Jerry’s Journal: May 26, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

The Green and White Diner was a familiar landmark in old downtown Fulton. It had a prime location on South First Street. It sat just off Oneida Street near the foot of the Lower Bridge.

Stories about its origin and early life abound. One accounting says it came on wheels, which couldn’t be removed, and were cemented right into its foundation.

It was a conventional kind of diner with a long countertop and stools where customers sat to eat. A prominent local business man, Dick Baker, was its owner.

It was called “Augie’s” after Augie Graziano who ran it.

Thus it was so for many years until the post World War II era when it was closed. Then, with the dawning of the 1950s, the diner was refurbished, a dinning room was added and it was up for grabs to lease. Enter Andy Butler.

Andy was a young man working at the Volney Paper Mill. The Volney was on the opposite side of Oneida Street. Andy’s hours were long and the money wasn’t that good so he began looking for something else to do to earn a living.

Why not try the restaurant business, his friends urged. After all, he had experience dating back to when he was 16 and worked for the Ma Tuttle Pie Company in Syracuse. Ma Tuttle sold and delivered pies to many of the area’s restaurants. “They tasted just like homemade,” Andy will tell you.

So Andy took the plunge and leased the diner and named it the Green and White because of its fresh, new coat of green and white paint. He then became its proprietor and chief chef until the early 1970s when urban renewal came to town and the old dinning car diner was torn down.

I had a very enjoyable phone conversation with Andy Butler just recently. But I will set  it aside for now and set the scene for my next column about Andy, his wife Gladys and their seven children, with excerpts from a letter written by Joanne Vant Fadden Horrell.

She is a member of the Vant family out Volney way and a retired school teacher who now resides in Hannibal.

Joanne worked for Andy Butler summers and holidays from 1964 to 1968 and the spring of 1971. Her sister, Bernice, also worked there in 1966. Joanne said she always joked that working in the diner was the best psychology course she ever took!

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