Thursday, July 19, 2012

Flagship Niagara

On June 18, 1812 the United States of America, for the first time in it's short history, declared war. President Madison saw unsettled business with Great Brittan and attacked while they were distracted by Napoleon. Less than a month later General William Hull ushered his small forces across the Detroit river into Upper Canada (now Ontario) and captured a small town in what is now part of Windsor. The US believed that they'd be welcomed by the majority American born population and this first engagement further fueled that belief. Such rationale proved fool hearty and ultimately costly.
While the war would rage back and forth for 32 months before a treaty was ratified in February of 1815. It was, for all intents and purposes a stalemate.

Among the significant engagements was the Battle of Lake Erie. On September 10, 1813 US forces led by Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry battled the British and Commander Robert Heriot Barclay around Put in Bay. Perry's flagship, USS Lawrence suffered heavy damage and was eventually abandoned. He was rowed under heavy fire to the USS Niagara where he picked up the fight. At the end of the day the British fleet was surrounded and surrendered.

The Niagara survived the war but was ultimately scuttled. To honour the centenial of the battle she was raised and restored. Following the celebrations the Niagara fell into disrepair. Over the next number of years she was shuffled around from one governing body to another. Finally in 1963 for the sesquicentennial she was restored as a museum piece. In 1973 she was placed in the National Register of Historic Places. By the 80's she was to see one last restoration. Unfortunately years of neglect rendered her unfit. She was completely torn apart and rebuilt with new materials. Some old wood was salvaged and reused but the ship is essentially a replica. Officially the state ship of Pennsylvania her home is now Erie. She's one of two ships remaining from the war with the other being the USS Constitution. She's had some modern electronics added recently and still sails Lake Erie during the summer months.

Perhaps no trip to Erie, Pa could be considered complete without a visit to New York Lunch. "Serving Erie's original Greek Sauce and Greek Dogs" New York Lunch was opened in 1927 and now 85 years later is still going strong. As much an Erie tradition as people flocking to the beach.
From the outside the place looks every bit it's 85 years. It's yet another of those places that scares off the easily intimidated. As I've mentioned before, I don't see a shabby building, I see character.

Inside it looks like it hasn't seen a health inspector in decades. Not to mention a renovators hammer. It's just part of the charm though. A few tables line one wall and stools are pressed up against the counter. While there is evidence of some rudimentary renovations those are long in the past. Fortunately they've left one architectural feature in tact. The pressed tin ceiling. You see fewer and fewer all the time sadly.

Well all that is fine, it's the food we're interested in here right??

The Greek style hotdogs are really quite a tasty treat. Greek sauce (which makes 'em Greek obviously) is an all meat chili sauce that's rather similar to Cincinnati Chili however not quite as intense a flavour. There also seemed to be a bit more of a traditional hint to it although just faintly. As for the dogs, well they were your run of the mill type on a soft bun and a slather of mustard. The chili just pulled the whole thing together. I quite liked them, Mrs. Sippi loved them.

Sadly the Greek style burger wasn't nearly up to the example set by the dog. A thin patty that looked like cardboard and tasted about the same. It came with some ketchup rather than mustard which really only added some sweetness which I didn't care for. The chili sauce and ketchup just really didn't work on the burger IMHO. I didn't hate it but wouldn't order again.

NYL serves up some pretty basic looking breakfast fare that according to the guy sitting across the way from us was declared "Good"!! Sausage and eggs, bacon and eggs, that kinda thing.

So there you have it folks, the next time you're in north west Pennsylvania looking for some history or a nice sandy beach, check out this neat little place serving Greek inspired food.

You can find New York Lunch at 1005 Parade St, Erie, Pennsylvania.

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You can also find them on the web.
New York Lunch on Urbanspoon
New York Lunch on Foodio54

Well that's all for now folks, catch ya next time in the food court.


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