Below there are several articles
written by Bob ( Champ ) Leonardi,
published in the Auburn Citizen Newspaper -

You can read the Auburn Newspaper on line:


Auburn Citizen Newspaper Article -

(Jan. 2, 2013)

"In cooking, practice does make perfect"


Certain things just seem to naturally go together. Peanut butter and jam, pork and beans, sausage and peppers, meatballs and spaghetti, ham and eggs — to name a few. I have been cooking a couple of dishes for years, but not necessarily together, until recently. Steak and Italian-style potatoes (cut-up boiled potatoes with extra virgin olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper) I have found to be a perfect match because, if you sauté the steak and save the potato water to thicken the sauce by deglazing the sauté pan, you have a terrific combination of flavors and neither takes more than about 14 to 15 minutes to make from start to finish, including washing and cutting up the potatoes. I love quick, easy and delicious dishes. You can complement these two items with a mixed salad or sautéed mushrooms, some fresh broccoli rabe or practically any other vegetable you enjoy.

I have found that if you keep making the same combination of items, you keep making it better and when you have it perfect, it’s easier to keep it that way because you don’t have to even think about what you are doing; you just do it the same way by habit and from routine. I found that it’s easy to mess up when you don’t do it for a long time. I had not been cooking much since getting back to Florida because I was so busy with my work. Then I cooked for a larger crowd than usual (usual is six or eight people; I tried to do it for 20 people) and used too much water, did not cook it quite long enough, and used too little salt. This is seemingly a minor thing, but here is the result: Too much water and not cooking long enough meant the potato water did not have any potato particles and would not thicken the sauce, making it too thin. Too little salt meant the potatoes were bland, which I kind of did on purpose because it was an older crowd, which usually cannot eat too much salt. So, as I often say, little things mean a lot in cooking; the more often you make a dish, the more routine it becomes and the better it turns out when you prepare the food.

When this combination is done right, it is spectacular and perfectly matched. When you don’t do it right, it is still good, as you can add salt and you can thicken the sauce other ways, such as with demi-glace or stock or consomme or, at the worst, you do not have as much sauce as usual — but that is often not a problem, because if the steak is rare or medium rare, it will be moist by its very nature.

For this reason, I do what I do best for a living and that is to coordinate, organize, plan and execute very well. I am an inconsistent cook and I let our professional chefs do most, if not all the cooking. At home, my cooking is good for my family and friends. When I try to do it on a larger scale, it is not as uniform and occasionally imperfect, so I mostly leave it for the professional chefs I hire. But I have to say, it is not a perfect world and even professionals can make mistakes and have a bad day. Most often it is when they have not cooked something before and try to work from an unfamiliar recipe. I think we all need a little practice on a new dish unless it is really similar to a dish you already are doing on a regular basis, or is a simple substitution.

Cooking is an art and, as such, it never is exactly the same as the last time you cooked it and it is often difficult unless you are frequently doing the dish. If you are, you can hit a home run with it 100 percent of the time. If it is an unfamiliar dish or you don’t do it often, it can be hit-or-miss for a typical home cook like me, and even for a professional it may be only right maybe 85 or 90 percent of the time. That is what makes cooking so challenging; like most things, including golf and other sports, you have to keep working at it to always try and improve your game. The key is to enjoy and have fun with whatever it is you spend your time doing, whether work or fun activities. Life is too short to spend too much time doing something you don’t enjoy.

Salute and buon appetito!

2 Recipes below


Potato with oregano

  • About 1 potato per person, depending on size
  • Enough filtered water to cover potatoes
  • About 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil per potato
  • Oregano to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste



Wash, dry and cut potatoes into approximately 1-inch cubes. It is important not to use too big a pot and to not use too much water. I salt the water with about a tablespoon or two for five or six potatoes; adjust to your taste. I put the filtered water in the pot, add the salt and then add the potatoes. You should have just enough water to cover the potatoes; not like pasta, where you want extra water but only enough to cover and become one with the water. Place on burner that is turned on high and cook uncovered for 10 or 12 minutes — until you can stick a fork into the potatoes easily. You want them a little soft and not “al dente” because you want some of the potato to be a residue in the water for thickening the sauce of the steak.

