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T.F. Brown's

'Bridge' to the former Batavia Club is in the cards

By Mike Pettinella


A tradition that started at the former Batavia Club at 201 East Main St. more than 80 years ago continues with longtime Batavia entrepreneur Ben Mancuso Jr. – who is 89 years young today – leading the way.

Mancuso, former Genesee County Family Court Judge Charles Graney, former bank executive Ned Chatt and former school superintendent Robert Smith meet every Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. from May through December to play bridge. The venue these days is T.F. Brown’s Family Restaurant at 214 East Main St., an establishment owned by Mancuso’s son, Rick.

“We’re not sure exactly when it (the bridge club) started but at least back into the 1930s, and probably before that,” Chatt said.

The Batavia Club was founded in 1887 and served as a social gathering place until 2000, when it was sold to Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council for $1.

Chatt and Graney rattled off four names of those who were bridge club fixtures in the early days – Bill Dipson, Steve Hughes, Harry Lown and Van Richards.

When asked if they play for fun, Chatt quickly replied, “We have fun, sure, but there’s more to it than that.”

Today’s competition – the quartet rotates partners and adds up individual points – was marked by a surprise birthday party for Mancuso, who said he celebrated last night as well when Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees hit his American League-record 62nd home run in Texas.

“That was just super,” said Mancuso, a lifelong Yankees’ fan who used to welcome members of the Bronx Bombers to Batavia in his role as chairman of the annual Notre Dame Sports Night.

Photo: From left, Robert Smith, Ben Mancuso Jr., Charles Graney and Ned Chatt at T.F. Brown's today. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Photo: Volunteers at T.F. Brown's for community Christmas Dinner

By Howard B. Owens


Volunteers along with their family members at T. F. Brown's on Christmas Day for the restaurant's annual free Christmas Day Dinner for the community.  This year, the meal distribution was drive-thru with about 300 meals distributed.  This year, the toys donated for community children were distributed by City Church.

Photo and info submitted by Joe Teresi.

Photos: Ugly Sweater Contest at T.F. Brown's to support free Christmas dinner

By Howard B. Owens


JoAnn Hayes was among the T.F. Brown customers to show up Thursday night in an "ugly sweater" with a new toy for a free drink as part of the establishment's annual Ugly Sweater Contest.

The toys will be given out by Santa on Christmas day to children in families who show up for the restaurant's annual free Christmas dinner.

Anybody in the community is welcome to attend with a reservation for either the noon or 1 p.m. meal, which includes a visit for children with Santa and a present.

For community members wishing to attend the dinner, reservations are required. Call Barb at 345-1000. She will need to know how many people are attending and the names and ages of the children who will be there.


Chris White, Dave Cecere, and Susie Ott.

Sponsored Post: Win four tickets to see Billy Joel - only at T.F. Brown's

By Lisa Ace

It's 8'oclock on a Friday....JOIN US DURING THE BILLS GAME (starts at 7 pm) THIS FRIDAY NIGHT where you can cheer on the Bills & win BIG! WE’LL BE GIVING RAFFLE TICKETS AWAY EVERY HOUR STARTING AT 8 PM, AND THE DRAWING FOR THE WINNER WILL BE AT 11 PM. (*Must be present at the time of drawing to win*). EVERY HOUR IS ANOTHER CHANCE TO WIN *TICKETS VALUED AT $800! "There's Always Something Happening at Brown's!

Wojtaszek says Batavia Downs' gaming floor must close at 10 p.m. per governor's order

By Mike Pettinella

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest round of COVID-19 restrictions, which began on Wednesday with bars, restaurants and fitness centers, now will have an impact upon casinos with state oversight.

Henry Wojtaszek, president and chief executive officer of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation, said today that the casino floor at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road will have to close at 10 o’clock every night until further notice.

“There are two restrictions that affect us – the first one that came down about the bars and restaurants having to shut down at 10 and this one that says the gaming floor has to close at 10,” Wojtaszek said. “We’ll be closing at 10 p.m. instead of 1 a.m. right now.”

When it was mentioned that it will hurt business, he said, “It’s going to, but … we prefer being open even if it is for reduced hours instead of being closed.”

Wojtaszek said he was informed that the hours of opening limitation could be in effect for 30 days.

On Wednesday, Cuomo announced new restrictions, ordering that effective at 10 p.m. tomorrow (Friday), bars, restaurants and gyms or fitness centers, as well as any State Liquor Authority-licensed establishment, will be required to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.

The governor said that restaurants will still be allowed to provide curbside, food-only pick up or delivery after 10 p.m., but will not be permitted to serve alcohol to go. The State Liquor Authority will issue further guidance for licensees as to what sales are continued to be permitted.

Mancuso Reacts to Restaurant Restrictions

Rick Mancuso, owner of T.F. Brown’s Restaurant on East Main Street in Batavia, said he has no choice but to follow the order, but said he speaks for all restaurateurs when he says he is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain operations when considering the effects on employees and the industry’s small profit margin.

“Safety of our employees and customers is paramount and we will continue to follow all of the state guidelines as well as the health department regulations,” Mancuso said. “Unfortunately, adhering to the guidance has been very costly in purchases of PPE (personal protective equipment) as well as having to shoulder the operational overhead on roughly 50 percent of historic sales.”

Mancuso said he agrees with a statement from Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, who called the news “a huge blow to the restaurant industry that is desperately trying to stay afloat.”

“We understand the logic behind micro-cluster restrictions, but at this time we have concerns about blanket statewide restrictions like this,” she said.

“I agree with Melissa’s statement and it certainly has been challenging to navigate the frequent changes and guidelines,” Mancuso added. “It’s most difficult for our hard-working and dedicated employees. Everyone is in the same situation and my concern is for all of our locally owned and operated businesses.”

Cuomo urged local governments to enforce the rules.

After 10 p.m., “If the lights are on and people are drinking, they get a summons,” he said.

Cuomo said that if the COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, further restrictions will be put into place, including limiting restaurants to operating at 25 percent capacity across the state.

The new restrictions also apply to indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences, with limits set at no more than 10 people. Reasoning behind this is that the virus spread recently as a result of small indoor gatherings and Halloween parties.

County Health Alert: person who attended Trivia Night at T.F. Brown's Nov. 3 tests positive for COVID-19

By Billie Owens

Health Alert

The Genesee County Health Department has received a positive COVID-19 test from an individual who attended Trivia Night at T.F. Brown’s Restaurant on Tuesday, Nov. 3, between 6 and 9 p.m. Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive case.

We advise all individuals who attended the Trivia Night on Tuesday, Nov. 3rd to monitor their symptoms until Nov. 17th.

If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, contact your primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

For more information, click here.

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