The Poked Yolk (West Seneca, NY)

After almost three weeks of traveling through the Midwest, mostly exploring NE Minnesota and northern Michigan, it was time for us to head home. While in normal years we’d debate the merits of the Canadian and domestic route options, pandemic restrictions resulted in us having to take domestic routes home due to border closings. When it comes down to it, there’s basically two efficient ways to cross New York, going through Buffalo via the Thruway, or taking the Southern Tier/I-88 route across the southern part of the state. We ended up doing the slightly more efficient Thruway route after overnighting in Erie, PA, which left us looking for breakfast around Buffalo. We here at Offbeat Eats have a lot of favorite spots in and around Buffalo, but since we’re usually hitting Buffalo mid-afternoon instead of morning, we’re still working on the breakfast scene. Looking at the options, I decided to try out a new place a bit off the beaten path: The Poked Yolk.

The Poked Yolk is a local chain, currently with two locations, one in Orchard Park, the other on the very east edge of West Seneca; we choose the latter, since it easily allowed us to avoid morning traffic around Buffalo. Located in a fairly quiet strip mall, the Poked Yolk is a cozy place, with about a dozen tables nestled in an L-shaped dining room with the current de rigueur table dividers of the late pandemic era. Even at 8am, the Poked Yolk was busy: we had a 10 minute wait for a table.

Menu-wise, I’d classify the Poked Yolk as “hearty American diner” fare: breakfast and lunch, with most of the breakfast being various egg dishes (hence the name) and the lunch menu being burgers. I was strongly tempted by their house specialty, the namesake “poked yolk”: homefries cooked with spicy chorizo, onions, green peppers, and melted cheddar jack cheese, topped with 2 eggs (actual yolk-poking optional!), but then noticed one of their Benedict variations: the Jose. English muffin topped with tomato, spicy chorizo sausage patty, poached eggs, green salsa, sour cream, served with seasoned homefries. This was a great breakfast: the chorizo was nicely spicy and had a good sear on it, the green salsa was a nice, robust, and mildly spicy salsa, and the homefries nicely crisp with bits of onion and green pepper. Not a fancy breakfast, but a tasty and hearty one, well-executed.

While our visit was a quick one, The Poked Yolk hit the spot: a nice, hearty breakfast, pleasant staff, and a nice break from traffic. I’ll remember this place for future drives.

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