, Longtime Syracuse lunch shop closes

Syracuse, N.Y. — Nick’s Place, a breakfast and lunch shop in the M&T Bank building in downtown Syracuse, has closed after a long run.

Owner John Fratto said he made the decision Thursday. He wasted no time acting on it, closing the shop on Friday.

“It’s just time,” said Fratto, 51, as he sat in the darkened shop late Friday afternoon. “I’ve been here almost 11 years. I had a good run.”

The shop, which had seating for about 90, had three employees and was open 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Fratto bought the business from Nicholas Spinos Jr. in 2009. Spinos bought it in the 1990s when it was named Vanderbuilt Deli and renamed it Nick’s Place. Fratto said the shop had been in business for many years before that under various owners.

, Longtime Syracuse lunch shop closes

Rick Moriarty

Nick’s Place owner John Fratto said foot traffic through the M&T Bank building declined in recent years, hurting the breakfast and lunch shop. (Rick Moriarty | rmoriarty@syracuse.com)

With no street visibility, Nick’s Place relied on foot traffic through the building. But Fratto said that traffic has been declining the last two and a half years.

The Mackenzie Hughes law firm moved to the Galleries of Syracuse in late 2016, taking its lawyers and support staff with it. M&T maintains a branch office in the building, but far fewer people bank in person now than used to, he said.

“I was making money, just not enough,” he said. “I need new counter tops and other upgrades, but if I can’t get a return on my investment, it just doesn’t make sense. I need the traffic in the halls and I just don’t have it.”

Fratto said M&T, which owns the building, understood his situation and let him out of his lease early. He said he closed just a day after making the decision because he did not want to stretch out the pain for himself and his customers.

“Emotionally, it’s just so draining,” he said.

Before buying the business, Fratto worked in management positions with Pizza Hut, Buffalo Wild Wings and Nothing But Noodles. He said he’s going to do a little fishing and “decompress a little bit” before deciding what he’ll do next.

Rick Moriarty covers business news and consumer issues. Have a question or news tip? Contact him anytime: Email | Twitter | Facebook | 315-470-3148

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