As soon as you are comfortable with the doneness of the potatoes, turn burner to low, take pot off stove and drain water into another container. I then put the pot back on the burner and add the oil and some oregano. Stir and add more oregano and pepper (you already salted the water so you do not have to add any more salt). Taste it and if it's too dry, add a little of the potato water back in, rather than making it too oily, so I try for a mix of about 85 to 90 percent oil and 10 or 15 percent potato water. When done, leave in pot and keep burner on low. Then check after about 10 or 15 minutes and taste again. Add more of whatever is lacking at that point if needed. If it is good as is, you can transfer it to an oven-proof serving bowl or dish and keep in the oven at around 160 to 200 degrees until ready to serve. Save potato water for deglazing steak pan.



Sauteed steak

  • 1/3 to 1/2 pound steak, 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick, per person
  • (tenderloin is best; sirloin, ribeye or New York strip are also good)
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil per steak
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 to 1.5 cups potato water



Use a stainless steel pan, not a coated pan, because you want the meat to stick to the pan. Preheat pan on high with oil in pan long enough to cause the steak to sizzle when you add the steak; then turn down to medium-high once all steak is in pan and cooking. Allow to brown before turning, maybe two or three minutes, or longer if thicker than 1/2 an inch, and when you do turn pieces over, immediately salt and pepper the cooked side. Cook for another two or three minutes on that side before turning again, so you salt and pepper the newly cooked side before removing to a dish when it is 90-percent cooked to your satisfaction. If you did not use too much oil, you should have meat stuck to the pan from each piece of steak. Now turn the heat to high and allow pan to get good and hot — maybe for 45 or 50 seconds. Pour in the reserved potato water in one fast motion — stand back a little before doing this because the water will cause steam to come up pretty forcefully for the first few seconds and then settle down to reduce over the high heat while lifting all the meat residue off the bottom of the pan. This deglazing and reduction process should be complete in about two to four minutes. The salt and pepper from when you seasoned the steak while cooking should be enough so that you do not need to add any more, and when reduced to a point where it is a rich brown color and good to taste, it is done. Some people may want to add beef stock or consomme or beef bouillon, but if you do this right, it is not necessary and it should be full of flavor and just the right thickness as a result of the potato particles that were left in the water. Put steak back in pan and reduce heat to low to keep warm until ready to serve, or put in oven-proof dish and place in oven at around 200 degrees until ready to serve.



Auburn Citizen Newspaper Article -

(Not sure if this is Dec. 2011, or Jan. 2012 article)

"Today's smelts are fresher, easier to prepare"

Includes recipes for "Fried Smelts",
"Smelts with vinegar"

(Please click on thumbnail below, for much larger view, which can also then be printed out)




Newspaper Article - Nov. 9, 2011

"Green Shutters: Year round destination"

I can only show the 2 recipes for this month -

"Corn Salsa" & "Texas Hot Sauce"

The written article was an entire newspaper (Lake Life) page,
and too large for this page.

Nov 2011 recipes

(Please click on thumbnail above, for much larger view,
which can also then be printed out)



Newspaper Article - Oct., 2011

"Finger Foods for the Big Game)

Includes recipes for "Caponata",
"Mint Dressing for Fresh Fruit"

(Please click on thumbnail below, for much larger view, which can also then be printed out)

Finger Foods



Newspaper Article - Aug., 2011

"Bruschetta - A Big Step Up From Popular Garlic Bread"

Includes recipes for "Bruschetta with fresh tomato and basil",
"Bruschetta with gorgonzola olives and red peppers"

(Please click on thumbnail below, for much larger view, which can also then be printed out)




Newspaper Article - July, 2011

"How to Prepare a Healthy, Power Breakfast"

Includes recipes for "Betty and Joe's Cream Cheese Treat",
"Healthy Power Breakfast"

(Please click on thumbnail below, for much larger view, which can also then be printed out)




Newspaper Article - June, 2011

"Crunchy and cheesy chopped salads"

Includes recipes for "Wegman's Crunchy Veggie Salad",
"Chopped Salad With Feta Cheese"

(Please click on thumbnail below, for much larger view, which can also then be printed out)



Newspaper Article - May, 2011

"Keeping it Simple With Vegetables"

Includes recipes for "Asparagus and Cauliflower",

(Please click on thumbnail below, for much larger view, which can also then be printed out)



