A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 31, 2018
Buffalo: Spaghetti Parm (Spaghetti Parmesan)

"Italienne Spaghetti, Parmesan Cheese ... 15c.” was printed in the Boston (MA) Sunday Globe on April 20, 1890. “Spaghetti Parmesan” was printed in the San Francisco (CA) Examiner on January 6, 1922, and in The Evening News (Wilkes-Barre, PA) on August 17, 1934. A recipe for “Spaghetti Parmesan” was printed in many newspapers in 1950, from the Restaurant Sclafani in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“Spaghetti Parmesan” (or “Spaghetti Parm") of a different recipe was invented at Chef’s restaurant in Buffalo, New York, in 1962. Chef’s owner Lou Billittier and television host and frequent Chef’s customer Dave Thomas began experimenting with a spaghetti dish one morning. Billittier covered his spaghetti with mozzarella cheese, put it under a broiler for a few minutes, and a prized dish of “Spaghetti Parm” was born.


Chef’s—History of Chef’s Restaurant
Story of Spaghetti Parm
It started in 1962 when then host of WKBW Channel 7 children’s show Rocketship 7 host Dave Thomas and Chef’s owner Lou Billittier were sitting having lunch when they decided to try something different instead of their usual spaghetti. Billittier added some butter then Thomas added the cheese on top. They decided to melt the cheese and the next thing they knew they had invented a dish that would grow to be a staple at Chef’s and also copied by many other establishments. Thomas and Billittier were forever “melted” together by a cold afternoon in 62. o.

20 April 1890, Boston (MA) Sunday Globe, pg. 7, col. 5:
J. M. HILL’S RESTAURANT
(...)
ENTREES
Italienne Spaghetti, Parmesan Cheese ... 15c.

6 January 1922, San Francisco (CA) Examiner, pg. 6, col. 7 ad:
SPAGHETTI PARMESAN
(Cafe Marquard at Geary and Mason Streets.—ed.)

24 May 1934, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), pg. 20, col. 1 ad:
Italian Spaghetti Parmesan ... 8c
(Blue Boar Cafeteria, 644-646 South Fourth Street.—ed.)

17 August 1934, The Evening News (Wilkes-Barre, PA), pg. 9, col. 5 ad:
Spaghetti Parmesan 10c
(Cafeteria of Percy A. Brown & Co.—ed.)

16 June 1937, Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, pg. 4, col. 1 ad:
Braised Swiss Steak with
Spaghetti Parmesan
Fried Ripe Tomato
Assorted Rolls and Butter
Coffee
60c
(Men’s Cafe at Hotel Cleveland.—ed.)

6 October 1950, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Spaghetti Dish Pleases Palate,” pg. 39, col. 3:
Spaghetti Parmesan
(Four Servings)
1 tablespoon salt
3 quarts boiling water
8 ounces thin spaghetti
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
8 large mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Add salt to rapidly boiling water. Gradually add thin spaghetti so that water continues to boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until tender. Drain in colander. Arrange tomatoes and mushrooms on broiler rack. Season with salt and pepper. Brush with part of melted butter and broil 6 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Toss cooked spaghetti with Parmesan cheese and remaining melted butter. Place in center of large warm platter; arrange broiled mushrooms at one end of the platter and broiled tomato halves at the opposite end.

11 October 1950, Beaumont (TX) Journal, “Famed New Orleans Place Offers Metropolitan Spaghetti” by Gaynor Maddox, pg. 20, cols. 4-5:
“Metropolitan Spaghetti” is a wonderful dish that has helped make famous the Restaurant Sclafani in New Orleans. (...) He has given us two of his prized recipes, which appear below.
(...)
SPAGHETTI PARMESAN
(4-6 SERVINGS)
One tablespoon salt, 3 quarts boiling water, 8 ounces thin spaghetti, 1-4 cup butter or margarine, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, 3 drops Tabasco, salt, 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.

Add salt to rapidly boiling water. Gradually add spaghetti so that water continues to boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until tender. Drain in colander. Add remaining ingredients to cooked spaghetti; mix thoroughly, but gently. Cover and let stand for 2 or 3 minutes to bring out the flavors. Serve immediately.

