ELSMERE – My Place & Co. is home to and has been for city natives returning from college and beyond for 40 years.
The bar-restaurant tucked away in a curious snag bounded by a primary school and daycare center has been family-run since Noreen Giacone opened in 1982.
His son, Jim, joined soon after. Working in the kitchen during her summers after graduating from Binghamton University. Its proximity to Buffalo inspired the idea of introducing chicken wings to the menu. Later, he would persuade his mother to offer delivery, bringing food to their customers’ homes and businesses.
“And some people thought I was crazy,” Jim said, noting that fast food loses its taste if it’s left standing for a long time, like a car trip to a customer. “You know, they have a big decrease in taste over a short period of time. But I’ve noticed that with the wings, they travel really well.
Shortly after graduating, he joined his mother as a business partner.
Aesthetically, there is nothing to suggest that this is a Michelin starred restaurant. It’s unpretentious. It’s like that. Its atmosphere is captured in the name of the restaurant. From inside its vestibule, patrons walk past a tribute to Noreen who died in 2016.
On a Sunday afternoon, half a dozen football matches are played on flat-screen TVs around a horseshoe bar. Barely a stool is vacant in this brightly lit living room.
Locals mingle with passing visitors. Brett Vincent shares photos he took of President Joe Biden on a recent trip to Washington DC He travels through the northeast corner of the country on the Amtrak part as one of its drivers. On the other side of the bar, another man from Watertown explains that he is coming from Canton and Plattsburgh before turning right on Northway.
“We like it,” Jim said. “My place is the place to go; play with the name.
Jim attributes the restaurant’s longevity to both his father’s guidance from the start and his establishment of a team structure with the staff. It has employees who have been staying for over 20 years, knowing that they have a part in the success of the place as much as anyone else.
Today, Jim is preparing the restaurant for the third generation of the family to take over the business. He describes it as a long process. One that will not happen overnight. Which only means you’ll always find him in a chair when the football is on, cheering on his Jets.
My Place & Co. will celebrate 40 years in business with an outdoor tent party on Saturday, September 24 from 6-10 p.m. The evening will include food, drinks, a bouncy house for the kids, an arm wrestling competition and working class music performances.