They settled along the waterfront of Buffalo, where they raised their 8 children. In 1920, Dominic and Philomena bought the building, located at what today is known as 1329 Niagara Street (corner Lafayette).
The 3 story building ( built in 1867), had numerous rooms for their family, as well as a nice two room restaurant on the first floor. The architecture was known as a half-house, as there was a courtyard with an adjoining twin building, which stood where the driveway, kitchen and back dining room are today.
During the early 1920's, the restaurant served a wide variety of food. Chicken, Pork chops, Steaks and even fish! During the Great Depression, when the times were tough and customers few and far between, the Santasiero's found a way to build up clientele, which gave them a renowned reputation, which the name carries to this day.
For every customer who would buy a nickel beer, the Santasiero's would treat them to generous plate of Spaghetti. The word traveled fast and the Santasiero's family restaurant became one of the most well known in Buffalo.
As the economy began to rally, Santasiero's loyal customers kept coming back for their Spaghetti. Over the next 60 years, the restaurant passed from the parents to their sons, George, Sonny and Tony.
Under their management, the menu offered a few new dishes. Perhaps the most notable, their famous "Pasta Fasoola". The restaurant was the first in Buffalo, if not the nation, to offer the fantastic specialty.
Originally, it was an occasional dinner that George would cook for himself, while at work. Customers were fascinated with the dish, especially those "hot cherry peppers" and would often ask for a sample. By 1954, Santasiero's was featuring the dish on their menu! For the next 30 years, it was available as a special on Wednesday and Friday. Many restaurants have tried to duplicate it, but like so many originals - this one is tough to beat.
During the 1960's, the businesses clientele had grown to such an extent, that people were forming lines outside, waiting to get a table. Long before the drive thru hamburger places, who to this day still couldn't come close to the speed of the service or excellence of food at Santasiero's!
As a result, in 1970 construction began for a major addition to the building. The area that is now the open kitchen and third dining room. The next 10 years, gave way to an incredible growth period. Opening as early as 6am and not closing until as late as 3am. With so many factories still in production, the 3rd shift people always had a place to come for a delicious, homemade and inexpensive meal - made fresh and served hot off the stove around the clock!
In 1983, the last surviving brother, George, decided to turn the business to his daughter Phyllis. He told her that it was her decision, whether to sell or to try and run the restaurant. How could she possibly consider putting an end to one of the best known eatery on Buffalo's West Side?
During the 60 years prior, the restaurant had taken on a life of it's own. The legacy was handed down. Phyllis, who had done most of the bookkeeping up until that time, along with her son John - who during college had already worked at the restaurant for 3 years, decided to give it a try.
They, along with Phyllis's daughter Patricia (a new mother herself), embarked on the next generation of the family restaurant. Patricia, who learned the recipes from her grandfather (by cooking along side him) continued to do the majority of the cooking for several years.
Phyllis's son John (better known as Junior), who currently operates the restaurant, took care of the night bartending and closing shift, while developing several more dishes to expand the menu. In addition to his many culinary creations, in 1992 "Junior" also began opening the restaurant on Mondays. The one day the family had devoted to taking care of their personal matters since 1970.
As the primary caretaker of his grandfather George, Junior was quite relieved when his father, John Sr., (Phyllis's husband) came to work in 1986. Having left his position of Systems Analyst for a local bank, Senior came on board working as the night manager; assisting with many business matters and would often help in consulting with business decisions.
Today, Phyllis and Senior divide much of their year commuting between Buffalo and the gulf coast of Florida. Spending time with their daughter Angela ( who also briefly worked for the restaurant) and their other two grandchildren.
To the delight of friends and regular customers, Phyllis spends as much time as possible in Buffalo, tending to the business her grandparents founded. In January of this year, they proudly celebrated the 90th Anniversary of their fine family traditions.