Restaurant Keeps Family Atmosphere Despite Owner’s Retirement

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JAMESTOWN (Erie News Now) – Some traditions you hope never end.  For many people in the Jamestown area, one of those cherished traditions might be a visit to Lisciandro’s Restaurant.

It’s the oldest restaurant in downtown Jamestown and it’s been owned by a member of the Lisciandro family since 1954.

Longtime owner John Lisciandro has had enough. COVID-19 restrictions limited his seating and his staff for most of last year.  Even after the restrictions, he was working in the kitchen 6 to 7 days a week.

“I need to get out,” John says. “I’m getting too old to keep the pace up.”

John’s retirement would mean the end of an era in downtown Jamestown.  Lisciandro’s Restaurant was founded by John’s father in 1954.  John was washing dishes at age 13.  He’s now 72.  He and his wife took over the restaurant from his father in the mid-70s.

“In 1975 I got married and that was our wedding gift.  He gave us the restaurant and all the hours that go with it,” John said.

The restaurant has quite a history, however, Lisciandro’s will go on despite John’s retirement.  Patti Larson has decided to buy the business. She has worked at the restaurant for 29 years. She’s not a Lisciandro, but she knows everything about the place.

“Usually when people start coming through the door I’ve got their food on the grill already because I know what they eat every day.  I know what they drink.  I know their name.  It’s just like being at home really,” Patti says.

Whether it’s the owner, the staff, or the customers, everyone feels at home at Lisciandro’s.  In addition to Patti’s 29 years, another employee has been on the job for 19 years.  The dishwasher has been working for 15 years.

John is retiring, but the restaurant will still be like a family.  Heck, even John might come back to work on weekends this winter.

“We haven’t discussed salary yet, but we’ll see what happens,” he said.

The purchase of Lisciandro’s became official last Friday.  The name of the restaurant will not change.


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