BRISTOL BITS: Remembering Netti's drive-in

Published on Tuesday, 30 June 2020 16:10
Written by BOB MONTGOMERY

I threw out the names of Buster’s and the former Netti’s drive-in restaurants last week and received a few emails on the current and former business, respectively. The most informative came from Doreen Witkiewicz, whose parents owned Netti’s. Doreen writes, and I found it very informative:

“My parents, Dominick and Pauline Netti, owned Netti’s Drive-In, both the one that was on Terryville Avenue and the one on Middle Street. I remember the one on Middle Street being built when I was four-years-old back in 1963.

“During lunch hours my aunt, Lena Parente, and my dad would handle the lunch crowd in tandem, my aunt taking orders, running the cash register, and beverages from soda, coffee and milkshakes, while my dad single-handedly did the grinders, hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries.”

He then closed at 3 p.m. and would reopen two hours later for the dinner crowd and that’s were many of Doreen’s cousins, Jim and Patrick Parente, Paul Palmisano, Dan Doty, and others would come in to work. Before going out to the front, however, they had to finish their homework.

“It was the way my father was,” Doreen added, “he knew the importance of an education.”

The first day of the weekend was always a great day for the Netti’s daughter.

“I would go with him when he didn’t open up until later in the day,” Doreen went on to say. “I would help him prep food, and clean all the stainless steel. The last thing to be done was wash the floors in the front area where the customers placed their order and it’s where they stood waiting (for their food). On that just-washed floor we would follow the footsteps, then one last wash of the floor as the last polka tune played.” (During clean-up time, music was played for the workers.)

When school was out for the summer, Doreen was again opening up with her father and aunt and working the morning shift.

“The smell of hot dogs and hamburgers on the grills,” Doreen said. “My favorite lunch was a foot-long hot dog with nothing on it and a chocolate milkshake...there was nothing better in the world growing up.”

When Bristol’s redevelopment came along, Netti’s had to close down the business.

“I am flooded with memories of my parents, especially my dad, the many repeat customers he had, the friendships he forged, the many of them he loved, and in turn who showed their respect and love for him when he died in 1994.”

Pat Parente on Netti’s

Pat writes:

“Netti’s Restaurant was a popular fast food restaurant in the 50s on Route 72, now occupied by Jimmy’s on the River. It was owned by Dom Netti, Dom Divenere and Joe Calderuts.

“The Flood of 1955 closed Netti’s until it reopened after major repairs in the building. It was a very popular spot for young and old to sit in their cars and eat hot dogs, Italian grinders, or a burger and fries with a milkshake. It was closed again around 1964 due to the rebuilding of Route 72 taking most of the parking area.

“Around 1966, Dom Netti built and opened up again on Middle Street. He served lunch and dinner with the same flair as before. It was the place to go after a Sunday ride with the family.

Some of the Bristolites who worked there were Paul Fanelli, Willard Kempton, Peter Divenere, and Paul Palmisano.

“Netti’s was closed again when the land was taken over for Redevelopment of the Bristol Industrial Park. The idea of the Bristol Tramps Sports Reunion Dinner came about in the basement of the Middle Street site.”

In closing, does anyone have a photo of either of the Netti’s locations? If so, can I have one to make a copy of? I’d like it for historical purposes and to make one for Doreen Witkiewizc who does not have one. - Thank you.

Contact Bob Montgomery at bmontgomery@bristolpress.com or by calling 860-973-1808.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Tuesday, 30 June 2020 16:10. Updated: Tuesday, 30 June 2020 16:13.