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Ashford Junction Diner

New owners celebrating one year in business

The Ashford Junction Diner, located at 5364 Route 242 just a few miles east of the village of Ellicottville (past the tubing park), is proudly celebrating its first year in business this December! Attached to the Ellicottville Country Store & Antiques, the Ashford Junction Diner is Ellicottville’s only diner-style restaurant. It has been in operation since the late 19th century, changing hands more than a few times.  New owners Jay and Peggy LaCroix have paid homage to the diner’s roots in naming it after the bustling junction that once drew visitors from afar …

An old railroad switching tower is almost all that remains of Ashford Junction, one of the busiest railroad towns in Cattaraugus County. The tower, built in 1914, still overlooks the intersecting railroad tracks of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad (now just the Buffalo Pittsburgh Railroad), and was once key to making sure trains could smoothly make the transition east to Rochester, north to Buffalo, or south to Pittsburgh. 

Just like cities with major airports, railroad junctions were busy towns that usually had several hotels, restaurants, and stores to accommodate travelers. What could passengers expect upon arriving at Ashford Station in the early 1900s? Just like today, weary travelers would be relieved to stay in a comfortable room in the three-story hotel, the Western House, which was across the street from the depot, and next door to what is now Ellicottville Country Store and Antiques.

The building that is now a diner was actually added on to the store under the ownership of Harold Clark, who purchased the store around the turn of the 20th century. Clark owned the store for many years, eventually adding a gas pump and a Harley Davidson shop on to the existing store. For many years, this was one of the oldest Harley shops in the country that some of today’s visitors still remember. When the Dayton family purchased the store, they turned the Harley Davidson shop into a diner, and the rest is history!

The LaCroix family actually has a strong connection to Ashford Junction. Jay and Peggy discovered through family documents that their grandfathers and great grandfathers worked together in Ashford Junction on the railroad and at the switching tower, thus inspiring the name of their diner! The LaCroixs, who live locally, pride themselves on serving delicious homemade food continuing the tradition of offering travelers a great place to relax and fill their stomachs!

The diner is open 5 days/week (Wednesday through Sunday) from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and they serve breakfast and lunch during those hours. They’re open most holidays (Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day) with the exception of Christmas; in the middle of a busy holiday season, it’s great to know that you can enjoy a delicious meal that you didn’t have to cook yourself!

Stop in to check out the diner’s large chalkboard menus that are continually updated to include new foods. Regular menu items include a full breakfast menu, omelettes, burgers, hot dogs, soups, sandwiches and so much more! Diners can enjoy classics like grilled cheese and BLTs, but the LaCroixs regularly feature weekly specials (the LaCroixSSant of the Week) such as grill-pressed mac-n-cheese and tomato basil soup and the reuben omelette. 

The Ashford Junction diner has been a huge hit among community members and travelers alike! Locals John and Sally Zerfas of West Valley are big fans of the diner’s fare and make it a regular stop. Some of their favorite items include the Buffalo chicken wrap and French onion soup. “We go there all the time,” said Sally. “The food is absolutely delicious—everything we’ve ordered is fantastic!”

To learn more, call the diner at 699-610 and follow the Ashford Junction Diner on Facebook, where they post new specials, announce special hours, dinner specials (such as fish fry during Lent), and more!