot with its brother restaurant, Alton's, which offers a wider variety of food. Both Milton's and Alton's have several Greek-accented choices.
The menu at Milton's starts with the dogs (single or red hot for $2.19, with cheese for $2.49, footlong for $3.29), but it also has burgers ($2.19); classic sandwiches such as honey Dijon turkey ($4.79) and chicken breast with lettuce and tomato ($4.49); subs (up to $7.29 for a whole steak and cheese); roast beef ($4.69, beef and cheddar for $4.99); and pita wraps ($4.69).
The place was quiet around noon on a Saturday, so although John, Pat, John and I needed a few minutes to examine the options, we had no trouble standing in front of the grill and reading the menu boards. There are also paper menus if you need to sit down and peruse. Don't miss the whiteboard list of specials and the soup of the day off to one side.
The dogs are thrown on the classic hardwood-charcoal grill when ordered and are dressed with all the usual condiments while you watch. We ordered and found a table in the adjacent bright, solariumlike room. Our food came out pretty quickly on two trays, and we all dug in.
The footlong ($3.29) was, as expected in a place where the standards are high, extremely good. It was charred just well enough to be delicious and served on a fresh roll (we watched the Costanzo's truck leave the parking lot after making another delivery). The long dog was accented by three pickle spears, which reached from end to end -- there was no need to have a bite without pickle.
A beef on weck ($4.69), another specialty of the house, was also nicely done. The beef was sliced medium-thick, not shaved, and still tender. It was the tiniest bit dry, but a smear of potent horseradish made that immaterial. The weck roll could have had more salt and caraway seeds, but it was fresh and delicious. We made this sandwich a combo for an extra $2.29, so it was served with fries and a fill-it-yourself fountain drink. The fries were pretty plain, and unfortunately, one of the two paper dishes of fries ($1.79 per serving when not in a combo) was cooling rapidly, while the other was much warmer.
A side of onion rings ($2.19) also seemed to have waited too long before being served, but they were good enough, with a crunchy, substantial, dark brown breading.
One of the day's specials was a sausage sandwich ($6.99 with a side and drink). The sausage patty was square, which for some reason amused us, and it was also delicious, mildly spiced and cooked on the grill to perfection. Soft cooked onions added flavor.
For a side, we ordered soup, which on this day was called country chicken. It sounded interesting, but when it arrived in a small bowl, the soup was far beyond interesting -- it was exceptional. It had a tomato base and was full of obviously home-chopped vegetables, including zucchini, broccoli, onions and red peppers, as well as small shell macaroni. It was delicious.
Also delicious, but a bit challenging to handle, was the chicken souvlaki pita wrap ($4.69). It was served in a soft pita bread that was thicker than a normal wrap and only large enough to enclose three-quarters of the filling. It could not be lifted up to be eaten and had to be attached with knife and fork. But it was worth the trouble because it was extremely good, with high-quality chunks of chicken breast, crisp lettuce, tomatoes and a delicious dill sauce, making it a harmonious combination.
3 pennies (out of four)
"Hot dogs and more."
WHERE: 3425 Union Road, Cheektowaga (681-2333, www.miltonswny.com)
HOURS: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes