Classic Buffalo Spotlight: Pautler’s Drive-In

By Charlie Fashana

Published on

When you think of family fun, it’s conceivable that Transit Road doesn’t top the list of places to go. Malls, car dealers, grocers, retailers, and probably traffic, might be the things that come to mind.

But, if you look beyond the bigger box shops and the vast parking lot pavement (more specifically between Clarence Center and Casey Roads), you’ll find a lush greenspace, an epic playground, and one of the best retro drive-in style restaurant and ice cream shops around.  

This mini oasis, Pautler’s Drive-In (6343 Transit Road, Clarence), has been serving up memorable experiences and flavorful dishes and delights dating back to 1958.

On any given day, you’re sure to see lines of uniformed cheerleading squads, baseball or soccer teams, kids in strollers, pets on leashes – all accompanied by their supporting families, friends, and caregivers. Lining up to reward themselves after a hard-fought victory, to forget a crushing defeat, or just to enjoy the time together, one thing that’s common to all is the joy that Pautler’s brings.

Highlighting the food and dessert offerings are local culinary staples: Sahlen’s hot dogs and Perry’s Ice Cream. But the expansive menu goes beyond the summertime classics, including fish fries and souvlaki to milkshakes and other novelties. The menu alone exudes the nostalgic feeling the only way warm summer days, hot dogs and ice cream could.

And if the food wasn’t enough to satisfy your every warm weather desire, the atmosphere and ambiance takes care of the rest. Your kids, your pets, and your inner child can enjoy the picnic tables, swing sets, slides, and green grass. It’s a perfect combination for…well, everyone.

And speaking from experience as a regular patron, good luck trying to get your kids to leave. It’s a sad ride home!

Photos courtesy of Pautler’s Drive-In

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Charlie Fashana

At work I'm part artist, part scientist. At home I'm part husband, part dad. Here and always, I'm all Buffalo.