June 1959, Woman’s Day (New York, NY), “The Collector’s Cook Book #29: Cheese, our best high-protein food,” pg. 54, col. 2:
SPAGHETTI PARMESAN
Cook 8 ounces spaghetti, following directions on package, and adding 1 clove garlic, minced, to water. Drain. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan; toss. Serves 4.

29 January 1974, Holland (MI) Evening Sentinel, pg. 4, col. 5 ad:
Spaghetti Parmigiana
(Cavalier Restaurant, 1190 So. Washington.—ed.)

24 May 1974, Newsday (Long Island, NY), Nassau sec., pg. 32A, col. 1 ad:
Meatballs & Spaghetti Parm.
(Camelot Pub, located in the Pickwick Motor Inn.—ed.)

14 January 1990, Centre Daily Times (State College, PA), pg. C-4, col. 1 ad:
Spaghetti Parmigiana
Tasty spaghetti topped with melted mozzarella cheese, tangy meat sauce and Parmesan
4.19
(Elby’s Big Boy, 1661 South Atherton Street and Branch Road, State College, PA.—ed.)

26 January 1990, The Globe and Mail (Toronto, ON), “The Colossus of Buffalo: Don’t touch that dial! It’s the Irv Weinstein Show! The man behind the news, the myth behind the man! Meet Erie County’s favorite son, talkin’ proud” by Trevor Cole, pg. 24:
Many nights, between newscasts, Buffalo finds Irv holding court at a big, bright Italian restaurant called Chef’s. He drives up in his little white Pontiac Fiero and parks where he pleases. Sometimes he sits by the big aquarium. Always he ties on his bib. Then, as Irv forks up rigatoni in olive oil and garlic, or spaghetti Parmesan broiled till it’s crisp, Buffalo drops by to say hi.

NYS Historic Newspapers
11 September 1998, The Griffin (Buffalo, NY), “Bon appetit for a reasonable price” by Meghann Drury, pg. 12, col. 1:’
This week our eating extravaganza takes us to Chef’s, the Billittier family-owned Italian restaurant located at 291 Seneca St. in Buffalo.
(...) (Col. 3—ed.)
And I have never seen so much mozzarella cheese on one serving of spaghetti parmesan.

Twitter
David Boreanaz
@David_Boreanaz
One for the ages. My Dad invented Spaghetti Parm. #Chefs http://say.ly/jss1gzu
12:57 PM - 14 Jan 2012

Buffalo (NY) News
The story behind spaghetti parm, Buffalo’s favorite pasta
By Andrew Z. Galarneau | Published August 21, 2018 | Updated August 21, 2018
(...)
The iconic dish, created at Chef’s, 291 Seneca St., might be city’s most famous pasta. It certainly is a touchstone for generations of Buffalonians who deem it a necessary part of family milestones.
(...)
“It’s our No. 1 seller,” said Louis Billittier Jr., who runs Chef’s with his sister Mary Beth. There are other places in Buffalo that offer a similar dish, like DiTondo’s, another historic Italian-American restaurant a few blocks down Seneca Street.
(...)
The dish’s origin story starts with Louis Billittier, father of the current owners. He started at the restaurant as a dishwasher and eventually became sole owner in 1954.

In 1962, he met Dave Thomas, host of Rocketship 7, the children’s television show on Channel 7. After Thomas became a regular, he was kicking around pasta dish ideas with Billittier when they decided that the broiled mozzarella treatment given chicken parmesan should be extended to the entire plate.

Visit Buffalo-Niagara
9 Classic Buffalo Foods to Be Thankful For
By Brian Hayden
11/16/2018 | BARS AND NIGHTLIFE, FOOD & DRINK, WINGS
(...)
5. Spaghetti Parm
Another “only in Buffalo” dish: a bowl of spaghetti covered in mozzarella cheese and accompanied by a side of marinara sauce. Served at long-time Italian restaurants like Chef’s, this is Buffalo comfort food at its finest.

Twitter
louis billittier
@chefsman
Just how much cheese is on Chef’s spaghetti parm? https://youtu.be/WUAhZQxI6YU via @YouTube
10:15 AM - 24 Nov 2018

Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesNew York State • Wednesday, October 31, 2018 • Permalink