Some of the best neighborhood bars, grills and restaurants in Amsterdam history were those run by husband and wife teams. For example, when you went to Burza’s you looked forward to seeing Irene as much as Stan. At the original Shorty’s on Amsterdam’s South Side, the popular ex boxer took care of the bar while his wife Phil Persico commanded the kitchen. Two generations of spouses made Tuman’s one of this town’s great food and drink stops. First Bill Sr. and wife Helen built the customer base at the Forest Ave. establishment and then their son Bill Jr. and his wife Nadia took over and expanded it. Amsterdam’s West End had its own husband and wife tavern team. Their base was the northeast corner of Division and Bayard Streets and was called Tony’s Restaurant. It was named for a friendly, cigar-chomping Yankee-fan named Tony Fischetti. His indispensable partner and today’s Amsterdam Birthday celebrant was his hard-working better-half, Anna Fischetti.
In the mid sixties, my family moved to a house on the southeast corner of Guy Park and Bayard, just up the street from their Restaurant and right next to the Fischettis’ Guy Park Avenue home. For the next four years, I walked up Bayard Street and past the restaurant window hundreds of times on my way to and from home. On most of those nights, their kitchen window would be open and I’d sometimes see Anna sitting next to it in a lawn chair, waiting for the next pizza or sandwich order to arrive. Whenever I did see her, I’d always say hi and she would often joke with me and say why don’t you come in here and make pizza and let me go home instead. I wish I had because her pizza was unlike any other in the city.
Their busiest nights were usually after Amsterdam High School basketball games when it seemed as if half the people who crammed into the old Lynch gymnasium to watch the great Hilltopper hoop teams of the mid sixties would then try to cram into the less than spacious dining room at Tony’s…
(This popular Amsterdam teacher was also born on June 5th.)
My complete birthday post for Anna and Tony Fischetti will appear in the new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam, NY Birthdays, which will be available before the 2016 Holiday season. On June 30, 2016, I will also once again begin distributing an Amsterdam, NY Birthday Blog Monthly Newsletter that will include the full birthday posts for three of the twenty-to-thirty people whose birthdays I will recognize each month. Each newsletter will also include an Amsterdam Birthday Quiz that will test your knowledge and memory of people and events in your hometown.
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