Newspaper Article - Apr. 2011

"Looking as good as it tastes"

Includes recipes for "Cream cheese with horseradish and orange marmalade sauace",

and "Five-, six-, seven-, eight- or nine-layer fiesta"

(Please click on thumbnail below, for much larger view, which can also then be printed out)




Newspaper Article - Mar. 2011

Food, a shared passion

Includes recipes for "Pasta with eggs", and "Lauren's baked Brie"

(Please click on thumbnail below, for much larger view, which can also then be printed out)





Newspaper Article - Feb. 2011

Making the most of leftovers

Includes recipes for "Turkey tacos", and "Vegetable wrap"

(Please click on thumbnail below, for much larger view, which can also then be printed out)




Newspaper Article --- Dec., 2010

"Italians celebrate the moment"

Includes recipes for 'PANANZELLA and PROSCIUTTO & figs

(Please click on thumbnail below, for much larger view, which can also then be printed out)

Italians Celebrate



Newspaper Article --- Sept., 2010

Vegetables must be handled with care

(Click on thumbnail below, to view larger newspaper clipping:

Includes recipes for:

Cobb Salad, and also Greek Salad

Newspaper Article --- Aug, 2010

Old World Cooks Never Measured Anything

(Click on thumbnail below, to view larger newspaper clipping:

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Newspaper Article --- June, 2010

Zucchini leads garden's bounty

Includes recipes for:

Fried zucchini blossoms (fioro di zucchini)
Sauteed zucchini (zucchini all' olio)

Zucchini leads gardens bounty

(Click on thumbnail above for a larger view to read or print out.)


Newspaper Article --- May, 2010

Ice cream has a rich history of delighting summer eaters:

Includes recipes for Banana Split and Hot fudge sundae,
as well as a little history of ice cream:


(Click on thumbnail above for a larger view to read or print out.)


Newspaper Article --- April, 2010

"For graduations, Family Gatherings, Plan Ahead:

Includes recipes for:

Baked Brie with Cinnamon and Almonds,
Roasted Filet of Beef with Whole-grain Mustard and Herb Crust

CLICK for larger view

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Newspaper Article --- Mar., 2010

"Keeping it simple, tasty"

Includes 2 recipes:

Mashed potato cakes
Asparagus Crepes:

(Click on thumbnail below, for larger view)

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Newspaper Article --- Feb., 2010

Keep it fresh, keep it simple:

Article includes recipes for:
Baked Fish, and also Roasted or Grilled Fresh Vegatables

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and to print out newspaper article:


Newspaper Article --- Oct., 2009

Sauce up or shrimp out -

Recipes to spice up any seafood platter

My father loved seafood because he was brought up in a coastal town,
on the west coast of Italy, and fish was plentiful, which usually also meant economical.
He would eat anything that came out of the ocean.
Once, he found a seashell that washed up on the beach,
and didn't even know what it was.
But because it was still alive, and came from the sea, he ate it anyway.
I remember coming home and asking him if what he was eating was good.
He said, "Yes, it's delicious".
I said, "What is it?"
He said, "I don't know, but it came from the ocean, so I knew it would be good".
I suspect he had a basic knowledge or common sense that helped him
consider the risk, because even I know of some things that are not edible from the ocean,
just as there are poisonous mushrooms, and poisonous berries,
which he also liked to pick and eat.
He always knew how to differentiate in those two areas.
The thing is, he never wanted sauce on anything, except his pasta.
He would eat plain lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, hamburgers,
hot dogs, even pizza - everything with no dressing, condiment, or sauce.
And he never even wanted to try anything different.
He wouldn't taste ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, butter, cream
or any kind of dressing.
Me - I'm a sauce person.
I love to try all kinds of different stuff.
My taste in food is kind of like my taste in music -
I love all kinds, as long as it is made well, in the case of food,
or played well, in the case of music.
So, speaking of seafood, let's take a look at a couple of simple shrimp sauces
that, to me, make the shrimp taste so much better!
I like to serve both when I am entertaining and I prefer a medium shrimp
over those gigantic sizes that are almost like small lobster tails.
Something like a 26/30 count, or, at the largest, a 21/25 count.
The real large ones are much more expensive, and not any tastier.
Try to stay away from the real tiny "popcorn" shrimp,
because they put some kind of additive in them
that is not good for you.
My two favorite sauces are the typical American shrimp cocktail sauce,
and a French remoulade sauce.
The English have a really good sauce that I enjoy,
but I forgot how to make it.
Have to ask my friend "Lord Neil", next time he comes back to Auburn.
Those of you who have met him know how entertaining and likable he is;
what you may not know is that he is a world-class chef.
These sauces are easy and quick.
They require only a few ingredients and no special tools.
Anyone can make them in a matter of minutes,
so now that football season is in full swing,
next time "the boys" are coming to watch the game,
give them something healthy like shrimp, with a choice of sauces,
instead of chips and dips.

