CHAZY — There is a new, yet familiar, breakfast and lunch option in the hamlet of Chazy.
Jerry and Lisa Deno just opened Guma’s East, which is located at 9483 Route 9, directly across from Chazy Orchards.
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The breakfast menu is the same as the one at Guma’s Restaurant in West Chazy, while the lunch menu has been slightly simplified.
“We’re trying to make it simple, efficient. We want to give people a place to come with their family,” Jerry said.
As with the original restaurant, the focus is on home-cooked meals at an affordable price, with friendly service in a family atmosphere.
Whenever possible, the goal is to offer homemade products, such as jams, jellies, french fries and baked goods.
“We cook our own turkeys and make our own gravies and soups,” Jerry said.
They even offer real maple syrup produced by his brother, Jeff. Plans call for a small display area to sell some of their homemade products.
Lisa has worked for Sodexho at the Wyeth/Pfizer cafeteria in Rouses Point for more than 25 years but will be available more often, as that plant is slated to close at the end of the year.
JOBS FOR 10
The Denos expect to have about 10 employees in Chazy.
Lisa said they have a tremendous group of employees at their businesses.
“We have key players at each location,” she said, noting that their willingness to take on a little more responsibility at those locations helped make the decision to open a second Guma’s easier.
The restaurant has space for about 60 diners.
SUPPORT FROM GIROUXS
The Denos rent the building from Willie and Craig Giroux, who also own Giroux’s Poultry and Chazy Orchards.
Lisa said Willie raised the idea of opening a restaurant in Chazy while they were all in California with the Chazy Flyers for the girls U-19 Tier II national championship hockey tournament, which was won by Chazy.
“When they first approached us, we thought it would be way too much,” Jerry said.
He said the brothers have been amazingly helpful as they prepared to open, right up through some finishing touches, such as flower boxes.
“They are very big community people. They like the idea of a diner being open in town,” Jerry said.
It helps that Guma’s has developed a loyal following at the original location. That includes many who traveled from the Chazy area.
“We would never have considered doing this if we didn’t have the support of the community,” Jerry said. “So many people have already told us they are happy we are coming.”
FORMER PIZZA SHOP
It helped that the restaurant was available fully equipped. The former pizza shop was previously converted to a prep kitchen, separate from the main kitchen, with a large convection oven and plenty of cooler space.
“We have a lot more cooking space than we have at our other place,” Jerry said.
The original Guma’s Restaurant was started by Jerry and his mother, Carolyn Deno, in 1996. It is located on Route 22 in West Chazy on a portion of the dairy farm that Carolyn and her late husband, George, owned for more than 50 years.
Carolyn’s grandchildren call her Guma — that’s where the restaurant’s name came from.
Jerry said Guma is still working and shows no signs of slowing down.
“I know she was kind of excited about it,” Lisa said of the new restaurant.
The Denos acquired the Udder Delight Dairy Shop in the hamlet of Beekmantown in 2012.
Guma’s East is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 7 a.m to noon on Sundays. It is closed on Mondays.
Email Dan Heath:firstname.lastname@example.org