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At Guy’s, food just as good as Grandma’s

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MASSENA — Bathroom tile from the 1950s on the floor? Green carpet on the walls?

If a friend hadn’t told me how good the food was at Guy’s Restaurant, I probably would have turn around and walked out.

The tile has obviously been there for years. And I’m told they actually change the floor-to-ceiling carpet every decade or so. Most of the waitresses have been at Guy’s longer than the most recent carpet change.

But it’s all good. The locals probably don’t even see the tile or the carpet anymore. They go there for the great food. And the friendly service.

Guy’s has operated by the Lashomb family continuously for 82 years. Mark Lashomb is the current owner. His father, Leo ran the restaurant before him and his grandfather, Guy, was the founder.

I stopped by for lunch with a friend who frequents Guy’s often, and he didn’t steer me wrong. We grabbed a booth by a window, but there were plenty of open tables for larger parties.

The ownership is multigenerational; the recipes reflect tried-and-true American cuisine—simple, well-prepared food like you remember eating at Grandma’s house.

The menu is chock full of fresh, homemade, unadulterated food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For lunch, there were three or four soups to choose from, literally dozens of hot and cold sandwiches as well as appetizers, salads and desserts.

Soups tell a lot about a restaurant. We started with two, both homemade: tomato hamburger macaroni soup and cabbage soup. From the first spoonful, I knew we were in for an outstanding food experience.

The “hamburger” soup had a hearty, beefy stock and perfect seasonings. And it didn’t just taste like ground beef — it tasted like hamburger! They actually made a hamburger, grilled it, and broke it into bite-sized chunks.

The cabbage soup was packed with flavor, a delicious chicken stock loaded with celery, carrots, green beans, a bit of tomato and lots of perfectly cooked cabbage.

It was a beautiful springlike day, the kind of day that conjures up thoughts of backyard picnics. Homemade coleslaw and macaroni salad seemed appropriate, and as we ordered those our waitress said they’d just made a fresh batch of potato salad that morning.

Bring ’em on!

The coleslaw was delightful, the perfect combination of ingredients: crisp cabbage, shredded carrot, celery seed, mayo, a slight hint of sugar. And was that a touch of horseradish in there?

The potato salad had great old-fashioned taste. The potatoes were chopped very small but still had character. Finely diced celery and carrot gave it a bit of a crunch. A good amount of egg simply helped make the rich mayonnaise base even richer, and the subtle taste of mustard give it an added zing.

But the macaroni salad stole the show. Everything was absolutely right: the creamy consistency of the mayo cradled the al dente macaroni noodles. Bits of carrot added color and texture, and a healthy dose of black pepper gave it a distinct personality. This is a side dish that could stand alone as a main event.

We were able to sample only two sandwiches, and they were excellent.

The Reuben was made with top quality rye bread—the flavor of caraway seeds unmistakable — complementing the lean shaved corned beef, zesty sauerkraut and melted Swiss. Thousand Island dressing, usually incorporated with the other ingredients, was served in a packet on the side (Ken’s brand—good choice).

It was skillfully grilled and could stand alone without the dressing if you’re counting calories, but hey—what’s a Reuben without the T.I. dressing?

I’m fussy about chicken salad. It’s got to be made with breast meat, it’s got to have good quality mayo and it should have diced celery. No pickle relish!

Guy’s chicken salad sandwich was right on the money — I couldn’t have made the chicken salad better myself—dressed up with a leaf of iceberg lettuce and a thin slice of tomato between slices of homemade wheat bread. I was in heaven.

By this time, our table was littered with half-finished cups of soup, half eaten salads and unfinished sandwiches. Not our waitress’s fault. We just wanted to try as many things as possible.

Did we need dessert? No, but duty called.

Their apple crisp was mouth-wateringly delicious. Perfectly cooked apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, a hint of nutmeg and vanilla, a flaky crust and fluffy, sugary oatmeal topping made this dessert a standout. “Without a doubt, the best apple crisp I have had to date,” reported my eating associate.

Lemon pie—just one of a long list of pies made right at Guy’s—was simple and effective. A flaky, homemade crust was filled with lemon custard. I sort of expected meringue topping, but no—just bright yellow goodness in a crust (even thought our waitress offered to make it a la mode or finish it with some whipped topping).

Lunch for two cost $34.80 before tip. We ended up taking a little of everything home, since we ordered way more than two normal people should consume for a midday meal.

Now I know why Guy’s Restaurant has been around for over three-quarters of a century. The place isn’t glitzy by any means, but the food is outstanding. The waitresses have been there for many years and seem to know everyone who came through the door, addressing most customers by their first names.

We noticed some interesting eats on the dinner menu: cabbage rolls, chicken and biscuits, roast fresh pork, roast turkey, center cut pork chops, baked Sicilian meatloaf, liver and onions … we’ll be back.

Guy’s is open seven days a week: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

It’s just off Route 37 on Highland Road, less than a mile from the St. Lawrence Centre mall. In the time it would take you to walk from one end of the mall to the food court, you could hop in your car and enjoy the great home cooking at Guy’s Restaurant.

Note: As we go to press, we learn that after 82 years of operation, Guy’s Restaurant is for sale.Signs were posted in front of the building early last week.

You can contact restaurant reviewer Walter Siebel via email: wsiebel@wdt.net.



Guy’s Restaurant

22 Highland Road

Massena, N.Y.

769-9617



Under continuous family ownership for 82 years. The recipes reflect tried-and-true American cuisine—simple, well-prepared food like you remember eating at Grandma’s house.



HOURS: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday

6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

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