Saying Goodbye to a Favorite Restaurant: A Last Supper Story

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Photos by Christina Uticone
My dad, eating his last supper at Antonina's on January 31. I cried just uploading this.
Three weeks ago, on a trip to my hometown in Upstate New York, I ate my very last meal at my very favorite restaurant in the world -- Antonina's.

Antonina's was my family's go-to restaurant for "no one feels like cooking" night. When it was my turn to choose a special dinner for a birthday or graduation, I chose Antonina's. I've auditioned every boyfriend I've ever had there, including my husband. I once figured out, over a plate of Antonina's pasta, that the boyfriend sitting across from me was cheating on me; years later, during another heartbreak, the only thing that could get me off my parents' couch was the promise of Aglio et Olio with mushrooms, and a basket full of thinly sliced Italian white bread.

Knowing that the restaurant was closing, I had several weeks to think about this meal, which I came to refer to -- mostly jokingly -- as my Last Supper. I thought about a lot of things, from whom I would see to what I would order, but I didn't even think about bringing tissues. Now that was a mistake.

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Dinner for 12, including drinks and tip, about $250. End of an era indeed.

This story continues on the next page.



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11 comments
msinicropi
msinicropi

Christina Thank you for that wonderful article on your last meal at that  local landmark in Seneca Falls. I too remember it as Pete and Frank's. We are snowbirds and never miss an opportunity to have as many meals as we can whiie we are in Seneca Falls.It is sad that John and Annette could not find someone to take over this great "watering hole",but I do understand 37 years is enough.You are so right on the house salad.We could never duplicate it at home.Never had a poor meal there!!!! John and Annette ,we wish you the best.

              Mark and June Sinicropi

bodl
bodl

I don't know the restaurant, but I know the feeling. Thank you, Christine, for this fine story. You kept it short and sweet.

robinpatak
robinpatak

I live in Houston (league city actually) too.

Did you graduate from Mynderse? What year ?

robinpatak
robinpatak

I live in Houston (league city actually) too. Did you go to Mynderse? What year did you graduate?

robinpatak
robinpatak

Christina, I too grew up on Antonina's restaurant, having been born and raised in SF. I knew this restaurant when it was"Pete and Franks". I was sooo sad to hear it was closing . It was definitely an old stand by when home for a visit, especially for the Friday night fish fry!!! I was touched to see your comments. I'm assuming you live in Houston now??

nincarna
nincarna

Fantastic article Christina......you said it better then I have ever heard!!!!!  I will be sure to share this with John and Annette....they will love it!!

Robin
Robin

The Riviera Grill, John Sheely's place in the old Sheraton at Beltway 8/Katy Freeway.  I loved that place.  I think it was the first place I ever had fresh tuna (an eye-opener to someone who grew up eating canned), and to this day, it's one of the few places I've had it that didn't do it in a vaguely Asian style.  They served it with a balsamic reduction that I've tried to emulate at home a few times.  (I still don't know why more restaurants don't pair tuna with something other than sesame and wasabi, etc.)  Riviera Grill was my go-to for special occasions even as the Sheraton got shabbier.  We talk about the place like it's a dead relative.  A beloved, dead relative.

TimP
TimP

Unfortunately, most restaurants I miss I never got a chance to say goodbye to. Here's a few from New Orleans that I miss all the same: Bruning's, Chateaubriand, Victor's, Cuvee, Vaqueros, Dick and Jenny's (when Dick and Jenny still ran it) and Christian's (though I understand the new Redemption in the same building is a worthy successor).

For Houston: Boulevard Bistro, Aries and Gravitas (but no other shuttered Tycer place for some reason...), Frankie B. Mandola's (one of the first places we ate when we moved to town so purely sentimental there), Café Montrose and Jeanine's, Americas (Galleria location) and, prospectively Pico's if they ever do move out of their Bellaire location as it can't and won't be the same.

For my hometown (Champaign-Urbana): Kennedy's/The Lamplighter, Katsina's, The Jolly Roger and Coslow's.  

I'm sure I've forgotten many, many others.

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

@robinpatak Thanks, Robin! Yes, I do live in Houston now. I know I wasn't the only person who felt this way. There wasn't a dry eye in the house on Saturday night! And it was tough not to order the fish fry for my last (Friday) meal, but I had to get the spaghetts!

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

@nincarna Thank you, and please do share it with them. Give them my best!

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