90, Vic still hangs out on Hot Dog Row
in the kitchen as landmark Vic & Irv's celebrates its
number of hot dogs and cheeseburgers is unfathomable. So,
the gallons of hot sauce that have been doused on top of them.
don't bother trying to count the employees who have cooked
served the stuff, or the customers who have eaten it.
the best way Vic Anuszkiewicz can quantify his accomplishments
is by the calendar.
year marks the 70th anniversary of the Sea Breeze landmark,
Irv Refreshments. And in June, its founder, Anuszkiewicz (who
Annis), turned 90.
been doing this since I was 20 years old. It's ingrown,''
the Webster nonagenarian, who sold the business earlier this
continues making the hot sauce, trimming the tenderloin and
customers a couple of times a week. ''I have to see what's
going on. I
come in out of sheer habit,'' he adds.
new owner, Kevin Klee, 40, says he is happy to keep Annis'
presence in the forefront.
have an undying connection to Vic & Irv's," says
reopened the restaurant in March. "It's part of their
long as Annis can remember, the north end of Culver Road in
Irondequoit has been known as Hot Dog Row, for the half dozen
stands that lined the road near Seabreeze Park. And Stanley
owner of Stanley's Place, was the row's ''kingpin,'' recalls
father, Anthony Anuszkiewicz, a Russian-Polish immigrant who
worked as a presser in Rochester's clothing industry, knew
helped secure a job behind the counter for his teenage son.
days, youths either worked the hot dog stands or the truck
had to contribute my share of the work,'' Annis recalls from
growing up in the early Depression years on the city's northeast
Six years after starting at Stanley's, Annis ventured out
on his own and
opened Vic's Stand across from the amusement park. It was
hard times in
1934, and many of his classmates from his 1931 Franklin High
graduating class who patronized the stand still didn't have
brother, Irv, joined him in 1937, and from then on, the business
was known as Vic & Irv's. ''Irv was the direct opposite
of me. We
disagreed on everything. But we had a common goal,'' says
During World War II while Annis served as an Army medic in
Africa, Irv ran the hot dog stand, moving it to a new location,
doors down from its current site at 4880 Culver Road.
the post-war boom times, Irv convinced Annis to expand the
and the two built the stand at its current site. They reopened
November 1947, the first business along Hot Dog Row to stay
how they would fare in the new venture, the brothers installed
three garage doors in the building in case they needed to
business to a gas station. Annis also bought a used doughnut-making
machine as plan C.
post-war business was good, and with the disappearance of
rations, Vic & Irv's was able to expand its offerings
of hamburgers and
steak tenderloin sandwiches. Hot dog prices went up to 15
cents (from a
dime), burgers were a quarter and steak tenderloin sandwiches
continued to be strong through the 1950s and '60s. But in
tragedy struck. Lake levels were high that spring, which led
water in the parking lot. One day while Irv was pumping out
suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 57.
son Vic Jr. stepped in, and in 1983, the two built additional
indoor seating around the garage doors. A 1991 car accident
with a dislocated hip, forcing him to retire. It took him
before he could walk on his own again.
2000, Vic & Irv's was forced to close because of fire
violations. It reopened in 2001 after Annis leased the restaurant
Bruce Zicari, a retired Webster accountant who invested in
to Zicari, the seasonal swings of the business made it hard
for him to make a profit. He closed the restaurant in October
Manager Lynn Connelly, who has worked at the eatery for 13
of the past
17 years, says customers are thrilled with the reopening.
like it used to,'' she says.
says his strategy has been to ''go back to the old way of
things: homemade onion rings, hot sauce.''
has also added a few items to the menu - veggie burgers and
salads - to satisfy more health-conscious diners.
also owns ServiceMaster of Rochester, a commercial cleaning
restoration company, and his brother, Terry Klee, owns Don's
Annis is happy to see familiar faces and greet the new
generation of Vic & Irv's customers.
a customer looks like someone I know, it usually turns out
their granddaughter and grandson,'' he says.
2004 Karen Miltner, Democrat & Chronicle