Pok-A-Dot https://www.thebatavian.com/ en https://www.thebatavian.com/themes/barrio_batavian/images/thebatavian_logo.png Pok-A-Dot https://www.thebatavian.com/ Local Matters © 2008-2023 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Fri, 24 May 2024 02:45:01 -0400 https://www.thebatavian.com/themes/barrio_batavian/images/thebatavian_logo.png Tue, 15 Feb 2022 19:49:00 -0500 Let’s Meet at the Dot: Remembering Leona Pastore https://www.thebatavian.com/anne-marie-starowitz/let-s-meet-at-the-dot-remembering-leona-pastore/593391
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Every building has a story.  The Pok-A-Dot has one that involves family, friends, bands, railroad tracks, ‘50s décor and thousands of customers.  All could add a page to the story of the Dot.  My page would be going to the Dot in the ‘60s with my brothers and sisters and fighting over the swivel stools at the counter.  Today when my brother and sisters’ families come home, the first place they want to eat at is the Dot!

Prior to the establishment and construction of the “Pok-A-Dot” restaurant at the corner of Liberty Street and Ellicott Street in Batavia, a bandstand occupied the current parcel of land.  It was used for band concerts for the neighborhood residents.  With the help of Congressman Harold Ostertag, and John Gioia, owner of Gioia’s Drug, the property was leased to Philip Pastore and Joseph (Trigger) Marone. They built what has been known as the Pok-A-Dot Restaurant.

They dug the foundation for the 20- by 20-foot “box type” wooden building in April 1953.  It was completed on June 6, 1953.  The sides of the building housed flaps, which were pulled down at the end of the business day.  They were painted black with multicolored “Pok-A-Dots.” The idea for its name originated when they saw a house painted with polka dots. 

The first day the Pok-A-Dot opened, Philly and Trigger were ready with the cigar cash box, hot dogs, and hamburgers for 20 cents and free ice cream.  At the end of their first day, the cigar cash box was overflowing with money.  The tired, excited partners were guessing how much money they made at the grand opening. They thought at least $500.00.  With eagerness, they began to count all of their money and were surprised that they made only $85.00. 

Added to the original menu of hotdogs, hamburgers, ice cream, and ice-cold root beer served in frosted mugs came “roast Beef on Wick” and a pepper and egg sandwich (the first in Genesee County).  As the business grew, more items were added to the menu.    The cooking of the famous Beef on Wick began in Leona Pastore’s kitchen, along with pasta fagioli from the very infancy of the Dot.

The railroad tracks ran right behind the new Pok a Dot building.  The tracks were so close you could almost touch the train as it went by. The workers for the railroad enjoyed the Dot and would park the train down by Swan Street unhook the engine and ride it to the back of the Dot and go in for lunch.

Eventually, the building was enclosed with windows, which were removed at the beginning of the warm weather.  In 1961 an enclosed dining room was added with red tables and wrought iron chairs.   Added to the 1950s décor was a jukebox with small boxes on the counter.

The Pok-A-Dot became a place for many famous celebrities to sit and unwind after their performances across the street at the well-known Roman Room Restaurant.  People like Al Martino, Julius La Rosa, Tony Pastore, Dick Contino, and many well-known bandleaders were among them.

When you went into the restaurant, you were not given a menu.  Rather the waitress would say, “What can I get you?”  All your choices were on the menu wall.  If it wasn’t up there and they could make it, they would.  Over the years, many young people worked at the Dot, including all of Mr. Pastore’s six children.  The waitresses over the years were very loyal. The current manager Jo Anne has worked at the Dot for over 25 years.  Jennifer, Nicole, Lynette, Jo Anne, and Melody make up the rest of the current working staff.  You can find some of these ladies working different shifts from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.  On Sunday the hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Pok-A-Dot has been featured in the book Sunlight Dialogues that was written by Genesee County’s most famous author, John Gardner, who frequented the restaurant as a young man.  Each year in October the Pok-A-Dot hosts an evening of readings for the John Gardner Society from the great author’s books.  Author and some time reader at these gatherings, Bill Kauffman, stated, “The Pok-A-Dot is the literary capital of Culinary Batavia.”  The Pok-A-Dot has also been immortalized in the painting and calendar sketches of Batavia’s well-known artist, John Hodgins.  Wanda Frank, a radio personality for WBTA made a CD, Grandpa’s Home for Christmas, which mentions the Pok-A-Dot in her radio play.  It seems that the Pok-A-Dot is the setting for more than just a good meal.

