September 15, 2013

North Country Club marks milestone

KEESEVILLE — Three sets of owners will be on hand when the North Country Club restaurant in Keeseville celebrates its 60th anniversary at its current location. 

Present owners Tonia and Mike Finnegan said the event is scheduled for Sept. 28. It will start with hors d’ouevres and a free wine tasting followed by a full dinner with a choice of three entrees — prime rib, veal scallopini or lobster tail.

A disc jockey will be playing music from all of the different eras. There will also be presentations from former owners Peter and Carol Stone and Fred Chiappalone about their experiences.

“We hope to attract a number of our long-time customers,” Tonia said, adding that she hopes they will bring their own memorabilia to add to what the owners have collected.

Opened in 1947

The restaurant was opened in 1947 by Anthony and Stella Chiappalone along with their son, Fred. It was originally located at the corner of Pleasant Street and North AuSable Street.

“When we started, to the best of my knowledge, we had the only pizza restaurant in the North Country,” Fred said.

He said Stella went to the New York City area to sample pizza recipes, which she incorporated into her recipe for thin-crust pizza.

Needing more space, they moved it to the present location in 1953. That required extensive renovation of the building, which was the railroad depot for the line that ran from Port Kent to Keeseville.

“It was called the peanut line because it was so small,” Michael said.

The attic still has coal ash deposits from that by-gone era.

Fred said it was a real family affair, as his sisters, Rose Chiappalone and Nancy Chiappalone-Tierney, also worked at the restaurant.

“I was the manager,” Fred said. “My mom took care of the kitchen.”

Offered varied menu

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