Bob Leonardi

See recipes below for sauces:

Newspaper Article --- July, 2009

Summer salads spotlight orange -

Includes 2 recipes for orange salad -

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Newspaper Article --- June 10, 2009

Use pan drippings in sauce

Includes recipes for Swiss chard with olive oil and garlic,

And Sauteed mushrooms with lemon and garlic

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Newspaper Article -- May 13, 2009

Friday, a seafood or pasta night

Includes recipes for Pasta with tuna sauce, and Italian garden salad

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Newspaper Article -- Apr. 15, 2009

Yummy mushrooms, beets

Includes recipes for Sauted Mushrooms, and Beets Italian Style

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Newspaper Article -- Mar. 18, 2009

Chicken from Momma's house -

Includes recipes for Boiled Potatoes, and Sauteed Chicken Breasts

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Chicken From Momma's House


Newspaper Article -- Feb. 11, 2009

Mac 'n' cheese goes uptown - includes recipe for fancy Mac.& Cheese!

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Newspaper Article -- Nov. 19, '08

Tribute to Thanksgiving leftovers:

Includes recipes for Turkey Soup, and Turkey Reuben Sandwich:

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Newspaper Article -- Aug. 27, '08

Entertaining guest a fine art
Includes recipes for Roquetfort Grapes, & Frittata:

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Newspaper Article -- July 30, '08

Nothing Beats Mom's Pizza
Includes recipes for cheese pizza and pizza dough:

(Click on thumbnail below for much larger size)


Newspaper Article -- June 11, '08

Versatile Pesto Easy to Make
(Includes recipe for Typical Pesto Sauce)

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to read, or to print out.)

Newspaper Article -- April 16, '08

Recipes that always please

(Includes recipes for Bruschetta with Garlic Shrimp, &
Insalata Caparese salad with pesto vinaigrette. )

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and then click that larger view AGAIN for even larger view.

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Newspaper Article -- March 5, '08

Steak beats hamburger

(Includes recipes for Ribeye or Sirloin Tri Tips Steak,
& Mixed, Fresh Vegetables)

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and then click that larger view AGAIN for even larger view.

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Newspaper Article -- Jan. 23, '08

Northern twist on old southern favorite

(Includes recipes for Southern Green Beans,
& Country-Fried Steak)

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and then click that larger view AGAIN for even larger view.

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Newspaper Article -- Jan. '08

Never turn down a great recipe

(Includes recipes for marinated port tenderloin,
& pasta with tuna sauce)

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and then click that larger view AGAIN for even larger view.


Newspaper Article -- Aug. '07

How to Fry New Orleans Style
(Includes recipe for Seafood Jambalaya)

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and then click that larger view AGAIN for even larger view.

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Newspaper Article - June 2007

New Orleans Taste Signifies Class -
(Includes recipes for Mint Julep & Muffuletta)

(Click on thumbnail below to read or print out)

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Newspaper Article - May 2007

Southern Cooking Up North
(Includes recipe for Creole Bread Pudding with Whisky Sauce)
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Newspaper Article - March 2007

More Ideas to Make Life Easier

(Includes recipes for Steak Marinade,
& Chicken in Reisling with Cremini Mushrooms)

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to see larger view -

(Then click that larger view again
for even larger view.)

Newspaper Article - Jan. 2006

Six Ideas to Save Time, Money in 2007
(Includes recipe for pizza with seasoned tomatoes)

(Click on thumbnail below, to see larger view:)


Newspaper Article - Oct. 2006
By Bob Leonardi

(Includes recipes for String Bean Salad,
and Potato Salad with Vegetables)

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for larger view.