To this day, people who grew up in and around the area and then moved away to different parts of the country return and make a special stop to enjoy the Beef on Wick for which the Dot has been famous in the WNY region for 56 years.

In 1999 a business called Mail Boxes Etc. used a refrigerant technology to send perishable products in the mail.  One of these boxes was used when a man came in and wanted to ship overnight a hot pepper sandwich from the Pok-A-Dot as a birthday gift to his brother.  The brother used to live here and loved the sandwiches.  There are many creative ways to ship the Dot’s food to different places.

T-shirts have been sold with the Pok-A-Dot logo and can be found as far away as California, Florida, Colorado, and many more places.

The Pok-A-Dot has been a regular stop for thousands of people who want a good cup of coffee, good food, and good conversation.  “Meet you at the Dot,” is a well-known expression.  You will always find the regulars and then you would find people like me who just go to the Dot to have a Beef on Wick, fries with gravy, and root beer in a frosted mug.

In October of 2006, Phil Pastore and Joe Marone were honored at the Paulo Busti Cultural Foundation Brunch for Italians being in business for over 50 years.

October 2014, Joseph “Trigger” Marone died.  Batavia mourned his passing.

We lost Philip Pastore on July 17, 2018. 

We lost the beautiful Leona Pastore on February 6, 2022.  She was very instrumental in this article.

Photos: File photos by Howard Owens. Top photo, Phyllis Pastore-Beers and Leona Pastore.

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Memories are swirling around in everyone’s mind remembering the original creators of the Pok-A-Dot

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https://www.thebatavian.com/anne-marie-starowitz/let-s-meet-at-the-dot-remembering-leona-pastore/593391#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/anne-marie-starowitz/let-s-meet-at-the-dot-remembering-leona-pastore/593391 Feb 15, 2022, 7:49pm Pok-A-Dot Let’s Meet at the Dot: Remembering Leona Pastore Anne Marie Starowitz <p><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/60/2022-02/img_7722dot.jpg?itok=9RZYvz9V" width="460" height="332" alt="img_7722dot.jpg" class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </p> <p>Every building has a story.&nbsp; The Pok-A-Dot has one that involves family, friends, bands, railroad tracks, ‘50s décor and thousands of customers.&nbsp; All could add a page to the story of the Dot.&nbsp; My page would be going to the Dot in the ‘60s with my brothers and sisters and</p>
Longtime Batavian, vocalist and restauranteur dies at 94 https://www.thebatavian.com/joanne-beck/longtime-batavian-vocalist-and-restauranteur-dies-at-94/592489
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Genesee Symphony Orchestra’s concert this weekend will pay homage to a Batavian who served as the group’s historian and board member in the early 1990s and again in 2000 when she chaired the group’s 60th-anniversary dinner, member Roxie Choate says.

The orchestra program will include a note to honor Leona Pastore, who died Sunday, Feb. 6, after an active life of 94 years. Choate surmised what it would say.

“We honor the memory of Leona Pastore, a longtime supporter in every way for the GSO. She wanted the GSO to succeed in every manner,” Choate said to The Batavian Wednesday. “She worked hard for the musicians, and was always very dedicated.”

The concert is set for 4 p.m. Sunday at Genesee Community College, 1 College Drive, Batavia, with a pre-concert chat at 3:20 p.m.

An article in the GSO history notebooks includes a concert review written by Maurice Nicholson in 1953. Nicholson raved about guest soloists Paul Ruhland, a baritone, and “Mrs. Leona Azzi Pastore's" coloratura soprano. “Her lovely voice wafted through the air like a zephyr,” Nicholson wrote.

“And, judging from the applause, won the complete approval of the audience,” he said. “Her coloratura work in the Herbert number was well near perfect as was her interpretation of the Romberg melody.”

One of Pastore’s favorite quotes was that life is a song and love is music. She shared that love as a guest soloist for GSO, produced and performed on WBTA radio with her own show, was the soloist for the Genesee Chorale and Ars Nova Singers.  She also became an organist for St. Anthony’s Church and appeared in many Rotary Club Broadway local productions, including Brigadoon, Mame, Camelot, and Sound of Music.

