Anthony Zappala and Joseph Clark purchased Wade's Diner in 1983. In 2003, Clark, Zappala's friend and partner of 30 years passed away. Zappala has been running the business ever since. Although Wade's Diner still carries the name of the original owner, the structure itself is only slightly reminiscent of the original diner.
The original owner, Neal Wade, opened the business in1937 in a pullman car. Mr. Wade was hauling the pullman car east by route 104 when he was stopped by the law enforcement and told he could not haul the pullman car across town without a permit. To get a permit would have taken months. After talking with some of his friends, Wade decided to haul the pullman car across town in the middle of the night. Around 2o'clock in the morning unbeknownst to the city officials, Wade and some of his friends got a team of horses hooked on to the pullman car and hauled it across town to east 9th street where it is still located today. The following morning city officials approached Neal and asked him how the diner got to the east side. Neal said he had no idea; it was not there last night. They accused Neal of hauling the diner across town in the middle of the night. He asked them by any chance if they saw him moving it. When they responded with a no, Wade said that he had not seen anything either. The officials not being able to prove that Neal had moved the pullman car across town were forced to let the matter drop.
At that time the diner consisted of several grills, 14 seats at the counter, a small walk-in-cooler, a coffee pot, several toasters and a small dishwasher. The business served breakfast,lunch and dinner and was open 24 hours a day-seven days a week. Wade, having graduated from Oswego State Teachers College in 1933 and having a good business mind, soon saw the business prosper and grow. As time went on Wade added the dining room and the bathrooms.
The second owner was Tom Parrish. He purchased the diner around 1953. Like Wade, Parrish ran the diner 24 hours a day-seven days a week. This continued into the 60's. Parrish then realized that preparing lunches and dinner was very time consuming and not very cost effective. He then changed the hours of operation to 6 days a week and only served breakfast. The hours of operation would then be 6:00 am till noon. Today, the diner continues to be open only for breakfast.
Serving breakfast is only one of the changes Zappala and Clark instituted shortly after their take over. Another change was to increase the size of the bakery by putting an addition on the back of the diner and relocating the bakery to this area. They then raised the roof. This tied the addition and main part of the building together. In 1984, Zappala decided to change the hours of operation by including Sunday. the diner was now open 7 days a week and still served just breakfast. All bread used at the diner continued to be made on the premises. It was not long before the signature raisin bread baked and served at the diner became its claim to fame. Today, it is a rare individual who has not heard of Wade's and the savory, thickly sliced raisin bread that accompanies the many generously portioned breakfast entrees.
176 East 9th St.
Oswego, NY 13126
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