Newspaper Article -
By Bob Leonardi:

(Includes recipe for chicken broth Brodo Di Pollo)

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Newspaper Article Printed October, 2006
By Bob Leonardi:

(Includes recipes for Pesto Sauce and Fresh Pomodoro Sauce)

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Newspaper Article Printed September 6, 2006
By Bob Leonardi:

(Includes recipes for corn salsa and Fritatta)

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Newspaper Article Printed July, 2006
By Bob Leonardi:

(Includes recipes for the Neiman Marcus $250.00 Cookie Recipe,
and Mom's Biscotti)

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Newspaper Article Printed June 28, 2006,
By Bob Leonardi :

(Recipes include Steak Diane & Bananas Foster)

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Newspaper article printed Apr. 5th, 2006
by Bob Leonardi:

(Includes recipes for Sauteed Endive or Dandelions,
And Anchove Salad or Insalata di Cicoria)

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Newspaper article printed Feb. 15th,
by Bob Leonardi:

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Newspaper article which was in the Post Standard,
I believe January 2006 edition:

"Grandmother's schnitzel a rare treat"
(Includes Recipe for Kane's Grandmother's Schnitzel)

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Newspaper article which was in the Post Standard/Food/Lake-Life section Sept. 21, 2005 edition:

Sunday meals always a family event:
Bob Leonardi

Since this is my first column, allow me to introduce myself.

We have something in common already, because you are reading this piece and it is mostly about food (with a few fond memories of my Mediterranean heritage thrown in). For as long back as I can remember, my life has been defined by food and my passion for a well-prepared repast. Of course, being born Italian American helped, and my background is typical of many from Auburn, where the meals were prepared with much love along with fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit from our garden.

The meals were a family event, especially on Sunday. Not only did my sisters learn to cook, but I and my brothers joined in as well, not as a chore, but because it was where all of the action was -- not to mention the incredible aromas.

We joked, laughed, had fun, bonded as siblings and most importantly, we learned a life skill.

No matter how late bedtime was the night before, the smell of fresh garlic, parsley and basil from the meatballs being sauteed just prior to tomatoes being added to sauce for the entourage of relatives that inevitably showed up weekly, some 20 or 30 strong, was a smell that got me out of bed early and that I still relish to this day, decades after my childhood.

Of course, church had to be attended, and still hot from the oven, was bread picked up from Cato's Bakery. We would have a snack of this traditional Sunday feast of our heritage, hours before aunts, uncles and cousins arrived.

Monday through Saturday were the same as far as preparations were concerned, all of us helping, just less people at the table, although frequent friends and neighbors joined us on a regular basis, especially if Mom, with the help from my sisters, were making pizza from scratch.

Lunches for school were made using leftovers from the night before -- no ham and cheese or Spam for me; meatball sandwiches, broccoli rapi stuffed in the end of a loaf of Italian bread or sausage and peppers were in my bag, which usually showed olive oil leakage by the time noon rolled around.

I only got to taste American food when I traded lunch with a friend or went to their house for dinner.

I began to realize I was different from my American friends when my buddies consistently asked if they could trade their lunch for mine and jumped at the chance to come to our house for dinner.

I could never understand why most of them didn't like vegetables until witnessing a friend's mothers routine in the kitchen; open can, dump vegetables from can into a pot of water and let boil for half an hour. Drain and put a pat of butter on top. Serve. Not only was there no smell of garlic being sauteed in pure olive oil or fresh herbs for seasoning, there was no taste.

I didn't realize how much I knew about good food until I went to college and started cooking for myself and a buddy of mine after getting tired of diner cuisine.

He told his friends and the next thing I knew I was catering to a dozen students' lunch and dinners. Not only did they pay me; they took turns doing the dishes to make sure I wouldn't stop feeding them. I was preparing the foods my mother taught me how to cook, eating well and for free, having fun, getting paid - living large.

I love to eat. I love to cook for friends and family.

It is one of my truest passions in life - and I look forward to sharing it with you each month.

I hope you enjoy my slant on what some have said is a dying art. Not in my world. It is alive and well - always has been, always will be - not just to me, but for millions of others who frequent cooking classes, wine tours, food-oriented vacations and a lifestyle that still includes home cooked meals from scratch.