She was recognized as an outstanding Italian American by the Paolo Busti Foundation for her accomplishments in music and was associated with the late author John Gardner’s Memorial Society. Society members often met at the Pok-A-Dot in Batavia, which was founded by Pastore and her late husband Philip. After his death in 2018, Leona carried on the Ellicott Street tradition of beef-on-weck and another popular fare in a low-key, friendly environment. 

Pastore’s passion for music began at the age of seven in a performance of The Little Drummer Boy and at 11, she joined the St. Anthony’s Senior Choir, becoming a soloist performing at all church functions. In her senior year, she became the soloist with The Choristers of Rochester Civic Orchestra, where she sang for multiple organizations, churches, and functions throughout the state.

After graduation from High School, she went on to study at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. where she majored in voice. Upon finishing college, she married her husband Philip and began raising her family, all while remaining active in her church and St. Anthony’s School, where she became President of the PTA.

Pastore was also known as a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, and friend.

For the full obituary, go to: 
https://www.thebatavian.com/obituaries

Top photo depicts soloists Paul Ruhland and Leona Pastore in a 1953 program. Courtesy of Genesee Symphony Orchestra.

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File Photo: Paulette Pastore, Leona Pastore, and Phyllis Pastore-Beers outside the Pok-A-Dot in July, 2021

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https://www.thebatavian.com/joanne-beck/longtime-batavian-vocalist-and-restauranteur-dies-at-94/592489#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/joanne-beck/longtime-batavian-vocalist-and-restauranteur-dies-at-94/592489 Feb 9, 2022, 7:47pm Pok-A-Dot Longtime Batavian, vocalist and restauranteur dies at 94 jfbeck_99_272012 <p><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/272012/2022-02/ec5d7b9c-d37f-4904-acea-e73c5bb52931.jpeg?itok=rB0hiWx1" width="460" height="288" alt="ec5d7b9c-d37f-4904-acea-e73c5bb52931.jpeg" class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> <br> Genesee Symphony Orchestra’s concert this weekend will pay homage to a Batavian who served as the group’s historian and board member in the early 1990s and again in 2000 when she chaired the group’s 60th-anniversary dinner, member Roxie Choate says.</p> <p>The orchestra program will include a note to honor Leona</p>
Pok-A-Dot seeks to end right-of-way lease with the city after entering into new one with NYS DOT https://www.thebatavian.com/mike-pettinella/pok-a-dot-seeks-to-end-right-of-way-lease-with-the-city-after-entering-into-new-one

City Manager Rachael Tabelski solicited some laughter during Monday night’s City Council Conference Meeting while proposing to end a $40 per month, 56-year-old right-of-way lease with owners of the Pok-A-Dot Restaurant at 229 Ellicott St.

Tabelski said she believed it’s time for the city to terminate the lease (and City Attorney George Van Nest agreed) that was created after it was found that part of the building was on the city’s right-of-way.

At that time – the year was 1965 – it was agreed that Pok-A-Dot owners Philip Pastore Jr. and Joseph Marone would pay the city $40 per month.

“We’ve never changed the terms and conditions of the lease – and they’ve always paid,” Tabelski said, “and they’ve always provided great beef on Weck and French fries.”

In 2020, the restaurant’s current owners, Pastore’s wife, Leona, and daughter, Phyllis Pastore-Beers, expanded the business to accommodate COVID-19 distancing protocol and food pick-up options. In the process, they obtained a New York State Department of Transportation permit to complete the work because it is located in a U.S. right-of-way for missile transport.

Interestingly enough, the DOT permit carries a fee of $460 per year – slightly less than the fee of the Pok-A-Dot’s lease with the city. As a result, Pok-A-Dot owners are requesting an end to the city lease, Tabelski said.

City Council members agreed to move the proposal to its Jan. 10 Business Meeting for discussion and a possible vote.

Three other Conference Meeting resolutions were forwarded to last night’s Business Meeting and all were approved:

  • A 15-month contract, effective immediately, with AMREX of Binghamton to supply the Water Treatment Plant with sodium hypochlorite at an inflation-induced cost of $1.45 per gallon.

Calling it a “weird and wild ride procuring resources,” Tabelski said that was the lowest of seven bids received for the chemical, which is used for disinfection of the public water supply. She added that other municipalities are having similar supply issues.

