December 1993

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The Penn Yan Diner


Herbert A. Wisbey, Jr.

Herbert Wisbey sends this story as an addendum
to his article on the Penn Yan Diner which appeared last month.

Todd Martin, who grew up in Corning, works as an architect for the New York City architectural firm of Hardy, Holzman, and Pfeiffer who have their offices on Broadway at 18th Street in Manhattan. The firm generally works on large projects (e.g. the Los Angeles Public Library which just reopened, the revamping of the Rainbow Room atop Radio City, the creation of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, etc.). At one point they were under consideration for the adding of an addition to the Rochester Public Library, and one of the head architects and some of the staff of the firm, Todd among them, flew up to Rochester to consult with the library officials.

At the end of the day, the chief architect suggested that they drive to Penn Yan, since he had once been in a diner there and he had encountered a new culinary experience—grape pie. None of the group had ever had grape pie, so the expedition was on. Their wishes were fulfilled: the Penn Yan diner had grape pie on hand (the group were there in just the right season!), and at the end of their repast, one of the architects asked if he could buy a whole pie to take back to Manhattan with him. The management was reluctant to sell a pie to go out since they would thereby lose the pie pan. Finally an agreement was reached: they would sell a grape pie if there was a promise that the pie plate would be returned. The pie thus made its way to New York City—and in due time the pie plate was returned to the diner by one of the express agencies. Thus the fame of grape pie from the Penn Yan diner is no longer merely a local occasion for celebration but is known even in the heart of Gotham.

© 1993, Herbert A. Wisbey, Jr.
Index to articles by Herbert A. Wisbey, Jr.
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