By John Last
There is an ad that runs on our Lilly Broadcasting stations to promote ‘The Last Word.’ One of the scenes shows me sitting down in front of a steaming plate of rigatoni and meatballs. It’s a mouth-watering scene for lovers of Italian food. Viewers stop me on the street. They send e-mails. They want to know the restaurant that served me that big plate of pasta. It’s Lisciandro’s Restaurant in Jamestown, New York.
I loved that rigatoni. So I returned to Lisciandro’s for another serving. I also wanted to find out how owners Chris and Patti Larson are doing after buying the restaurant from John Lisciandro in August of 2021.
The Lisciandro family had owned and operated the restaurant since 1954. There’s a lot of tradition under that roof. Patti Larson knows those traditions because she worked at the restaurant for 29 years before buying the place. She still uses the old Lisciandro family recipes including the fabulous rigatoni sauce that I like. She still serves the homemade sausage with the secret Lisciandro spices. However, Patti and Chris have also added their own creations to the menu.
“We make a ‘Larson’s Lisciandro,’ which is that sausage, eggplant, salami, provolone, onion and mayo on Italian bread from Tilero’s Bakery. And it’s phenomenal,” says Chris.
The sausage is a favorite of comedian Lewis Black, who often comes to Jamestown. He’s an Advisory Board member at the National Comedy Center. But what about John Lisciandro, the previous owner? Does he come in to enjoy the food?
“Oh yeah. He comes in for his free cup of coffee. Says it’s in his contract,” says Patti.
Besides the new menu items, there’s other things that the Larsons added that customers will appreciate.
“First thing on the wish list was central air conditioning,” says Chris. “We got a grant through the city that paid for half of our improvements up to a certain dollar amount. So, we got a new floor because of that. We painted because of that. New lights because of that.”
The Larsons love their restaurant for many reasons. They first met when Chris was a customer and Patti served his table.
Lisciandro’s is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Breakfast is served until 11. Take note if you want to try the rigatoni with meatballs. It is served on Tuesdays and Thursdays only.