More than a century ago, a popular luncheonette got its start in Syracuse and has been a fond memory for many in Central New York ever since.
Frank Shattuck discovered Schrafft’s delicious confectionery treats in Boston. In 1898, he opened the first Schrafft’s franchise on Broadway, and in 1906, Shattuck and his sisters moved to Syracuse to expand the business.
Frank, along with his sister Jane, added a luncheonette portion to their budding candy business and Schrafft’s quickly became a household name in the Northeast. The luncheonette’s success even led to a slew of new locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Boston.
Schrafft’s served quick, moderately priced lunches, sandwiches, and salads in addition their beloved ice creams, candies, pies and cakes. The menu and décor were aimed at attracting an upper-middle class female clientele.
Despite its major success, as time went on locations started to dwindle, and in 1965 the Warren Street location shut its doors. The final New York City luncheonette closed in 1980. The nostalgia felt by so many though, is often something that OHA Curator Bob Searing says he hears about from CNY residents.
For those who have fond memories of the luncheonette, Bob says that there is a plan in the works to potentially revive the old favorite food shop. In 2019, James Byrne, a godson of the Shattuck family, announced his plan to revive Schrafft’s and plans are still in the works.
Schrafft’s luncheonette is just one historic story housed at the Onondaga Historical Association. You can learn more about it and other local history by visiting the Onondaga Historical Association’s Museum at 321 Montgomery Street in downtown Syracuse.
You can also check out the OHA website at CNYHistory.org or connect with them on social media.