Today in History: Schrafft’s Opens in Syracuse

Schrafft's, South Warren Street Circa 1906

On July 9th, 1906, Frank G. Shattuck opened Schrafft’s in Syracuse at South Salina and East Fayette Streets. While this wasn’t the first store – that distinction belongs to New York City, which opened in 1898 – the Syracuse location was the first to serve meals. The success of the Syracuse store launched countless others and, by 1915, there was a location in Boston, nine in Manhattan, and one in Brooklyn. According to Joan Kanel Slomanson’s book, When Everybody Ate at Schrafft’s, by 1934, there were 42 stores with plans to grow at a rapid pace.

At a dinner honoring Schrafft’s employees at the Hotel Syracuse on June 7th, 1946, Frank M. Shattuck, the son of Frank G., mentioned that “100,000 persons are served daily in restaurants throughout the chain, including about 45,000 monthly in the Syracuse restaurant…”.  Syracuse’s Schrafft’s continued to have success until the mid-1960s when plans to close or relocate began being circulated.

In late 1964, it was announced that the Syracuse restaurant, by then located on South Warren Street (pictured here), was set to close early the following year. On December 19th, 1964, a ‘Committee to keep Schrafft’s for Syracuse’ took out an ad in the Post Standard in hopes they could drive sales and keep the store open. “We’d like December 1964 to be a banner month of sales for them,” the ad said. The hope was increased sales would leave the company with a good impression and, eventually, bring the business back to Syracuse in the near future. The store went on to close as planned on January 5th, 1965, but the committee’s effort almost worked when rumors that the store would return, this time in Tower I of the new MONY Plaza, began circulating in February 1966. The final store, at 58th street and Madison Avenue in New York City, closed in 1980. 

Learn more about Schrafft’s via The New York Times.