We have loved Spot Coffee for years as a place to meet friends over an excellent cup of hot or iced coffee or tea. But the bustling café, whose buzz is punctuated by amusing barista bellows, was always packed with people doing more than getting their caffeine fix as customers enjoyed soups, salads, sandwiches, omelets, pizza and other delicious dishes.
We like the original Spot at Delaware and Chippewa as a place to see and be seen, and Elmwood and Cleveland for its outdoor seating in fine weather. But we also enjoy the Spot on Main at Union in Amherst, with two levels of seating and a fireplace for atmosphere. It was this Spot that Paula, Tom, John, Pat and I visited on a recent weekend around noon.
There are no printed menus, but the wall menu is easy to read while waiting in line if you can narrow down what type of thing you’re in the mood to eat. In our haste to get our order in and not impede the line, I missed the chalkboard description of the daily special sandwich, which had at least seven savory vegetable ingredients and sounded scrumptious. My loss!
We placed our order, paid, picked up our drinks and retired to our table amid the ebb and flow of customers of every age, including people dressed for church or for long bike rides, some grabbing a bite and leaving, some camped behind laptops with a single long-empty coffee cup in front of them. Like the other Spots with metal industrial pipes snaking across the ceiling, the noise level can get a bit high at times, but the chatter is invigorating.
Our food – two breakfasts, three sandwiches and two crocks of soup – arrived at the counter at the same time, with the hot food steaming.
We started with the soup ($4.45 for a crock), which on this day was loaded potato. I’ve had some watery, starchy, bland potato soup in my time, so I generally avoid it, but one taste of this flavorful, hearty creation made me regret that decision. This was rich with bacon and sizable, soft chunks of potato. It was offered with crackers or a nicely toasted, homemade breadstick.
The Mike breakfast sandwich is an interesting creation, two pan-fried eggs topped with melted provolone and a smear of cream cheese ($4.95). Choose your bread – white, wheat, bagel, English muffin or foccacia – with the option of adding meat. But this satisfying sandwich didn’t need it. Good creation, Mike!
The three-egg omelet with cheese ($4.95, another excellent price) can have ham, sausage or bacon for $1.50 and a long list of vegetables for 50 cents each. We added onions and peppers and made the cheese Swiss. The omelet was perfectly cooked, solid rather than airy, and nicely accented by the mushrooms and soft red onions, although if we’d been making it at home, we’d have put in more of both. Two thick slices of buttered foccacia bread on the side were delectable, with a wonderful texture, slightly chewy and perfectly fresh. We discussed what this bread is like, and settled on the edge of pizza crust. Now imagine that toasted and buttered – yum!
The roast beef on foccacia ($8.95) was made with melted provolone, lettuce and tomato, and an ever-so-slightly horseradish-accented mayonnaise. The flavorful beef was accented by the subtle kick of horseradish. Our only quibble with this sandwich was that the meat was a bit thin for the price. The turkey foccacia ($8.95) was more generously made, although not overwhelmingly so. The turkey sandwich’s cheese was cheddar and the mayo was plain. Each of these sandwiches was grilled, melting the cheese appealingly. The sandwiches came with a side of chips or salad; the salad was a pile of tender baby greens and red field greens with a light vinaigrette dressing.
The chicken feta wrap ($8.55), on a soft wheat wrap, was stuffed with marinated chunks of chicken breast, feta cheese, dijon vinaigrette, field greens and peppers. It was served without onions, as requested. It was a delicious mix and nicely made.
The coffee, as usual, was beyond compare, and the iced tea was high-quality, too.
Where: 5330 Main St., Williamsville (565-0200)
Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
Note: There are five Spot locations in Western New York, as well as ones in Rochester, Saratoga, Toronto and Delray Beach, Fla. Addresses and hours for each location can be found at spotcoffee.com