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What was the name of the 1940s restaurant on Front Street that had great spaghetti?

Gail Calloway

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Q. In the 1940s and ’50s, there was a restaurant on Front Street between and Grace and Chestnut streets on the west side of the street, across from the entrance of H.L. Greens Dime Store and next to J.C. Penney. It was known for having a great spaghetti dish. What was the name of this restaurant?

A. In the 1940s there were plenty of restaurants downtown, and most of them did serve spaghetti. According to an impromptu and non-official poll of some who ate downtown during this time, there was one run by a Greek family that became know for its spaghetti.

Saffo’s Restaurant was at 249 N. Front St., next to J.C. Penney. Mayor Bill Saffo’s family owned the building from 1927 and his grandfather George ran Saffo’s from 1929 until it was sold in the mid 1960’s.The sauce was great but it was the meatballs that made it really stand out.

After being sold in 1965 the space reopened in 1966 with Mary’s Restaurant, which lasted for two years. The Earl of Sandwich was there from 1968 until 1970, then came the New Liverpool Deli. It is now home to Old Books On Front St.


Is the mayor related to the owners of the old downtown restaurant called Saffo’s?

What do you know about the old Rex Restaurant across from Hugh MacRae Park?


User-contributed question by:
vic rogers

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2 Responses to “ What was the name of the 1940s restaurant on Front Street that had great spaghetti?”

  1. On July 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm Stephen Clemmons wrote:

    I dearly loved Momma and Papa Saffo and ate there often but there was another place called the City Café on the NW corner of Grace St. owned by two Italian brothers, The kitchen was in the front of the café next to the street and they vented cooking odors out onto the street. The kicker that drew everyone in was the odor of Italian food that drifted for many blocks as they cooked as well as pulled the spaghetti/pasta from scratch. They baked the bread and had big pots of aromatic sauce cooking over low gas flames. You were hungry long before you arrived at their café.

  2. On May 20, 2014 at 8:17 pm Neil Waburn Walton wrote:

    When I was a small child in the ’40’s we lived on a farm, where my Dad raised lots of chickens. He had a contract with Mr. Saffo, supplying him with several crates (30 dozen per crate) of eggs, on either each or every-other Thursday. He transported them on a 4’x 8′ trailer pulled by his old 1938 Ford, I believe. A couple of years or so ago I sent Mayor Saffo an email stating the above, and guessing the restaurant owner was his Granddad. He verified that, and invited me to come by sometime and meet him. I hope to do that one day.

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