Sandi's Restaurant is a gem of a place at the very end of the LaSalle Expressway in Wheatfield.
With large front windows, small sprigs of flowers on every table and blossom-decorated walls, this is a comfortable setting for the kind of meals you might whip up at home. We also spotted a framed display of Air Force patches and some other military memorabilia that indicated the place is enjoyed by those working at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station a few miles up Williams Road.
When John, Pat, John and I arrived before noon on a Sunday, we were handed the breakfast menu, which has a lot of offerings that sound delicious.
There's a one-pan breakfast, which starts with eggs and home fries mixed together and any two add-ins from a long list that ranges from bacon or sausage to feta or mushrooms ($4.99 small, $5.49 large, extra items 55 cents each). There's a meal of two slices of cinnamon bread, grilled and glazed with warm frosting ($5.29), breakfast sandwiches (eggs, cheese, bacon or sausage on an English muffin, $4.49 with home fries), omelettes (Greek or Western for $6.99, Philly cheese or everything for $7.99).
There are also pancakes (full stack $4.99), corned beef hash (with eggs and toast $6.99) or, if you're feeling healthful, a big bowl of oatmeal (or grits) with toast ($3.99). So basically everything you can think of is here, and if you can think of something else, they would probably make that for you, too.
The lunch menu has a similar selection of favorites, from burgers ($4.99 for a plain one) and melts ($6.99 or $7.99) to club sandwiches ($6.99) or chicken platters (Greek or barbecue for $8.99). Everything on the breakfast and lunch menu is priced below $9, so this is a gentle-on-the-wallet spot.
But the key question is whether the food is good. We had an inkling that it was just by glancing at the plates being delivered to neighboring tables. After our plates arrived and we dug in, we can report that it was not only good but excellent.
The tavern ham breakfast ($7.49) is served with eggs (ordered scrambled), home fries and toast, but the generous portion of ham is the centerpiece of this meal. The menu says the ham is hand-carved, and we are certain that it was, with the slightly resilient texture and sweetly smoky flavor of quality ham.
A one-pan breakfast with bacon and sausage was made with a chopped-up sausage patty. Temperature is essential with a plate like this, and it arrived right off the grill. It was very enjoyable, like something we would make ourselves if we had all the ingredients on hand.
A simple breakfast of eggs, home fries and toast ($3.49, $4.99 with bacon) was perfectly made. The bacon was crispy, as requested. The home fries, which were served on every plate, were made with bite-sized chunks of fried potato, slightly dusted with spice but lacking that crusty edge that we enjoy so much. Give them another five minutes on the grill and we'd be happy.
The final plate was a daily special, the pot roast breakfast, and can be summed up in one sentence: If you like pot roast, get this. The pile of pot roast was slightly shredded and looked stringy, the way pot roast does, but was cooked to tender perfection. Two eggs ordered over medium were cooked exactly that way, and the sourdough toast, one of about five kinds of bread available, was delicious.
On our way out, we noticed a dessert carousel stocked with delicious-looking cake and pie slices. Next time, we'll have pie first.
Sandi's Family Restaurant
3 1/2 pennies (out of 4)
Where: 2065 River Road, at Williams Road, Wheatfield (283-5257)
Hours: Opens at 7 a.m. daily and closes at 3 p.m. everyday except Friday when it is open until 8 p.m.Wheelchair-accesible: Yes