I threw out the names of Busterâ€™s and the former Nettiâ€™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 Nettiâ€™s. Doreen writes, and I found it very informative:
â€śMy parents, Dominick and Pauline Netti, owned Nettiâ€™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.
â€śDuring 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.â€ť
He then closed at 3 p.m. and would reopen two hours later for the dinner crowd and thatâ€™s were many of Doreenâ€™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.
â€śIt was the way my father was,â€ť Doreen added, â€śhe knew the importance of an education.â€ť
The first day of the weekend was always a great day for the Nettiâ€™s daughter.
â€śI would go with him when he didnâ€™t open up until later in the day,â€ť Doreen went on to say. â€śI 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 itâ€™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.â€ť (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.
â€śThe smell of hot dogs and hamburgers on the grills,â€ť Doreen said. â€śMy 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.â€ť
When Bristolâ€™s redevelopment came along, Nettiâ€™s had to close down the business.
â€śI 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.â€ť
Pat Parente on Nettiâ€™s
â€śNettiâ€™s Restaurant was a popular fast food restaurant in the 50s on Route 72, now occupied by Jimmyâ€™s on the River. It was owned by Dom Netti, Dom Divenere and Joe Calderuts.
â€śThe Flood of 1955 closed Nettiâ€™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.
â€śAround 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.
â€śNettiâ€™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.â€ť
In closing, does anyone have a photo of either of the Nettiâ€™s locations? If so, can I have one to make a copy of? Iâ€™d like it for historical purposes and to make one for Doreen Witkiewizc who does not have one. - Thank you.
Contact Bob Montgomery at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 860-973-1808.