Previously, the city paid 86 cents a gallon for the chemical, she said.

  • An emergency purchase of 400 pounds of refrigerant for a compressor at the Batavia Ice Arena on Evans Street at a cost of $19,800. The funds will be taken from the facility’s reserves, dropping the available amount to $371,000.

Tabelski said she approved the purchase after Carrier personnel replaced the compressor and discovered and repaired a couple leaks in the refrigerant system. Consequently, the system is low on R-22 refrigerant and could be in danger of malfunctioning.

  • The reappointment of realtor Bernadette Penfield to the Board of Assessment Review through Sept. 30, 2026.

Council also forwarded a resolution to the Jan. 10 Business Meeting to accept a $28,681 grant from Genesee County STOP-DWI to provide specialized patrols targeting drug and alcohol impaired driving, and the purchase of RADAR units, training of a Drug Recognition Expert and associated expenses.

File photo of the Pok-A-Dot by Howard Owens.

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https://www.thebatavian.com/mike-pettinella/pok-a-dot-seeks-to-end-right-of-way-lease-with-the-city-after-entering-into-new-one#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/mike-pettinella/pok-a-dot-seeks-to-end-right-of-way-lease-with-the-city-after-entering-into-new-one Dec 14, 2021, 10:31am Pok-A-Dot Pok-A-Dot seeks to end right-of-way lease with the city after entering into new one with NYS DOT mikepett <p></p> <p>City Manager Rachael Tabelski solicited some laughter during Monday night’s City Council Conference Meeting while proposing to end a $40 per month, 56-year-old right-of-way lease with owners of the Pok-A-Dot Restaurant at 229 Ellicott St.</p> <p>Tabelski said she believed it’s time for the city to terminate the lease (and City</p>
Photos: Redotting the Dot https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/photos-redotting-the-dot/568879
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Paulette Pastore, Leona Pastore, and Phyllis Pastore-Beers, admire the front of the Pok-A-Dot after the former handpainted dots had been replaced by new brigher vinyl dots.

Mike Hodgins, of John's Studio (pictured below), installed the new dots.

Whereas the old dots were all done in pastels, the new dots are in primary colors and should last longer. It's been at least 25 years since the dots were replaced on the legendary diner.

Leona and Phyllis are co-owners of the Pok-A-Dot.

The Pok-A-Dot, serving Batavia and its fans from throughout the world for 68 years, has undergone several improvements and upgrades over the past two years.

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https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/photos-redotting-the-dot/568879#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/photos-redotting-the-dot/568879 Jul 16, 2021, 7:33pm Pok-A-Dot Photos: Redotting the Dot Howard Owens <p><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/60/2021-07/dotsatthepok2021.jpg?itok=QJtDjEcn" width="460" height="307" alt="dotsatthepok2021.jpg" class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </p> <p>Paulette Pastore, Leona Pastore, and Phyllis Pastore-Beers, admire the front of the Pok-A-Dot after the former handpainted dots had been replaced by new brigher vinyl dots.</p> <p>Mike Hodgins, of John's Studio (pictured below), installed the new dots.</p> <p>Whereas the old dots were all done in pastels, the new dots are</p>
Photo: Busking in the Sun https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/photo-busking-in-the-sun/566848
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Chris Humel and Julio Morales busking this afternoon outside the Pok-A-Dot at Liberty and Ellicott. 

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https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/photo-busking-in-the-sun/566848#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/photo-busking-in-the-sun/566848 Jun 19, 2021, 4:23pm Pok-A-Dot Photo: Busking in the Sun Howard Owens <p><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/60/2021-05/buskingatthedotjune2021.jpg?itok=VdddMdoi" width="460" height="307" alt="buskingatthedotjune2021.jpg" class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </p> <p>Chris Humel and Julio Morales busking this afternoon outside the Pok-A-Dot at Liberty and Ellicott.&nbsp;</p>
Pok-A-Dot reopens at 9 a.m. along with new website for online orders https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/pok-a-dot-reopens-at-9-am-along-with-new-website-for-online-orders/558088
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After some sprucing up and a few upgrades, the legendary Pok-A-Dot is ready to reopen after its long coronavirus-induced hibernation.

There are new tables inside that are more socially distanced, no seating at the counter, a dining counter outside, and soon, a walk-up window for takeout orders.

