Out of the Past: Dairy Island

       By Steve Cichon

These days, Ilio DiPaolo’s a South Park Ave. landmark which fills two blocks with its Ringside Lounge and adjacent parking. A generation or two ago– it was the restaurant which stood in that parking lot which was the landmark.

A 1940s postcard shows Dairy Island, The back reads, in part, “See a modern dairy in action.” (Buffalo Stories archives)

Dairy Island was both the name of a restaurant and the milk brand produced by the Arcade Farms Co-op. The $150,000 facility was billed as a “modern milk plant and dairy bar” when it opened in 1947.

“We hope that Dairy Island will serve as a wholesome recreation spot for Blasdell and vicinity among young people,” said William Sadler, plant manager at the grand opening. Sadler was a Hamburg Town Councilman and later an Assemblyman.

In Albany, Sadler worked on the legislation which made the production of fortified skim milk legal, which Dairy Island marketed as “a boon to dieters.”

In 1951, management of the Dairy Island restaurant was taken over by the owners of the Colonial Kitchen chain, which had restaurants on Buffalo St. in Hamburg, Seneca St. at Buffum in South Buffalo, and the original location on Ridge Rd. in Lackawanna.

Newspaper ad, 1956. (Buffalo Stories archives)

When the Dairy Island restaurant was closed and converted to dairy production use in 1954, a Colonial Kitchen restaurant opened across South Park Ave. in its place.

In the mid-1960s, the Arcade Farms Co-op merged with the Upstate Milk Co-op which took over the building, which was eventually purchased by Sorrento Cheese. The Dairy Island building was torn down in 1989 when Ilio DiPaolo bought the building to make space for a parking lot for his newly expanded banquet room.

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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.