I’ve always loved the idea of themed restaurants. I’ve been to a couple in the past, like one where the staff are allowed to be mean to you and can make you a paper hat with an insult written on it, and one that makes the customer feel like they are sitting in the middle of a tropical rainforest. Being a geek and loving everything in nerd culture, I’ve often wondered how fun it would be to eat at a nerdy themed restaurant. This desire was finally fulfilled by Say Cheese Pizza Company and the Comic Book Café on Grand Island.
Say Cheese Pizza is a comic book themed restaurant with a comic book shop right in the middle of it. The second I pulled into the parking lot, the excitement hit me as I noticed a life-sized Spider-Man statue crawling on the front of the building to welcome visitors. More life-sized statues of superheroes such as the Incredible Hulk, the Flash, and Thor stand throughout the eatery in valiant poses. Comic book posters decorate the ceiling. Collectable figures of just about every superhero border the walls in cases. By each table hangs a framed valuable comic book. Next to the table I sat at, hung the very first appearance of the Human Torch. This place is a comic book lover’s dream.
The comic book shop portion of the restaurant is only about the size of a walk-in closet. I can see it being incredibly uncomfortable if just a handful of people want to do some shopping at the same time. That being said, all of the comics and figures displayed throughout the restaurant are available for purchase. Despite the tiny size of the comic shop, a wide variety of items are sold in it, including action figures, collectable coffee mugs, comic books, t-shirts, board games, and more.
Adding to the nerdy vibe, there is an arcade section here as well. This gives it a great hangout feel, so you and your friends can enjoy a couple of rounds of pinball or give the claw machine a try after dinner. It doesn’t exactly have a classic arcade feel like it would with Pac-Man or Donkey Kong games, but it certainly adds to the fun that Say Cheese Pizza has to offer.
Not only is the comic book aspect of this business successful, but it is also marvelous as a restaurant. The food and drinks are absolutely delicious, and a full bar is included. The pizza is phenomenal and they really pack on the toppings. If you aren’t into the comic book scene, you’d still enjoy the great food, the Sabres and Bills games playing on the TVs at the bar, and the comfortable vibe of the restaurant. I do however wish there were themed items on the menu. I feel as though having a restaurant like this lends itself to having fun names for meals or drinks, like a Bat-burger or Superman Sundae. An opportunity was unfortunately missed there, which is disappointing.
Say Cheese Pizza is a truly magnificent spot to eat at, but I recommend only visiting during weekdays or when there isn’t a major sporting event on TV. With the full bar scene being mixed with sports on a weekend night, the crowd can get pretty rowdy.
I was there on a Friday night and people were drunkenly shouting songs at each other and loudly cussing. One woman swore at me and threatened to fight me because she used the bathroom faster than I did. On one hand, I get having the sports bar to attract customers who are not interested in the comic books, but that’s what the delicious pizza and other food is doing. The rambunctiousness of the carousers can distract those looking to enjoy some comic book discussion.
Say Cheese Pizza Company and the Comic Book Café is not only one of the most unique places in Western New York, but one of the most unique places anywhere. It’s positively the place to be for chatting with your friends about comic books while enjoying delectable food and drinks surrounded by superhero figures, statues, and posters. Say Cheese proves that with great pizza comes great times. It’s doubtlessly worth stopping by for this unique comic book themed restaurant as long as you make sure to avoid those raucous bar crowds.