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Anthony F. Palumbo of Tony's Drive-In, master of the grilled hot dog

June 20, 1955 – Dec. 21, 2017

If you lived around Hamburg, there was a good chance that at some point you ate or worked at Tony's Bayview Drive-In. When children grew up to become adults, they brought their children to enjoy the hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream and other items from the menu.

Chances also were good on any visit that you would see Anthony F. Palumbo. Mr. Palumbo, the owner and manager, was a fixture at the seasonal Blasdell restaurant.

"He loved the restaurant and his customers, and loved what he did. It was his second home," said Clarise Palumbo, his wife.

Mr. Palumbo, 62, died suddenly Thursday at his home in Hamburg. He was born in Buffalo, the son of Simon and Eleanor Palumbo, and graduated from Frontier High School. He received a bachelor's degree in physical education from Brockport State College.

After college, he lived in Texas for a few years and traveled, but he returned to Hamburg to take over ownership of the business, which he ran for 36 years. He built what was a small hot dog stand into the popular family restaurant that it is today, and the Palumbos intend to keep the business open.

Mr. Palumbo offered a simple menu, but what he did, he did well.

He had strong opinions on how to cook a charcoal-grilled hot dog to perfection. The hot dogs had to be sliced three or four times on each side, and then grilled slowly so they plumped up and developed a glaze on their exterior. Cook them too fast, he warned, and the meat shriveled up.

"He was very meticulous about how to grill a hot dog. It was all about the technique," his wife said.

Mr. Palumbo was a member of St. Mary of the Lake Church. He supported many local causes and charities, including making food donations to local schools and sports teams.

Survivors include his wife, the former Clarise Patti; two daughters, Sarah and Samantha; and two sisters, Deborah Palumbo and Rebecca Lissitschenko.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Dec. 27 in St. Mary of the Lake Church, 4737 Lake Shore Road, Hamburg. Burial will be in Lakeside Cemetery, Hamburg.

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