Grandma Jen and Grandpa Lucian Silvestro
Rich in Tradition and History
In 1936 a young lady named Jenny Silvestro and a gentleman known as Nick Carlucci invested in an Inn on Railroad St. in Painesville called the New York Central Hotel. They remodeled the first floor, putting in a bar and a small kitchen and leased ten sleeping rooms on the second floor, primarily to the railroad workers and travelers that arrived and departed from the station across the street. The appropriately named Depot Café was born. It quickly became a favorite for the mostly Italian North end of Painesville, serving pizza, pasta, and sandwiches to their patrons. There was a pool table and also a room where a card game or possibly a little dice might be thrown around (strictly for entertainment purposes only, mind you).
So after the War, Jenny’s sons-Lucian and Jerry arrived home from the Pacific and entered into the Family business which had expanded with the opening of the Lakeside Dine and Dance in Township Park. Lucian and Nick handled the Bar and service end of the business while Jerry learned all the secrets of the kitchen at his mother’s knee.
In the late 1950’s due to Lake Erosion the Lakeside was sold and Nick and Jenny consolidated their business to the Depot Café. Jenny rented all ten rooms to the New York Central Railroad on a yearly basis, making box lunches for the workers to take to work everyday while Lucian, with his Marine Corp. training, and Nick continued to run the Tavern.
During the mid 1960’s Nick Carlucci decided to take it easy and Lucian Silvestro bought his share of the business. Soon after, Jerry joined his brother when their mother decided to follow Nick’s lead.
With an eye to the future, Jerry immediately started to expand the menu adding steaks, prime rib, seafood and a wider selection of Italian entrees, much to the consternation of Lucian. Out went the pool table, tablecloths were rolled out, and horror of horrors, drapes were added to the windows. Then in perhaps his greatest stroke of genius, Jerry made his son and daughters indentured servants, teaching them the ins and outs of the restaurant business.
That brings us to today. If I listen closely I can still hear those dice clattering across the floor. I can still smell the dough being baked in the ovens for the pizza. If I squint I can still see my Uncle Lucian trying to sneak a shot of Kessler’s from under my grandmother’s watchful eye. And I can faintly hear strains of “Red River Valley” coming from the kitchen as my father stirs the sauce.
I hope you enjoy our little enterprise as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.
Silvestro's Depot Cafe