But the biggest upgrade, perhaps, isn't visible inside the favorite eatery of famous authors, visiting dignitaries, and TV show producers: you can now order your beef-on-weck or eggs-and-peppers-on-toast online.

The new website is pokadotbatavia.com.

The famously cash-only diner will now also take credit cards. There's fancy new computer equipment to handle all of these modern transactions.

The Pok-A-Dot has come a long way since friends Joe Marone and Phil Pastore decided 67 years ago to open a hot-dog stand hard against Route 63.

You can once again meet at the Dot starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Friday).

For all of our previous Pok-A-Dot coverage, click here.

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Owners Phyllis Pastore-Beers and Leona Pastore.

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Online ordering and curbside pickup are strongly encouraged.

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Tim Beers

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https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/pok-a-dot-reopens-at-9-am-along-with-new-website-for-online-orders/558088#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/pok-a-dot-reopens-at-9-am-along-with-new-website-for-online-orders/558088 Aug 20, 2020, 6:33pm Pok-A-Dot Pok-A-Dot reopens at 9 a.m. along with new website for online orders Howard Owens <p><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/60/2020-08/img_6906dot.jpg?itok=3PxwQ6x9" width="460" height="314" alt="img_6906dot.jpg" class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </p> <p>After some sprucing up and a few upgrades, the legendary Pok-A-Dot is ready to reopen after its long coronavirus-induced hibernation.</p> <p>There are new tables inside that are more socially distanced, no seating at the counter, a dining counter outside, and soon, a walk-up window for takeout orders.</p> <p>But the biggest</p>
Pok-A-Dot featured in Buffalo news report https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/pok-a-dot-featured-in-buffalo-news-report/528639
 
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https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/pok-a-dot-featured-in-buffalo-news-report/528639#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/pok-a-dot-featured-in-buffalo-news-report/528639 Feb 27, 2019, 5:00pm Pok-A-Dot Pok-A-Dot featured in Buffalo news report Howard Owens <div> <div>&nbsp;</div> </div>
Photos: John Gardner Society reads John Gardner at the Pok-A-Dot https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/photos-john-gardner-society-reads-john-gardner-at-the-pok-a-dot/523551
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The John Gardner Society gathered at the Pok-A-Dot on Saturday night for the group's annual reading of works by John Gardner.

A Batavia-native, Gardner is an internationally acclaimed novelist and literary critic who died in a motorcycle accident in 1982.

Readers this year were Steve Lewandowski, Byron Hoot, Beth Bucchler (top photo), Richard Beatty, Bill Kauffman, David Lampe, Chris De Pasquale, Helen Maier, Terry Abrams, John Maier and Eric Zwieg.

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Byron Hoot

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Bill Kauffman

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Terry Abrams

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https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/photos-john-gardner-society-reads-john-gardner-at-the-pok-a-dot/523551#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/photos-john-gardner-society-reads-john-gardner-at-the-pok-a-dot/523551 Oct 28, 2018, 1:34pm Pok-A-Dot Photos: John Gardner Society reads John Gardner at the Pok-A-Dot Howard Owens <p><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/60/2018-10/gardnerreading2018.jpg?itok=2jPlL3nO" width="460" height="307" alt="gardnerreading2018.jpg" class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </p> <p>The John Gardner Society gathered at the Pok-A-Dot on Saturday night for the group's annual reading of works by John Gardner.</p> <p>A Batavia-native, Gardner is an internationally acclaimed novelist and literary critic who died in a motorcycle accident in 1982.</p> <p>Readers this year were Steve Lewandowski, Byron Hoot, Beth Bucchler&nbsp;(</p>
Pok-A-Dot owner Phil Pastore passes at 93 https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/pok-a-dot-owner-phil-pastore-passes-at-93/518474
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Photo: Joe Marone, on the left, and Phil Pastore on the right. Marone and Pastore were partners in the Pok-A-Dot. Marone died in 2014. Also pictured, James Pero.

Philip Pastore Jr., who owned the Pok-A-Dot, a Batavia institution, for 65 years, passed away Tuesday at the age of 93.

Pastore was proud of his little diner that became legendary throughout the region and unique enough to be featured once on the Travel Channel.

In 2013, when celebrating the restaurant's 60th anniversary, he said, "It’s probably one of the greatest things in my life, to own something for 60 years."

