DeJohn's Italian Spaghetti House
 
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HISTORY

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Sauce and Recipes ~ Our Mama DeJohn's signature homemade secret recipe sauce and Italian dish recipes have been handed down three generations and are at least 100 years old. Frank Dejohns mother (Mary DeJohn) taught Franks wife Shirley and Shirley taught there daughter Lisa. Mary's parents came to the U.S. from Italy in the early 1900's and brought very little with them. One thing they did not leave behind were there recipes that they handed down to there children.

Mary, Shirley and Lisa have been involved in restaurant businesses all there lives. Mary worked at the Park Diner, Shirley owned/operated many restaurants and lounges in the area with her husband Frank, and Lisa worked and grew up in her parents businesses.

Frank J. Dejohn ~ Frank and his wife Shirley purchased the property in 1965 and have designed, owned, and operated restaurants and lounges (3 Red Barn fast food restaurants, Park Diner, Goby Dicks Lounge and Lions Gate Lounge) before deciding to open DeJohn's Italian Spaghetti House. They had the idea to use there experience in the restaurant/lounge businesses and the treasured Italian family recipes to renovate and open the Italian restaurant in 1988. In 2009 They decided to retire and sold the building and business to there daughter and her husband (Randy and Lisa Mancuso).

Randy and Lisa Mancuso ~ Randy and his wife Lisa purchased the building and business from Lisa's parents (Frank and Shirley DeJohn) in 2009. They did some renovations and continue to operate the restaurant today as it has been for years. Stop in for some great Italian - American Cuisine and enjoy!

History of DeJohn's Italian Spaghetti House building:
(started out as a dining car with a barrel roof in 1926)

TIMELINE-

1926 ~ Dining car manufactured by Mulholland Co. and sold by there sub corporation Dunkirk Dining Car Corporation, 208-220 Washington Ave, Dunkirk NY. These steel-framed dining cars were 30 feet long and 10 feet wide and built as a turn-key restaurant complete with kitchen, counter, seating and a couple of booths. Wooden spoke wheels were attached to the frame for transportation when moving it. Click Here for more information on Mulholland Co. (our dining car was similar to the second photo with a barrel roof).

Walter Ehmke purchased the dining car (named it Park Diner) in 1926 and located it at 9 Day St., Fredonia NY across from the park (now the Darwin R. Barker Library property).

1927 ~ Jack. C. Donnelly purchased it in 1927. He then opened another dining car restaurant in Silver Creek, NY and ran into financial difficulties during the depression.

1931 ~ Jack relocated the diner from 9 Day St. to 174-178 East Main Street.

March 1st 1933 ~ Fire destroys all buildings at 20 through 28 West Main Street leaving the land property up for lease from Mrs. Josephine McPhee who owned the Petz Bros. building at 24 West Main Street and from Edward Crimens who owned the Crimens Cigar Store at 26 West Main.

April 1933 ~ George Kopp purchased the diner from Jack. C. Donnelly in April 1933 with plans to refurbish and move it to 24 W. Main St.

1948 ~ In August 1948, the then owner Harry Stanton, moved the Park Diner one lot west to 26 West Main Street where it is located now. It is this time period that is believed to be when the rear wall of the dining car was removed and was extended to make it into a much larger restaurant with major renovations (See above in the early interior images of the Park Diner)

1961 ~ Ollie Finch purchased the Park Diner.

October 1965 ~ Frank J. DeJohn and his wife Shirley purchased the Park Diner from Ollie Finch with plans to renovate, after renovations they reopened in 1966 as the Park Diner (keeping the same name).

1971 ~ Frank closed up the diner for serious remodeling into a bar and leased the bar to his brother Richard DeJohn in 1972, it was renamed Richards Park Pub.

1988 ~ Richard closes the Park Pub and Frank did renovations to turn it in to an Italian restaurant and reopened it as the Park Pub Deli & Spaghetti Factory.

2000 ~ Frank and Shirley rename the restaurant DeJohn's Italian Spaghetti House and make major renovations to the kitchen, and added onto the back of the building a large sunroom with a deck.

2009 ~ Frank and Shirley retire and sell the restaurant to there daughter and her husband (Randy and Lisa Mancuso).

It's been an amazing 90 year journey for this little 30ft by 10ft dining car from were it started to where and how it is today (4 different locations in the Village of Fredonia)! It has been in our family for the past 50 years. The front 30 by 10ft area is still the original body of the dining car underneath everything. Under the ceiling tiles in the front vaulted ceiling area you can still see the original domed barrel roof and in the basement, the original large metal frame with tongue and groove wood floor are still visible.

Click the links below for more information on Fredonia, the Mulholland Co., and the Dunkirk Dining Car Corporation.

Click Here - for more information on Mulholland Co. (our dining car was similar to the second photo with a barrel roof)

Click Here - History of Dunkirk Dining Car Corporation

Click Here to read the article - The Lunch Wagons and Diners of Fredonia By Douglas H. Shepard, 2011.

Also, see all our appetizer, lunch, dinner and pizza menus

 

 

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