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Former Foit's Restaurant comes tumbling down The space will be used for a lake overlook

It seemed almost appropriate Tuesday morning as the former Foit's Restaurant in Hamburg was demolished:

The once-upscale dining spot on Lake Shore Road came down bite by bite as two large construction machines closed their massive jaws around pieces of the structure and pulled.

They were chewing up memories of 70 years of sunset dinners and what town officials say had become a dilapidated, dangerous building.

In fact, Town Councilman Dick Smith pumped his fist as he arrived and got out of his car at the site.

"It's an exciting time for everybody in Hamburg; they wanted this waterfront open, and to get this eyesore out of the way," Smith said. "It's a firetrap and safety hazard.

"Unfortunately, businesses could not survive there because of the parking arrangements and the dangers of Route 5."

The town is in the process of acquiring the property and has plans to turn it into an overlook.

Victoria DeCarlo of Evans said she heard the building was being razed, and she stopped by to watch. She said she was a regular there in the years before the restaurant changed hands, eventually going out of business as The Italian Fisherman.

It was under the Foit's name that the restaurant thrived.

DeCarlo said she had no problems with parking because there was valet parking, but she felt the food slipped at the end.

"It didn't have a bar atmosphere to it, so it was dinner and the view," DeCarlo said. "And there was a great stone fireplace."

Mark Hanna co-owns Rodney's -- the tavern across the street from the old restaurant -- with his father, Bill. He said he remembered first going to Foit's when he was about 8 years old in the 1960s.

For the past 22 years, the Hannas have had the business across Lake Shore Road.

"It was quite a busy establishment at one time," Hanna said of Foit's. "It was a very nice establishment. But even when it was a going concern, it was like Russian roulette to pull out of there. During the summer, there was an accident just about every Friday night.

"And as the years went by, it just declined."

The Hannas will benefit from the demolition since they will now have a clear view of the lake from their business.

Hamburg Supervisor Steven J. Walters also arrived to watch.

"It's disappointing to see a once-vibrant business go down like this, but at the same time it's good to see such a dilapidated eyesore removed," he said.

The town is paying a little more than $100,000 for the demolition and cleanup of the site, including the completed asbestos abatement.

The cleanup of the rubble is scheduled to begin today.


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