If you love Thanksgiving stuffing as much as I (and presumably millions of other Americans) do, it seems silly to confine your consumption to a holiday riddled with enjoyment-throttling potential—noisy relatives, contentious dinner table conversation, indigestion, and the like. Luckily, stuffing is on the table at a smattering of Western New York restaurants year-round, or nearly so. Here are just a few.
Pot pie with a twist
Inspired by a beloved meal from general manager Amanda Amico’s childhood, the stuffing-topped pot pie at Swan Street Diner is comfort food at its zenith. Made from bread inflected with fragrant rosemary, butter-sautéed onion and celery, house chicken stock, a potpourri of fresh herbs and a few eggs for structural integrity, golden-brown baked stuffing serves as a craggy, custardy crown to Amico’s velvety, sour cream-enriched mushroom and pulled chicken pie filling. The result is a dish that’s as nostalgia-inducing as the authentic 1937 diner car it’s served in.
Swan Street Diner
700 Swan St., Buffalo
Roast pork loin with stuffing
Under “home-cooked dinners” at this 1950s-reminiscent Southtowns restaurant, you’ll discover proof positive that poultry isn’t stuffing’s only bedfellow. That’s because at Uncle Joe’s, Chef Pauline Ratchuk transforms the heels of white and whole wheat loaves that might otherwise go to waste into a savory accompaniment to orange-ginger rubbed roast pork loin topped with plenty of scratch-made gravy. Ratchuk’s secret might just be the bacon grease she uses to sweat her aromatics, or maybe it’s the fresh herbs plucked directly from owner Joe Gargano’s nearby garden (season permitting, of course). In any case, it’s a side dish that’s anything but ancillary.
Uncle Joe’s Diner
4869 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg
I Love Josie sandwich
If you prefer to eat with your hands, wrap your stuffing-loving fingers around the I Love Josie—a menu staple at Joe’s Hertel Avenue and Maple Road locations. Designed to evoke fond memories of holiday leftovers, this sizable sandwich features sliced roast turkey, cranberry mayonnaise and melty, mild muenster cheese on buttery grilled sourdough. Its centerpiece, though, is the layer of flat top-seared bread stuffing. Flavored with onion, garlic, celery, thyme, scallion, poultry seasoning and bay leaf, it’s about as classic a stuffing preparation as it gets.
Buffalo (Hertel Avenue) & Amherst (Maple Road)
Roast turkey dinner with stuffing
If you’re up for a drive, the restaurant at Sprague’s Maple Farm in Portville serves a self-proclaimed country-style roast turkey dinner of Thanksgiving proportions every day of operation. The draw here isn’t so much the stuffing filler as it is the crumbled house-made maple pork sausage that permeates it. Served with cranberry sauce and slices of free-range turkey raised by Sprague’s, it’s sure to curb a Thanksgiving hankering, even in, say, the middle July.
Sprague’s Restaurant & Pancake House
1048 Portville-Obi Road, Portville
Story topics: Food & Drink