The Place
Photo of Buffalo by buffalorose used under a Creative Commons license.

Verlyn Klinkenborg, The Last Fine Time (Knopf, 1991).
In 1947, when he was 27 years old, Eddie Wenzek, Klinkenborg’s father-in-law, inherited a Polish tavern at 722 Sycamore Street, at the corner of Herman St. on the East Side of Buffalo, in a Polish-American neighborhood. His father had bought the place in 1922, and called it The Thomas Wenzek Restaurant. Eddie Wenzek renamed it “George and Eddie’s” and turned it into a swank nightspot which thrived in the years after World War II, but the good times did not last. In 1970, Wenzek sold the premises and moved to the suburbs. Klinkenborg’s book is a chronicle of the bar during those five decades, and a social history of Buffalo over that time.

Here is Wikipedia’s page about Klinkenborg. David has a picture of 722 Sycamore Street today, as well as a 1940 map. L.S. Klepp reviewed the book for Entertainment Weekly. Here is an anonymous review at eNotes. Carl Lennertz says it’s “one of the great books of all time.” Buffalo resident karen! didn’t like it. Nor did Mr. Muckle. Klinkenborg wrote about Buffalo and the Buffalo Bills in The New York Times in 1991.

Buy it at Amazon.com.

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