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937 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo NY 14222
Mon-Thu/Sun: 11am-12am
Fri/Sat: 11am-5am
(716) 886-4953
Elmwood Tacos and Subs
Price range
Type of restaurant
fast food, late night dining
Payment Methods
Cash, Credit Cards
Non Food Features
Music Videos

The History

A photo by Amanda Steffan Elmwood Tacos and Subs (also known as ETS) is a Buffalo tradition for locals and tourists from any neighborhood. It is a family business with only one location. It focuses on American and Mexican dining but has a large, diverse menu. The establishment adds on new menu items over the years and keeps them depending on their popularity from their customers.

Barbara and Ron Lucchino started Elmwood Tacos and Subs in 1975. The first location was built on the corner of Elmwood and West Delevan in Buffalo. It immediately became a hit with the locals.

When a building opened up down the street they decided to move the establishment for better accessibility. They stayed there for a few years but the location didn’t fit their needs and they moved back into their previous, original location.

In 2007 they decided to relocate again in order to serve the community better. They preferred drive-thru and improved parking options for their customers. The Lucchino family decided to purchase an abandoned Burger King building on Elmwood near Bidwell. Mike Lucchino, Barb and Ron’s son, was the current family member to oversee the locations move. He and his sister Jackie have taken over the family business and planned to take ETS to the next stage. The new look is a way to possibly expand on the business and build franchise opportunities for the company.

They started the buildings renovations in early 2007 and finished in late 2007. The new location also gave them an opportunity to add outside patio seating for their customers. Parking is also available for customers near the restaurant, something the other locations never had and a rarity for any business in that area.

The location of ETS reflects its surrounding locale known as Elmwood Village. The Elmwood Village Association has been in existence since 1994. It has made the urban character of the community its No. 1 priority to keep the “welcoming attitude.” They are trying to keep the historic nature of this area preserved and making sure each business and resident there is protecting the small businesses and giving back to the community.

A photo by Amanda Steffan

Elmwood Village is one of the bright spots in the greater Western New York area. The wonderful locations of: Hoyt Lake, Japanese Gardens, and Delaware Park are all within walking distance. Buffalo State College contributes to the younger generation vibe which spills over to the streets. The night life is worth checking out. Elmwood Tacos & Subs benefitsfrom all of this by having prime location in the middle of all the action. With that said they do face stiff competition from many other notable restaurants. The reasonable prices at ETS seem to be an important factor to their success.

The long-term goals of the organization are: to strengthen the economic competitiveness of the neighborhood commercial district and to improve the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods. The short-term goals are: to identify mechanisms to foster economic growth, to promote stabilization of the neighborhoods, and to work with governmental offices that can have a positive impact on the area.

The new location of ETS has become unrecognizable as its previous owner, Burger King. The shiny tiled floors, bountiful menu, dim lighting, and modern dining area have kept the locals continually coming back. The restaurant is known for their clean appearance and exceptional service they provide to their customers. While the indoor seating is limited; the drive-thru, outdoor seating, and take-out options give choices for their customers. They even provide a call ahead service if you want to skip the line. Call your order in 10 minutes beforehand and it can be ready via drive-thru or pickup at the front registers inside.

The Menu

In regards to their famous tasting taco meat, it is made with 100 percent select ground beef and flavored with over 12 imported spices. The mixture is made daily on site. A photo by Amanda Steffan

They are also known for their homemade “Diavolo” hot sauce, available for purchase to their customers at $3.75 a bottle. Their subs are made with toasted Italian rolls and they pride themselves on using top quality cold cuts and fresh produce. They also use homemade lemon oil and spices that complete their famous sub oil.

For the Mexican side they have a large selection for anyone’s taste buds. The filling selections include ground beef, bean (black or refried), chicken, tuna, or you can go meatless and grab a veggie taco. They come in 6 inch hard or soft shells or you can attempt the supreme and upgrade to a 10 inch soft shell with lettuce and tomato. For those feeling risky can conquer the 12 inch Extreme Supreme. You can garnish any of these items with sour cream, salsa, guacamole, jalapenos, or rice for an extra charge.

Other Mexican options are several types of pizzas on a 12 inch crust, enchiladas, quesadillas, fajitas, and chimichangas. In 2010 they added wheat tortillas to their menu at no extra charge.

The American selections include their cold and hot subs. They have all types of cold cuts or tuna. The hot subs consist of philly style, sausage, and chicken tenders. They all include your choice of white or wheat rolls, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onions. Their sub oil is a local favorite but you can also request mayo, mustard, miracle whip, or honey mustard.

Given ETS's name, you wouldn't suspect them to have chicken wings but it wouldn't be a true Buffalo restaurant without them. They also serve chicken tenders, all served with blue cheese. A photo by Amanda Steffan

What better addition to any of these menu items with a side of homemade nachos and cheese or waffle fries. If your in the mood for something cooler pasta or potato salad is also a alternative. Chips and giant pickles can be added and if it is in season you might even be able to score a bowl of chili.

To wash the food down they provide bottled water, fountain sodas (free refills), white or chocolate milk, and old school bottled soda.

To top off your already full stomach you might want to consider their famous "Jack's Thumbprint Cookie" or gourmet brownie to take home. The cookie is about 6"x6" and half an inch thick, something you'll surely be eating for a few days.


2010-09-30 03:51:49   looks really good... —StevenDaubert