Chef’s Restaurant opened in Buffalo in 1923. One of the neighborhood busboys worked his way up to restaurant manager and became the owner in 1954. They started with a limited menu of Italian options which has expanded over the years, most notably to include ‘Chef’s Spaghetti Parm’. A second dining room was added in 1966 with another addition 3 years later making their current capacity 325 persons and a banquet room for 125. The owner’s daughter and her son now run the business. The several bright rooms are filled with photos of notables who have eaten there and red-checkered cloth covered tables. Music is in the background there are some windows to the street outside. There is even a dedicated parking lot across from the building. In addition to the regular menu there is a menu of specials for the lunch hour. An announcer calls out numbers over the sound system, probably to alert the servers to pick up trays to serve. Service was amazingly efficient and super friendly.
We were there at lunch and took advantage of their special Spaghetti Parmesan with a meatball to try the dish they became famous for. Parm is a verb there meaning whatever you ordered will be encased in mozzarella cheese which is heated to a melting point. Lunch specials come with a salad, coffee and orange sherbet. Bread and packaged butter is first out. The slices were large and a soft dense bread. It didn’t have a crisp crust but was very good, but be careful and don’t fill up here.
The Chef salad is iceberg with shredded carrots and a slice of tomato. We had Italian dressing which was fine but benefitted from a little of the seasoned oil brought out for bread. This was a simple salad but very nicely done.
The Spaghetti Parmesan gets a meatball on top at lunch. It is supposed to be a smaller portion but didn’t seem too small to me. Inside the mozzarella encased dome is spaghetti mixed with red sauce and parmesan cheese. The server knew to bring an extra bowl of red sauce to mix in while you eat. You can see why the napkin doubles as a bib for those that don’t want to soil their shirt. The meatball was tasty and tender and blended nicely with the pasta and sauce. The pasta was cooked perfectly and all the cheese on top was really, really fun but quickly could turn messy. The sauce was well seasoned and if I lived closer I believe I’d be a regular at lunch. Yummy.
A bowl of sherbet is part of the lunch and you can chose orange, vanilla or swirl. The server suggested swirl so you can try both. It came out with a spoon stuck in the top and had a dreamscicle like flavor. Smooth and soft it was perfect after a really filling lunch that I could only eat about a half of.