Buffalo in the 70s: Bidding farewell to Deco Restaurants

By Steve Cichon

With the last of the Deco restaurants set to close, News Reporter Robert J. Summers took a look back at the lunch counters that served up millions of hamburgers and cups of coffee to Buffalonians from 1918 to 1979.

The Deco at Main and Englewood, University Heights. (Buffalo Stories archives)

At the high point, there were 50 Decos. By 1976, there were only nine. The Deck family sold the chain to Sportservice in 1961. By the end of the 1970s, the chain was a greasy memory for hundreds of thousands of Western New Yorkers.

The last Deco– next door to the Hotel Lafayette. (Buffalo Stories archives)

July 29, 1979: “Hard times ate into Deco chain’s fortunes”

“Deco was the original fast food place. Back in the days before anyone heard of McDonalds or Burger King, before anyone dared make a ‘shake’ without milk or package hot cherry pie in a rectangle of cardboard, Buffalonians were getting their quick meals at some 50 Deco restaurants.”

Click to enlarge. (Buffalo Stories archives)


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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 is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of 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.