Pastore died peacefully at the United Memorial Medical Center surrounded by his family.

He and Joseph “Trigger” Marone opened the Dot at the corner of Liberty and Ellicott as a hot dog stand in 1953. It quickly became a regular breakfast and lunch spot for locals and as the years went on, drew visitors from throughout the region, famous for its beef on weck.

The Gilmartin Funeral home is currently handling arrangements for the family.

Below is an article by Anne Marie Starowitz about the Pok-A-Dot that she gave The Batavian permission to publish:

Let’s Meet at the Dot: Remembering Philip Pastore

Every building has a story. The Pok-A-Dot has one that involves family, friends, bands, railroad tracks, ‘50s décor and thousands of customers.  All could add a page to the story of the Dot. My page would be going to the Dot in the ‘60s with my brothers and sisters and fighting over the swivel stools at the counter. Today when my brother and sisters’ families come home, the first place they want to eat at is the Dot! 

Prior to the establishment and construction of the “Pok-A-Dot” restaurant at the corner of Liberty Street and Ellicott Street in Batavia, a bandstand occupied the current parcel of land.  It was used for band concerts for the neighborhood residents. With the help of Congressman Harold Ostertag, and John Gioia, owner of Gioia’s Drug, the property was leased to Philip Pastore and Joseph (Trigger) Marone. They built what has been known as the Pok-A-Dot Restaurant.

They dug the foundation for the 20- by 20-foot “box type” wooden building in April 1953.  It was completed on June 6, 1953.  The sides of the building housed flaps, which were pulled down at the end of the business day. They were painted black with multicolored “Pok-A-Dots.” The idea for its name originated when they saw a house painted with polka dots. 

The first day the Pok-A-Dot opened, Philly and Trigger were ready with the cigar cash box, hot dogs and hamburgers for 20 cents and free ice cream.  At the end of their first day, the cigar cash box was overflowing with money. The tired, excited partners were guessing how much money they made at the grand opening. They thought at least $500.00. With eagerness, they began to count all of their money and were surprised that they made only $85.00. 

Added to the original menu of hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream and ice cold root beer served in frosted mugs came “roast Beef on Wick” and a pepper and egg sandwich (the first in Genesee County).  As the business grew, more items were added to the menu. The cooking of the famous Beef on Wick began in Leona Pastore’s kitchen, along with pasta fagioli from the very infancy of the Dot.

The railroad tracks ran right behind the new Pok a Dot building. The tracks were so close you could almost touch the train as it went by. The workers for the railroad enjoyed the Dot and would park the train down by Swan Street unhook the engine and ride it to the back of the Dot and go in for lunch.

Eventually, the building was enclosed with windows, which were removed at the beginning of the warm weather. In 1961 an enclosed dining room was added with red tables and wrought iron chairs. Added to the 1950s décor was a jukebox with the small boxes on the counter.

The Pok-A-Dot became a place for many famous celebrities to sit and unwind after their performances across the street at the well-known Roman Room Restaurant. People like Al Martino, Julius La Rosa, Tony Pastore, Dick Contino and many well- known bandleaders were among them.

When you went into the restaurant, you were not given a menu. Rather the waitress would say, “What can I get you?”  All your choices were on the menu wall. If it wasn’t up there and they could make it, they would. Over the years, many young people worked at the Dot, including all of Mr. Pastore’s six children. The waitresses over the years were very loyal. The current manager Jo Anne has worked at the Dot for over 25 years. Jennifer, Nicole, Lynette, Jo Anne, and Melody make up the rest of the current working staff. You can find some of these ladies working different shifts from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday the hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m..

The Pok-A-Dot has been featured in the book Sunlight Dialogues that was written by Genesee County’s most famous author, John Gardner, who frequented the restaurant as a young man. Each year in October the Pok-A-Dot hosts an evening of readings for the John Gardner Society from the great author’s books. Author and some time reader at these gatherings, Bill Kauffman, stated, “The Pok-A-Dot is the literary capital of Culinary Batavia.” The Pok-A-Dot has also been immortalized in the painting and calendar sketches of Batavia’s well-known artist, John Hodgins. Wanda Frank, a radio personality for WBTA made a CD, Grandpa’s Home for Christmas, which mentions the Pok-A-Dot in her radio play. It seems that the Pok-A-Dot is the setting for more than just a good meal.

