It seems I'm not the only historian who discovers unrelated historical items of interest while researching a topic. Mike Engle, the diner historian, wrote the following in an email on Saturday, Aug. 11: "I was doing some research at the state library and in Restaurant Management [Magazine]; I found a 3 page article about Pinter's which was obviously in your town. I know you would enjoy the article."
Attached to the email were scans of the entire June 1947 article, "How Quality Quadrupled Our Gross - An Eternal Quest for the Best That is Paying Out in Steadily Mounting Profits" by Anthony Pinter, Proprietor, Pinter's Restaurant, Westfield N.Y.
Apparently written in early 1946, Pinter begins, "Four years ago my wife and I thought a small restaurant that the two of us could comfortably run might be a nice way to make a living. As so often happens, after we had rolled up our sleeves and looked at blueprints, the project began to get out of hand. But we had spent thousands of dollars. The final outcome was a cocktail lounge and restaurant combined, planned to be one of the finest in our area. And now we must admit that it runs us rather than our running it.
Pictured is one of the postcards described by Anthony Pinter in his June 1947 article. The back of the postcard reads, “Pinter's — 5 East Main Street — WESTFIELD, N.Y. — Finest Eating Place Between — BUFFALO, N.Y. and CLEVELAND, OHIO — Modern Cocktail Bar”
"This is all right with us, however, for every year since the opening our gross has increased. In our four years here our sales have jumped from $25,000 to approximately $100,000 - the 1946 total. If there is one reason or word for this success, it must be 'quality'... A Slogan...We borrowed a compliment given us by a business man who travels a lot between Buffalo and Cleveland, and we now call Pinter's 'the finest eating place between Buffalo and Cleveland.'"
Pinter goes on to describe the costs and details of the construction of the restaurant, which was remodeled from the former W. R. Douglas grocery store which was at the same location from 1870 to when it closed in the fall of 1941. Just the cost of equipment - ranges, mixing machines, dishwasher, kitchen accessories and air conditioning system - cost about $23,000. And the front of the building was completely refaced with white composition tile, a double entrance with glass brick walls lining the sides and neon signs alone costing $3,000. This was in 1941.
The interior was exquisitely decorated with mirrors, tables with cloth tablecloths and napkins, small table lamps, window drapes, indirect ceiling lights, potted plants and a comfortably furnished lounge at the end of the short bar for waiting customers. The Pinters, "developed a few promotional stunts that are paying dividends. On each table is a four by eight-inch folding postcard with a colorful tropical picture and the following printed message: 'From a single sandwich to an eight-course dinner is our range. Good food, well served and your choice of the finest in liquors.' ... We buy these folders at $15 per 1,000. They have room for a message and a three-cent stamp, and if the patron forgets the latter and leaves a written card on the table, the waitress mails it at Pinter's expense. The publicity we receive in this way more than pays for the postage."
The office of the Westfield Historian is located at 117 Union Street, in the small green building on the north side of driveway. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 to 11 a.m., or by appointment. The Westfield Historian phone number is 326-2457, and the email mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other promotions included small, decorated cocktail napkins, free postcards reproducing color views of the exterior and dining room and matchbooks advertising Pinter's at the Westfield traffic light on Route 20, imprinted with their slogan.
Pinter's wife was a champion cook in Chautauqua County, and they proudly displayed 15 blue ribbons she won at the annual County Fair.
Prior to establishing Pinter's Restaurant, which opened in January 1942 with a full-page article and complimentary ads from local businesses in the Jan. 14, 1942 Westfield Republican, Anthony Pinter, in 1936, purchased the Murray Hill Hotel located at Grove and East Main, renaming it The Pinter Hotel. He operated it until it was resold to Murray Bartley of Fredonia, in July of 1941, as noted in the Pick-Ups column of the July 16, 1941 Westfield Republican.
After Anthony Pinter died on Sept. 1, 1952, his wife, Theresa, and family members continued to operate Pinter's Restaurant for about another 15 years. Anthony T. Baideme then ran Anthony's restaurant in the building for several years, after which Carter's Yankee Rebel took over 5-7 East Main and expanded the facility to include 9-11 East Main, the former Miller's Restaurant, in the early 1980s. When the Yankee Rebel folded, the double restaurant buildings stood empty for several years until about 2003 when the Gollnitz family restored 5-7 East Main and opened Caf Barista. In February 2008, Tony and Rebecca Pisicoli purchased Barista and opened Sapore restaurant, coffee and wine bar, operating until February 2012.