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 writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.