To this day, people who grew up in and around the area and then moved away to different parts of the country return and make a special stop to enjoy the Beef on Wick for which the Dot has been famous in the Western NY region for 56 years.

In 1999 a business called Mail Boxes Etc. used a refrigerant technology to send perishable products in the mail. One of these boxes was used when a man came in and wanted to ship overnight a hot pepper sandwich from the Pok-A-Dot as a birthday gift to his brother. The brother used to live here and loved the sandwiches. There are many creative ways to ship the Dot’s food to different places.

T-shirts have been sold with the Pok-A-Dot logo and can be found as far away as California, Florida, Colorado and many more places.

The Pok-A-Dot has been a regular stop for thousands of people who want a good cup of coffee, good food and good conversation. “Meet you at the Dot,” is a well-known expression. You will always find the regulars and then you would find people like me who just go to the Dot to have a Beef on Wick, fries with gravy and root beer in a frosted mug.

In October of 2006, Phil Pastore and Joe Marone were honored at the Paulo Busti Cultural Foundation Brunch for Italians being in business for over 50 years.

October 2014, Joseph “Trigger” Marone died. Batavia mourned his passing.

Batavia mourns again. We lost Philip Pastore on July 17, 2018. Memories are swirling around in everyone’s mind remembering him and the Pok a Dot.  Our hearts go out to the Pastore family. 

Article published in "Back in the Day, Snapshot of Local History, The Way I See It," by Anne Marie Starowitz.

UPDATE: The Travel Channel show that included a segment on the Pok-A-Dot ran in Britain, called "American Times." The Pok-A-Dot appears at minute 29.

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https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/pok-a-dot-owner-phil-pastore-passes-at-93/518474#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/pok-a-dot-owner-phil-pastore-passes-at-93/518474 Jul 18, 2018, 10:18am Pok-A-Dot Pok-A-Dot owner Phil Pastore passes at 93 Howard Owens <p><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/60/2018-07/pokadot60th-3.jpg?itok=cribcChf" width="460" height="305" alt="pokadot60th-3.jpg" class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </p> <p><em>Photo: Joe Marone, on the left, and Phil Pastore on the right. Marone and Pastore were partners in the Pok-A-Dot. Marone died in 2014. Also pictured, James Pero.</em></p> <p>Philip Pastore&nbsp;Jr., who owned the Pok-A-Dot, a Batavia institution, for 65 years, passed away Tuesday at the age of 93.</p> <p>Pastore was</p>
USDA undersecretary visits the Pok-A-Dot, expresses hope foreign markets will grow for farmers https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/usda-undersecretary-visits-the-pok-a-dot-expresses-hope-foreign-markets-will-grow-for
collinsibackdot2018.jpg

When Rep. Chris Collins is in Batavia around noon and has time to stop for lunch, he usually makes that stop the Pok-A-Dot. Today, he had with him Greg Ibach, undersecretary/marketing and regulatory programs for the USDA (center). Joining them for lunch were Dana H. Coale, deputy administrator of the USDA, and Peter Fredericks, associate market administrator for the Northeast Market Area for the USDA.

They had just come from Wyoming County where Collins hosted a roundtable discussion for dairy farmers. They then toured the Rudgers Registered Jerseys Farm in Attica.

Before lunch was served, Ibach spoke with The Batavian about a few issues that concern local farmers.

Farmers across the nation are nervous about new protectionist trade policies but Ibach expressed optimism that things will work out favorably for agriculture.

"I’m a farmer from Central Nebraska," Ibach said. "My children and grandchildren are our fifth and six generations to grow up on our family farm. Through the years, as we’ve seen great growth opportunities for export agriculture, we always seem to hit up against phytosanitary barriers, quotas, or tariffs that have limited our true potential to grow agriculture markets. We, as farmers in the Midwest, have always asked the government to do something about those barriers and of export markets. This is administration is trying to do something about it."

He said he understands the anxiety and shares the anxiety, he said, but progress with KORUS (the free-trade agreement with South Korea) and the reports he is getting on NAFTA negotiations are positive for farmers.

"I’ve got to believe the world still wants to be consumers of U.S. products," Ibach said. "If they understand that the ticket to be able to continue to ship to us is that they expand our opportunities, I think we will be successful here and I think we’ll see even higher growth rate for agriculture commodities down the road. We may have to suffer a little bit here in the short term but we will get the benefits in the long term."

