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From silive.com:

Schaffer’s Tavern: Winky says ‘it’s time’ for last call; sets closing date

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This business is now bygone, and 3rd generation owner Paul Eng gave it its eulogy via the vanishing New York blog…

From Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York:

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Fong Inn Too

 VANISHING

Fong Inn Too is the oldest family-run tofu shop in New York City and, quite possibly, in the United States. Founded on Mott Street in Chinatown in 1933, it closes forever tomorrow–Sunday, January 15.

Paul Eng

Third-generation co-owner Paul Eng showed me around the place. Upstairs, a massive noodle-making machine churns out white sheets of rice noodle, sometimes speckled with shrimp and scallion. Downstairs, a kitchen runs several hours a day with steaming woks and vats of tofu and rice cake batter, including a fragrantly fermenting heirloom blend of living legacy stock that dates back decades.

Eng’s family came to New York from Guangzhou in the Guangdong province of China (by way of Cuba), like many of Chinatown’s earliest immigrants. His grandfather, Geu Yee Eng, started the business, catering mainly to the neighborhood’s restaurants. His father, Wun Hong, and later his mother, Kim Young, took over after World War II and kept it going, branching out from tofu to many other items, including soybean custard, rice noodle, and rice cake.


Brown rice cake waiting to be cut

The rice cake is the shop’s specialty. It has nothing to do with the puffed rice cakes you eat when you’re on a diet. This cake is fermented, gelatinous, sweet, and sticky like a honeycomb. It comes in traditional white as well as brown, a molasses creation of Geu Yee Eng, and it is an important food item for the community.

A few times each year, the people of Chinatown line up down the block for rice cake to bring to the cemeteries, leaving it as an offering to their departed relatives.

“It’s a madhouse,” says Paul. “They come early to beat the traffic and fight each other for the rice cake.” No one else makes it–Fong Inn Too supplies it to all the neighborhood bakeries. “Once we’re gone, it’s gone.” Customers have been asking Paul where they will get their rice cake for the next cemetery visit. “I tell them I don’t know.”


Cutting the white rice cake

The Engs have sold their building and Fong Inn Too goes with it. Business has been hard, though Paul’s brothers, Monty and David, have done their best. Their father passed away earlier this year. Their eldest brother, Kivin, “the heart of the place,” also passed. Their mother tried to keep it going, but “her legs gave out,” and she had to stop. The closing, Paul says, has been hardest on her. “This place is like a child to her.”

Paul is the youngest of his siblings and, while he worked in the store as a kid, he doesn’t know the business anymore. Like many grandchildren of immigrants, his life is elsewhere. As for the fourth generation, there’s no one available to take over.


Paul Eng

“I’m in mourning,” Paul told me–for the shop, for family, and for his childhood home.

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from SiLive.com:
Schaffer’s Tavern: Historic Staten Island restaurant is closing

By Pamela Silvestri

on September 14, 2016 at 1:22 PM, updated September 15, 2016 at 11:00 AM

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Rumors have been afloat for more than a year that Schaffer’s Tavern was sold. Well, turns out there’s truth behind the talk.

Pending regulatory and Buildings Department approvals, Victory State Bank is taking over a long-term lease of the historic space at 2055 Victory Blvd. in Meiers Corners.

Construction of a new building will begin in early 2017, according to Joe LiBassi, Victory’s founder and chairman. When that happens, proprietor Winky Schaffer and his family will retire from the restaurant business.

A final day of Schaffer’s Tavern service has not been announced.

SOLID ROOTS ON STATEN ISLAND

Back in March, when rumors ran rampant of a bank taking over the spot, Schaffer shrugged off the chatter as he tended bar. He couldn’t complain about business and admitted it’s been a great stretch — 83 years in Meiers Corners — making the place the longest-running family-owned eatery on Staten Island.

Photos: A look at the enduring appeal of Staten Island's Schaffer's Tavern

Photos: A look at the enduring appeal of Staten Island’s Schaffer’s Tavern

Schaffer’s Tavern, the longest running family-owned restaurant in the borough, celebrates its 80th year

“Hello, my friend! How ya doin’?” said Winky back on that balmy spring day. He reached over to the side to shake hands with a patron, then took back to his spot behind the taps filling chilled mugs with beer.

There’s a lot of history within these knotted pine walls, many fond memories of families and neighborhood “good people” types, Schaffer has said.

And, the story of Schaffer’s goes like this: Winky’s grandfather, George, had a speakeasy, located at the top of Jewett Avenue at Victory Boulevard in the 1920s. (That’s where a Burger King is now.) When Prohibition ended, George opened Schaffer’s in its current building (2055 Victory Boulevard) purchased in 1933. The structure resembles a Bavarian tavern with its flower boxes and roof line.

Winky manages the restaurant with sons Chad and Troy. Some of the family members live in two apartments upstairs.

On Tuesday, waitress Mary Karpeles shuttled to tables Schaffer’s famed pastrami and separate platter of tender, brown sauce-topped fresh sliced ham served with string beans and mashed potatoes. She’s been a server at the restaurant for over 30 years and knows customers by name.

Other long-time employees are held in high esteem like the Schaffers’ late bartenders — Ed Cicci, Ed Lunny, Peter Barquin, Charles “Cookie” Farley, Ed Noonen — who are memorialized in the front room.

THE FEEL OF SCHAFFER’S

Detail inside the two-room tavern include ceramic tile floors and auburn woodwork, both original to Schaffer’s. Only the bar has changed: Seventeen years ago, a fire damaged a mantle that hung over the space and subsequently a carpenter named Joe Tuite built a new back-bar.

Other traditions in the place include small jars or bowls of hot red peppers and vinegar-pickled green tomatoes, potato pancakes and sauteed red cabbage.…

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from Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York:

Rudy’s Under Attack

The Clinton Chronicle reports that beloved Hell’s Kitchen dive bar Rudy’s Bar & Grill is under attack by Community Board 4 for serving alcohol in its backyard late into the night.

Saundra Halbertstam and Eliot Camerara report that members of Community Board 4 have “actively worked to shut down and destroy Rudy’s Bar and Grille, a Hell’s Kitchen landmark, in business since 1933.”

The writers says these members have “prompted complaints against Rudy’s Bar” and “smeared Rudy’s by sending word through the community that they were operating without proper licenses.” So far, Rudy’s owners have spent $24,000 defending the bar.

It’s a lengthy story–to read the whole piece, pick up a copy of the Clinton Chronicle or read the PDF here. Saundra gave me the upshot in an email: “By closing the backyard, they will force Rudy’s to close, since the back represents over 30% of their revenue.”


photo: retro roadmap

News of noise complaints against Rudy’s goes back to this summer. As DNAInfo reported, Rudy’s management said “those complaining were suburban transplants who don’t understand Hell’s Kitchen.”

“To have somebody come in from suburbia and say that we want to change this neighborhood because they paid an exorbitant amount for a co-op is not fair to the people in the community,” the bar’s lawyer, Thomas Purcell, told DNA.

The blog stated, “under Rudy’s liquor license, which dates back to 1992 when the current owner Jack Ertl, 88, bought the bar, the venue is allowed to use the backyard space until the wee hours with no

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