To reward me for going to see Celine Dion with her, my mom took me to Santasiero’s, one of the best Italian joints in Buffalo and probably anywhere.
Santasiero’s is a dumpy old building located between the ghetto, some rusty old factories and the stench hole that is Lake Erie. They have vinyl picnic-style tablecloths, skinny, crass waitresses and only one menu for the whole place pasted on the wall. It is the best shit of all time.
My earliest memory at Santasiero’s: I was probably six or seven, and my parents dragged my brother and I out of the suburbs and into there on a sweaty Saturday night, when the place is filled with old hairy guys in polyester and their bouffanted wives drinking lambrusco out of juice glasses. Actually, it’s always filled with people like that. The waitress wiped the previous customers’ table scraps — peas, broth, macaroni—off the table and directly onto the floor. I nearly passed out.
Now I am old and smart and I know exactly what’s up. And! Last night I discovered the pasta fagioli (spelled helpfully by Santasiero’s as “pasta fasoola”) is vegetarian. My mom has been selling me some jive about chicken broth for some time now, and I’ve always been too scared to ask the waitresses, who would probably throw me out on my ear. However, last night as Tom and I tore into the giant stack of bread, the old guy at the table next to us asked about the broth. “Just onions and garlic and oil,” the waitress said. My heart exploded. It comes with a little bowl of fried banana peppers.
Also their website is hilarious.