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Dive in at the Swan Street Diner

The Phantom Diner series is sponsored by Urban Valet Cleaners.

Veni, Vidi, Degustavi! I came, I saw, I ate! And boy, did I.

No Ugly Swan here…

Arriving at Swan Street Diner at that ‘tween’ hour I couldn’t decide if I wanted breakfast or lunch; so, I opted for both. Sitting in the modernized Airstream-style diner I looked over the menu and ordered the “House Hash” ($12) for my breakfast item. It comes with 2 eggs, house corned beef hash and an order of toast – nice and simple. For my lunch item I ordered a “Chicago Dog” ($6) which had a kosher dog with two kinds of pickles (sweet and sour) plus all the fixings.

The hash dish was uniquely GREAT! When I order a hash dish I generally expect some version of hashlike mush; much like the consistency of dog food. (Remember the canned hash that your mom used to buy? Something like that.) BUT this wasn’t like that – and not by a long shot. The Swan Street “House Hash” was made with pulled corned beef mixed with crispy potatoes and sweated (slightly caramelized) onions. I enjoyed the heck out of it.

The “Chicago Dog” is a hot dog (albeit kosher) and I expected it to taste the way they all taste – not bad. The reason I ordered it though, is because of the garnishes that came along with it. So, the double-shot of pickle caught my eye and my taste as one bite had a little sweetness to it and the next bite had a hint of sour. Not being a pickle expert, I couldn’t really tell you what kind they were but the combo – along with the other garnishes – hit the mark. I’ve never had tomato on my hot dog before, but the combo of tomato, onions, pickle and celery seeds was likeable.

I was told that the Swan Street Diner had a nice little dessert on board – a secret weapon of sorts – and I came to taste it. I ordered up some of their “Mini Donuts” ($5 for three, $8 for six, or a dozen for $10). The donuts are made to order and they arrive at your table hot and fresh. They have three varieties – powdered, cinnamon sugar and glazed – and they offer a flavor of the day as well. This is once again one of those very personal tasting moments that words can’t describe to another. But the warm, freshly made little donuts are something you should experience for yourself. (Do try them!)

The Swan Street Diner offers all the style and nostalgia of a 1950’s – 1960’s diner from New York, Chicago, Kansas City or Detroit. Vibrant colors, sleek lines and a carefully appointed interior make for enjoyable surroundings while you sample their menu. But the comparison to old school diner food really stops there because, aside from similarity in the ‘naming’ of menu items – this is no sloppy, choke and puke diner. A lot of consideration went into elevating some very basic dishes (eggs, burgers, flapjacks, biscuits and gravy) to a more contemporary, and tastier, level.

The diner fills quickly around lunch time and seats about 48. (Get there early to get a seat.) Bar seating is available and menu items are available all day. (All day ends at 3PM.)

There are a few parking spots in front of the diner but there is a large parking lot directly behind it. Bike racks are located on site, so you can secure your ride while you take a break from the road to grab a snack, a full lunch or maybe a nice frosty shake.

The vibe inside is energetic and lively when the lunch crowd arrives. Servers are fast and efficient and certainly knowledgeable and experienced. There seems to be a lot of attention to detail in the menu, the décor and the service. Job well done!

Open daily from 7am to 3pm. If you’re in a hurry, you can go on their website to place an order for pickup:

Ambiance: Classic American fully restored diner with attractive colors scheme.
Menu: Nostalgic menu items with contemporary flavor profiles.
Service: Johnny-on-the-spot, effective, attentive and friendly. They love their job.

Swan Street Diner | 700 swan street | Buffalo, New York 14210 | (716) 768-1823 | Facebook | Open breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday | 7am to 3pm

Series Sponsor: Urban Valet is a locally owned and operated, full service garment care company that offers a broad range of safe and environmentally-friendly cleaning options. They have three store locations and provide complimentary home and office delivery service throughout the WNY region. Home delivery can be scheduled every week or “on demand.” Urban Valet’s mission is to make life a little easier. Let them take care of your laundry & favorite duds, so you have more time to do the things you really enjoy! For more information, please visit

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Written by Phantom Diner

Phantom Diner

A Buffalo-based undercover restaurant reviewer. In conjunction with Buffalo Rising, this weekly series will present objective, honest reviews of WNY restaurants. What makes a restaurant great? Great cuisine, great service, and consistent delivery.

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