At the corner of Sycamore and Herman, a faint smell of barbeque drifts through the air. Alongside vacant lots and boarded homes a large smoker sits in front of what is literally a hole in the wall. In an old garage thick with DIY advertising and mostly dedicated to the kitchen, SodaPops tends the grill full of burgers, subs, and chicken sandwiches in his eponymous fast food shack.
There isn’t much space to order, none to eat inside, but what SodaPops lacks in dining space it makes up for 10 fold with character. True to most East Side restaurants, SodaPops is full of flavor at an affordable price. Hush puppies are listed at 75 cents each. A cheeseburger, $3.
While I waited outside for my burger, it was clear that Sodapops was a neighborhood favorite. Car after car pulled up to collect bags of take out waiting by the counter. In the warm summer sun, the smell of the smoker, and a cold orange soda, it is truly a unique experience only had by venturing past Main. Sodapops is not just for those who live in the area. They also deliver and accept all major credit cards. With an extensive menu ranging from simple sides and sandwiches to full rib dinners, there really isn’t any excuse to not try it.
The city is so much larger than the three highways that constrict it, and I’ve found taking the time to explore is rewarded by discovering gems sometimes lost in the dust of development. Some of my favorite parts of the city are as gritty as they are resilient. Take time to support the businesses that still embody that side of Buffalo. Sycamore and Herman was once a major commercial intersection. Go see what it looks like today, and when you do stop at SodaPop’s, SodaPop himself will be more than happy to feed you.