Many farmers have specific complaints about NAFTA but few want to see the agreement torn up. Locally, farmers complain about limits on the Canadian dairy and produce markets. Ibach said he understands those concerns and believes they are being addressed in negotiations.

"I'm confident we will reach an agreement that is better for everybody," Ibach said.

Another big concern for local farmers is immigration. They continue to struggle to find a sufficient and stable workforce.

Ibach said its a concern shared by farmers and ranchers across the nation, especially when it comes to temporary worker visas for employees who need to be on their farms year around.

"We're trying to work with Congress and the Department of Labor to understand those needs," Ibach said. "Secretary (Sonny) Perdue has a senior advisor who works on this issue every day. We’re trying to try to help find programs and adjustments that can be made to address agriculture worker concerns."

One of Ibach's areas of specialty is expanding ag markets to the rest of the world and he said he sees great opportunity in Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam, India and Africa.

"The entire continent (Africa) is projected to have quick, high growth," Ibach said. "At the same time, they have a lot of poverty. We're just starting to see a middle class emerge. With their agriculture, just with them trying to feed themselves, there is room for us to work with them on that and have them accept the technology out there as far as biotech to allow them to grow themselves as well as be customers of ours."

Here's a press release from the office of Chris Collins about the dairy roundtable:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today hosted USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach for a dairy roundtable in Wyoming County and tour of Rudgers Registered Jerseys Farm. Collins and Ibach discussed the 2018 Farm Bill, NAFTA negotiations, and other issues that impact local dairy farmers.

“With the release of the Farm Bill and ongoing NAFTA talks, it is my hope that our region’s dairy farmers will soon see some relief,” Collins said. “Agriculture is the backbone of our region’s economy and it is essential that we implement policies that help our farmers succeed. I thank Under Secretary Ibach for traveling to my district to talk about important issues that face Western New York dairy farmers.”

“As a fifth generation farmer myself, I appreciate the many ways that Rudgers and other Western New York dairies contribute to their communities and the region,” Ibach said.“The American dairy industry faces challenges from a number of directions. USDA will continue to listen and work hand-in-hand with producers of every size and our Congressional partners, like Congressman Collins.”

This week, the House Agriculture Committee favorably reported the 2018 Farm Bill, which includes important reforms to the Margin Protection Program (MPP). This program provides critical protections to dairy farmers as milk and feed prices fluctuate, and proposed changes will allow farmers to receive more coverage at less cost.

The Farm Bill also strengthens investment in trade promotion initiatives, designed to build upon our current agriculture exports. This week Collins sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer urging him to put an end to Canada’s Class 7 pricing program. As NAFTA negations continue, Collins pledged to work with the Trump administration to get rid of this program, which has created an unfair playing field and has essentially eliminated U.S. exports of certain dairy products. 

Additionally, Collins and Ibach discussed with farmers the unfair and complicated H-2A visa system that treats workers on certain types of farms different than it treats those on dairy farms. As a strong advocate for year-round legal work status, Collins and Ibach voiced commitment to finding solutions so dairy farmers can depend on a reliable and willing workforce.

Collins added: “I always enjoy meeting with our region’s dairy farmers and thank the Rudgers family for their hospitality and honest discussion about what we need to do to get this industry back on track. I look forward to continuing our work together on ways to strengthen and grow our dairy economy.”

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https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/usda-undersecretary-visits-the-pok-a-dot-expresses-hope-foreign-markets-will-grow-for#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/usda-undersecretary-visits-the-pok-a-dot-expresses-hope-foreign-markets-will-grow-for Apr 21, 2018, 7:17pm Pok-A-Dot USDA undersecretary visits the Pok-A-Dot, expresses hope foreign markets will grow for farmers Howard Owens <p><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/60/2018-04/collinsibackdot2018.jpg?itok=EDpByzV0" width="460" height="307" alt="collinsibackdot2018.jpg" class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </p> <p>When Rep. Chris Collins is in&nbsp;Batavia around noon and has time to stop for lunch, he usually makes that stop the Pok-A-Dot. Today, he had with him Greg Ibach, undersecretary/marketing and regulatory programs for the USDA (center).&nbsp;Joining them for lunch were Dana H. Coale, deputy administrator of the USDA, and</p>