Buffalo in the 70’s: ‘Around the table at Chef’s’

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Politicians and paisanos of a past era filled Chef’s on the day in 1979 when News reporter Anthony Cardinale stopped by with a notebook to absorb some of the feeling of a landmark. Thirty-five years later, Chef’s is still going strong.

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“Around the table at Chef’s”

“ ‘My restaurant’s success is in his memory,’ Lou Billittier says when he’s asked about the chef after whom his restaurant is named.

“ ‘The chef was Attillo Silvestrini, and we still use his recipes,’ Lou says. ‘He trained me when I first started working here in 1941. I was 12.’

“ ‘He had a temper, but it was a mellow temper. If you didn’t do things right, you got the spatula! I was a dishwasher, bus boy, waiter, manager, part owner. …’”

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and spent 20 years working in Buffalo radio and TV, climbing his way to news director at WBEN Radio. Since then, he's been an adjunct professor, produced PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.