Thanks for allowing me to come into your home for the brief few minutes it will take to read my words.

Bob Leonardi, of Auburn, ran a successful restaurant business, catering and gourmet food store in Fort Lauderdale, Fl., for 15 years.

( See photo of newspaper article below: )


Newspaper article which was in the Post Standard/Neighbors/Cayuga/Business Aug. 25, 2005 edition :

Just the facts...

Business: Green Shutters
Address: 6933 Owasco Road, Fleming
Owner: Bob Leonardi
Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday through Thursday,
open a little later Friday and Saturday
Telephone: 253-6154


Editorial assistant Branda Duncan recently spoke with Bob Leonardi, owner of Green Shutters Restaurant.

Name of business: Green Shutters

In a few words, describe what your business is:

We have six different ways that we serve food and beverage, which is kind of unique in and of itself. We have a dining room, two dining rooms actually; we have a fountain, an old-fashioned ice cream fountain with a counter where people can sit and get a soda or sundae or root-beer float; we have a walk-up ice cream window; an area with tables where people can eat outside; and we do take-out.

Do you have a food style?

I would call it comfort food - kind of country food - nothing fancy but everything we prepare is of the best possible quality. Our food is really exceptional. We do no advertising so people come in because of the quality of the food and they come back because of the quality of the food.

Number of employees:

45, mostly high school and college students.

How long have you owned it ?

I bought it in '99, spent a year cleaning, painting, repairing, and getting rid of a lot of clutter and disrepair. We renovated this past year and more than doubled the size of our kitchen. It's been there more than 75 years. I'm only the third actual owner, the original owner had it for 50 years and the second owner had it for almost 19 years. This is our sixth season.

What did you do before becoming a business owner ?

I have an off-premise high-end catering company in Florida where I spend my winters. I close Green Shutters usually in the late fall, usually around the first part of November.
I've been in the restaurant business for many years. I'm also a restaurant critic when I'm in Florida for the newspaper.

What are your specialties ?

We have dinner specials every night. Nothing fancy, we have really good meatloaf and spinach lasagne, manicotti, pork tenderloin, sirloin steak specials, pasta specials, fish special. We usually have at least four specials every night.

What's your favorite part of running this business ?

Working with the kids, I love kids. And we get a total cross-section of the community that comes into our restaurant. Most people remember coming as children with their parents. We get 80-year-old women who come in and tell us they used to be carhops. We get everybody from the mayor to the sheriff, teachers, a lot of kids, your total cross-section of the community.

What's the hardest part ?

Keeping the kids focused because they're still kids. We start them when they're 14 and they have to be reminded to do
( their job) sometimes. Sometimes they lose track of what they're there for. We know that so we try and deal with it as best we can.

What's the nicest thing a customer ever said to you ?

We get a lot of compliments, probably the nicest thing is that they are so pleased that someone has taken the interest in the community to bring the restaurant up to what it used to be 50 years ago when it was in the prime.

Is there a person in business you admire or someone you'd like to thank ?

No one person, just the whole community for supporting us and acknowledging and recognizing that we're all working hard as a team of people to please them. So any thanks would be to all the employees and the community for supporting us. I'm just the guy that pays the bills, everybody that works here is very important to the success of the business. No one person is any better than another, we just have different job functions. The thanks goes to every single member of our team.

What is the best piece of business advice that anyone has given you ?

You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time buy you can't please all of the people all of the time. You can't have the kind of staff that can please everybody all of the time when you're working with high school kids. I don't have a problem with one of the kids I work with. I trust all of them, they're great kids, I like to start them when they're young, by the time they're 17 you have them completely trained and they're great.

In five years, what do you hope to be doing ?
What changes would you like to see for your business ?

I hope to be doing the exact same thing. I'm hoping at some point we'll be done with all the renovations and improvements. We're going to add a badminton area and hopefully put up a volleyball net. We want to continue doing the same thing we're doing but fine-tune that. We have an antiques store that we're building across the street and we might be doing some cooking classes in the fall next year - maybe some New England style clambakes. I don't want to change a thing. I love working with all of the young people, they're so enthusiastic, they keep you young, it's contagious.