Orchard Park knows how to get its spring and summertime fix. Since 1949, Taffy’s Hot Dog Stand has delivered a healthy (a generous term) dose of shakes, fries and hot dogs – served with old fashioned charm to its generation-agnostic faithful. But don’t let the term “Stand” mislead you. This is more than your average mom-and-pop shop.
On this midweek afternoon, business is humming. Nestled between Orchard Park Road and a shopping plaza, it’s an unlikely spot to expect a summer comfort food getaway. But when you arrive, you’re transported to a timeless oasis that would fit in just as well in the 1950s as today.
Through the entrance, the outdoor setting is lined with wooden booths and tables, shaded by colorfully patterned canopies. It’s an easy-to-accept invitation best paired with a cool breeze, open-toed shoes and sunglasses. And if you’re so inclined, you can indulge with the booths’ swaying “rocking chair-like” features. The main shack’s shingled roof, ornamental tin siding and old-school “Taffy’s Since 1949” signage provides almost intentionally dated charm that’s synonymous with summertime nostalgia. That, and the 80s soundtrack that could just as appropriately have come from any of the past six decades.
But the true litmus test is the grub.
The open window order station greets you with a full-sized flavor menu that doesn’t quite seem possible, until you realize it is. And that’s just for ice cream. To its right, a chalkboard provides an equally impressive selection across Dogs and Links, Subs and Hoagies, a Kids Menu and a range of Other Fare. Naturally, this writer went for it. The foot-long dogs are not for the faint of appetite, but are worth the reward and best served with a healthy dose of chili and cheese. The curly fries were extra flavorful thanks to a nearby spray bottle (!) that served as a vinegar dispenser – brilliant. The meal came together with a rich and thick mocha milkshake that passed the straw test with swirling colors (read: the straw stood on its own).
It’s not hard to understand how a location built on a classic premise has appealed to generations from high chairs, to high school to high society. Whether a travel destination or transition stop, Taffy’s is a regional staple that promises a great experience frozen in time. That, and ice cream.