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Thursday, June 20, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Zebb's Serves Up Classic Fare a la 1950s

It's common knowledge among alternative slumber devotees that when you wake up at 1 p.m., lunch is at 6 o'clock and dinner is, well, whenever.

Most often, the reaction to that late-night hunger is to quickly dispel it with something wrapped in foil, or perhaps to invoke the classic Maruchan weapon against your growling stomach. Occasionally, though, UB students are found prowling the nearby lengthy lanes of Maple, Sheridan, Niagara Falls and the like, searching for neon beacons of that warm, scrumptious something they're craving.

If you find yourself crossing those endless white lines after nine, do your stomach and wallet a favor by heading towards 2875 Niagara Falls Blvd. until you see the sign for Zebb's Deluxe Bar & Grill, fifties-style diner seated downhill from traffic, open from 10:30 a.m to midnight, Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 10 p.m. Sundays. The "large box on a highway" exterior keeps inside it a vibrant atmosphere, full of people who seem to truly enjoy providing quality, original food.

The design is a total malt shop remake, with pieces of Americana strewn everywhere: center tables with umbrellas set in the middle, countless booths and a monster jukebox. On first visit, one might suspect the Applebee's warehouse of faux-kitsch found another customer, but the quirky atmosphere found throughout the environment makes the occasional Laurel and Hardy posters seem appropriate.

The average time between entrance and being seated with drinks hovers around three minutes; on one occasion when the wait would have been 20 minutes, the host quickly offered his condolences and waited while our group made its decision. Humongous drinks accompany patrons as they wait out their food, which may take a little while in coming but for good reason. Zebb's makes one kind of food and makes it well: fresh and filling. Along with liberal portions of fresh-ground beef, crisply cut french fries, and daily-baked rolls and bread, the sneeze-guarded island in the dining room holds the toppings bar, a quite extensive one at that.

Zebb's serves either one-third- or one-half-pound burgers for $4.29 and $4.79, which you may remember from stuffed customer testimonials on the diner's commercials. Though it's hardly wise to work a diet at such a pro-carnivorous establishment, there are turkey and veggie burgers as well, though you'll have to stomach the same outlandish portions as the rest.

Aside from the patriotic grub, there's a wide assortment of Tex-Mex eats, all of which come in big portions and are made with colorful sauce and spice decisions. Zebb's bar, usually hosting an energetic mid-30s crowd in need of a Sabres game or any of the house's moderately-priced drafts and imports. If you can make it on a Saturday evening, there's even a $9.99 prime rib special, which would surely keep you warm and safe throughout that night's excursions.

The recent discovery many students have made (attested to by the abundance of backwards caps found when looking over the lounge) is the half-price appetizers offered after nine Monday through Friday and after 10 on Saturdays. If you remember the part about making food "big," and you heard correctly "half-price," those of you struggling with those last 30 dining dollars should consider budgeting your appetite.

Zebb's homemade Cadillac Nachos, smothered in beef, cheese, refried beans and all the fixings, are themselves a meal, and go for about $3.40 late-night. Although the restaurant's Amherst (and Orchard Park) locations are extensions of its Rochester roots, they've boldly created their own niche of wings and dare to sell them here, a tangy variety with a distinct Cajun garlic sauce; you and a buddy can split 20 of them for $5.00.

After standing and realizing how much soda and beef you've added to your center of gravity, you'll see above the exit: "Warning: You are now leaving Zebb's and re-entering reality." The next time you're left with an empty stomach and possibly an emptier wallet, you might want to suspend disbelief once more.



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