Story and photos by Joshua Maloni
It's easy to see what customers like about Sandi's Family Restaurant.
Despite my entering for lunch 17 minutes before close on Monday afternoon, the staff was friendly, the service was prompt and the food was delicious. Despite my faux pas, I was warmly greeted - no employees tapped their foot or pointed to a pretend wristwatch waiting for me to leave.
It's that level of customer service that earned Sandi's first place in Niagara Frontier Publications' recent restaurant contest.
"We're in the 'making people happy' business," said Dan Clark, who operates the Wheatfield restaurant alongside his wife - the eatery's namesake - Sandi Clark.
"We feel like we work for (our customers)," she added. "We're here because they come in. That's what keeps us going."
For a little more than one month, readers voted online at www.wnypapers.com for the Western New York restaurants with the friendliest, most professional service. Sandi's was tops with 37 percent of the votes. The Youngstown Village Diner was second with 26 percent.
Some of the comments left for Sandi's included:
•"Fantastic service! Fast, right and with a smile."
•"Waitresses are friendly and always remember your name and stop to say 'hello.' They remember your likes and dislikes. Food is fresh and homemade and reasonably priced. If you don't like something, they will redo it and/or comp your meal. The owners ... can be seen stopping at all the tables talking to customers ... to make sure everyone is satisfied. There is always a friendly, family atmosphere. Sandi's is the best!"
•"Always friendly and fast. ... Owners are super and always appreciative."
•"Warm, friendly, attentive - it is like you are part of the family."
•"Very kid friendly."
•"Everyone always has a smile on their face, the service is quick and efficient, and the owners are always there to greet you and make you feel like an old family friend!"
In response, Dan and Sandi thanked their customers and those who voted.
"We're so very proud; that's exciting," she said. "It means a lot to us. We're trying to do the best for our customers."
"It makes us very proud," he noted. "It gives us a sense of accomplishment."
Sandi's has been serving homemade meals, one-pan breakfasts and delectable lunch sandwiches for 17 years. Most menu items are priced below $8, and many include home fries, french fries or chips.
Find Sandi's online at www.sandis.biz. The restaurant is located at 2065 River Road at Williams Road (just past The Summit mall). Hours of operation are 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday through Thursday, and from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday.