Which Utica, Rome, and Syracuse area restaurants from your childhood deserve a comeback?

These Utica and Rome Restaurants From Your Childhood Need To Make A Delicious Come Back

We asked this simple question on social media and got a lot of responses. These are just the top ones, obviously we could always add to this list. You can chat with us on our station app to add to the list as well.

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We asked this simple question on social media and got a lot of responses. These are just the top ones, obviously we could always add to this list. You can chat with us on our station app to add to the list as well.



Here's the list again:


Tony's Spaghetti House

Tony's Spaghetti House was located at 202 James Street in Utica. It served customers for about 30 years. According to the Utica City Directories, it was in business from 1949 until 1979 and was operated by the Sparagna family. In 1983 it became Jebo on James Street but closed in 1985. It was managed as Geno's Tavern from 1987 until 2000.


Plainville's Nature's Fare Restaurant

Plainville's Nature's Fare Restaurant was in Cicero between 1974 through 2010. According to Syracuse.com, it shut down abruptly and permanently.

Owner Mark W. Bitz said a combination of hard economic times and the difficulty in cooking and preparing between 100 and 200 fresh, raw turkeys a day while avoiding food-borne illness led him to the decision."

It was known for amazing home style cooking.


Gene’s Chili Hut

Gene’s Chili Hut was owned by the Durantes. According to the Utica OD, they concocted the world’s best chili and chili dogs around. They were on Oriskany Boulevard in the Utica area.



There was a Lum’s in Utica located at Genesee Street at the Parkway. Many remember them for great roast beef sandwiches, hot dogs steamed in beer, root beer, and cold beer in frosted mugs. The Utica location stuck around after most of the other Lum’s went away. At its peak in 1971, there were more than 400 Lums around the country.


Graziano's Regal Restaurant

Graziano's Regal Restaurant was located on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Bleecker Street in Utica. They were known for casual family dining with old world recipes, and the greatest pizza in town.


Uncle Henry's Pancake House

Uncle Henry's Pancake House was located in Utica and it's where pancakes and politics mixed.

In the 1970s Uncle Henry's Pancake House played host to the area's top politicians and Democratic Party officials, such as Rufus P. Elefante, longtime Democratic Party leader. For many years, Marino's; owned by Joseph Marino on the southwest corner of First and Catherine streets; was known as "Little City Hall" for it was where many went to meet Elefante and Democrats in the party's inner circle to seek city jobs and such things as having a tree stump removed from a front lawn. When Marino's fell to the John Bleecker Urban Renewal Project in 1968, politicians moved to Uncle Henry's; owned by Henry Cittadino on the northwest corner of Lafayette and Washington streets.

In 1981, Uncle Henry's closed.



In 1998, Kahunaville opened in the Commons Level of Carousel Mall in Syracuse. By 2005, the restaurant and arcade closed down.


The Hook Line and Sinker

The iconic New Hartford restaurant once stood where Dippin' Donuts is now, most of the way up Seneca Turnpike. The Hook served it's last meals in October 2010, after 35 years in business. The former owner, Dick Zydb, also owned Zebb's and Kirby's.

Patrons fondly recall the fish in a bag, the great salad bar, and of course, visiting with friends around The Hook's famous bar."

Hook Line and Sinker 2.0 anyone?


Shakey's Pizza

At one time there were more than 500 Shakey's in the United States and around the world. Now, there are less than 50 in the country. According to New York Upstate, along with the Utica location, there once were busy Shakey's in Colonie, Binghamton and other Northeast locations.

They were known for dining rooms filled with casual picnic tables, servers who wore straw hats and red vests, and entertainment that included ragtime bands and special movie nights which featured silent movie classics. Shakey's was the first pizza franchise in the country and, yes, the founder's name was "Shakey" Johnson."

Pizza time.


Ham That Am Ham Restaurant

Ham That Am Ham Restaurant was located in Chittenango New York. New York Upstate has called it one of the most curious names of a restaurant you will ever find. The restaurant was owned and by William and Pete Stucker for more than 50 years.



Kewpee's that was located in Oneida Square in the 1940's.

Kewpee was founded in 1920 by Dick Sanford and has been in operation for over 70 years. It is part of a small franchise. It is one of the oldest franchises in the country and had over 200 restaurants east of the Mississippi before WWII. That's 25-30 years before the first McDonald's opened it's doors. Most of those Kewpee's closed during the war when ground meat was so hard to get. There are only six Kewpee's left now. The headquarters is located in Lima, Ohio, which is the site of three Kewpee's. The other two Kewpee's are in Lansing, Michigan.

They closed in the mid ‘70’s. You can read more here.


Old King Cole’s

Old King Cole's ice cream shop was located in Rome’s Black River Boulevard Shopping Center. There was also a location in Utica.

I can remember being served a at counter much like the old luncheonettes at W.T. Grant’s or Woolworth’s. The sundaes were always served in tin bowls that were cold to the touch. (There I go with those hot fudge sundaes again. I don’t remember the last time I ate one as an adult.)

Old King Cole’s former home of Rome is now the site of Teddy’s Restaurant.


The White Tower

The White Tower was another nationwide chain that had two busy restaurants in Utica. According to the Utica OD, one was on the Busy Corner, at the southern tip of the former Devereux Building (today the site of a mini-park and water fountain that welcomes to the city visitors approaching from the north). The other was at 1908 Genesee St. in the city’s uptown section.

The downtown White Tower was always busy. Its customers included policemen who walked the downtown beat, lawyers and accountants with offices nearby and, of course downtown shoppers. The White Tower uptown had an ideal location for its neighbor was the popular King Cole ice cream shop that attracted hundreds to the area, especially on warm summer nights."

Who didn't love hamburgers in this area?


The Red Barn

The Red Barn restaurant was a fast-food restaurant chain that had a location on Oriskany blvd.

They were known for "Big Barney" (a hamburger similar to a Big Mac) and the "Barnbuster" (similar to a Quarter Pounder or Whopper.) The chain was quite forward-looking with their food choices: the Big Barney predated the Big Mac by a few years, and it was the first chain to have self-service salad bars.

It went from one type of grease to another when it closed.


The Ground Round

The Ground Round was a chain that had it's roots in New Hartford. There are locations that still exist outside of CNY today. Currently Mitsuba Hibachi Steakhouse and Asian Bistro is located at the site of the former Ground Round at 8562 Seneca Turnpike in New Hartford.


The Frozen Cow

The Frozen Cow was known for serving up great sweets by two little old ladies of Rome. The parking lot seemed like it took forever to walk up to the location. Today, the building sits vacant.

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