We always serve our blue cornmeal-raspberry Johnny cakes with pure maple syrup. It's an option with the other pancakes and French toast on our menu; some people do prefer cane sugar based 'table syrup', but there is a gastronomical synergy that occurs with the combination of New World earthiness from the blue cornmeal, the rush of the summer tartness of the raspberries, the pooling of melted butter, and the unmistakeable bracing smoky New England maple syrup sweetness. As long as we've been making the Johnny cakes, Paul and Bernadette Lounsbury of Berne have been making our syrup. Paul's father, Paul Sr, made the syrup before that; his grandfather George Wiedman was there boiling off the sap before him, and Paul expects his twelve year old son Paul III will someday take over the operation. Mid-February every year, since Hendrick Knieskem settled there in 1756, the family has begun collecting the sap of sugar maples to boil down and concentrate. This year Paul will collect twelve thousand gallons of sap from over thirty acres of sugar maple groves. Freezing nights and slightly warmer days through mid April will allow the dilute syrup to flow to the sugar shack, through over twenty-seven miles of plastic tubing, where it will be boiled down over a wood fired Vermont Evaporator (made in Ogdensburg, NY) to about three hundred gallons of Paul's distinctive Grade A Dark New York maple syrup. Paul and Bernadette's maple syrup is available in single servings or in quarts at the Luncheonette, or Paul and his family can be reached at 872-1222 for inquiries on larger quantities.
What's with 'the Pure Maple Syrup'?
Where do you get your baked goods?
What is that thing in the tree?
Where can we park our bicycles?
If our customers are the soul of the Four Corners Luncheonette, then the heart of the restaurant is our bread oven. We originally purchased our Fish Oven Company Space Saver in 1983 for Fagan's Bakery. 'Mr. Fish' is an eight pan revolving self bread oven built in 1957 in Beloit, Wisconsin, and then abandoned as "too small for a bakery and too big for a restaurant" for a quarter century in a food service equipment warehouse in Buffalo. It is gas fired, white porcelain faced, features steel double wall construction, and is insulated with several hundred pounds of ceramafiber insulation - like fiberglass, but far more itchy and approved for food service use. It is approximately a seven foot cube and weighs over a ton. During 'Mr. Fish's' long exile behind the discarded burned out pizza ovens and dented doors of Buffalo's failed eateries, it remained amazingly intact, losing only its thermostat and controls.
We retrieved the majority of the oven in a rented panel truck equipped with a speed governor that wouldn't allow travel faster than forty miles an hour, and a rear door that kept popping open and threatening to scatter our new treasure the length of the Thruway. As Al Gore hadn't yet invented the internet in the early eighties, we were forced to trace the missing components through various iterations of the parent corporation with innumerable phone calls across the country. We finally located a direct descendant of the Fish Oven Company and were able to order original parts to complete our oven. 'Mr. Fish' spent the next several years in the Paddock Building where our bakery was located.
In 1986 we disassembled 'Mr. Fish' for relocation to it's present spot in our bakery under the restaurant. With the exception of the single several hundred pound panel that makes up the front of the oven, all of the pieces fit neatly down the stairs. The unwieldy front section was lowered through a slot in the newly constructed basement addition roof with the help of a local service station's tow truck. Today 'Mr. Fish' is fired twenty-four hours most days. Up to a hundred loaves of bread a day, in hundreds of varieties from Ale & Onion Rye to Whole Wheat Walnut are produced from our own recipes. Pastries, cakes, and muffins and pumped from it's roomy interior all through the day and often the baking continues through the night as well, with slow cooking lunch time favorites like pulled pork or a hot slab o' corned beef or apple maple baked beans.
As the Pleistocene drew to a close with the retreat of the Wisconsin Ice Sheet ten thousand years ago, condors with a twenty foot wing span cruised up and down the glacial melt water shores of Lake Albany. They paused to rest, no doubt, in the high conifers where Delaware Avenue begins it's ascent into the Helderberg Escarpment. At least this is according to one of the guys who sits at the counter. We chose to believe him, and since it was pretty cold that winter several years ago, we built a bird house suitable for one of the flying beasts, and lofted it into our tallest maple with the help of five guys and a Chevy truck. With the advent of "global warming" (lately re-named "climate change") we are still waiting for our Gymnogyps Brendanius Giganticus to show, but we remain hopeful!
Why don't you have more parking?
We do! In addition to the two lots immediately adjacent to the Luncheonette, we also have a twenty car lot behind 6 Grove Street, the blue house next to the restaurant, and we rent the Northern end of the First Care lot for our customers. See the diagram.
Because it has turmeric in it, a spice made from a plant indigenous to Southeast India, and related to ginger. Not very much, just a scant half teaspoon for a regular dinner batch, (along with minced apples, onions and carrots) but enough to not only color it yellow, but also, according to common folklore, Wikipedia and innumerable other web sites, give it the ability to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease, provide relief from Rheumatoid Arthritis, prevent cancer cell metastes, guard against Childhood Leukemia, colon cancer, and Alzheimer’s, improve liver and cardiac function and lower cholesterol! Geez, why wouldn't we put it in there? Besides, it's a great color.
Where did you get your audio system?
What do you cook your eggs in?
The preferred bicycle location for the last two decades has unaccountably been the handicapped access ramp. Granted, the bicycle rack started out as a dumpster enclosure in the eighties, but when the dumpster was banished to the backside of the property, we upgraded the notch in the hill with the addition of a railroad tie enclosure, concrete pavers and a custom built, treated lumber, bike rack. In the summer of 2006 we again enlarged the bicycle parking area and enclosed it with an engineered block wall system, complete with a hundred yards of plastic tie-back mesh buried in the hillside, twenty tons of crushed stone for drainage, and a ten foot tall, eight inch diameter, concrete filled vertical steel pipe painted chromium yellow and sprinkled with a handful of the highly reflective tiny glass beads used to keep sleepy drivers between the lines on the interstates, as an absolutely non-equivocal guardian to keep cellphone distracted automobile drivers from backing into the rack. With the added inducement of thousands of tulips, we can't imagine anyone wanting to park bicycles elsewhere - certainly not on the handicapped ramp.
What happens to your used cooking oil?
Why is the brown rice in your rice pilaf yellow?
Who are all those people around the fireplace every Tuesday morning?