Eddie’s at Sylvan Beach Celebrates 85 Years!
I have vivid memories of being a little kid and begging my parents to take me to the Sylvan Beach. As a child, Sylvan Beach felt like another world despite growing up only 20 minutes away. I didn’t realize it then, but a visit to the beach was more than just the Tilt-a-Whirl and arcade games. It created a sense of happiness and peace that is much easier to understand as an adult. When we describe this area to people who are unfamiliar, the first word that always comes to mind is nostalgia. The village is filled with mom & pop shops rather than chain restaurants. One place at the beach that is the epitome of nostalgia is Eddie’s Restaurant and this weekend, they’ll celebrate their 85th anniversary with tons of family-friendly activities!
Before we dive into the celebrations, let’s learn a little about the history of this staple restaurant. According to Eddie’s website, it all started in 1934 with a hot dog stand and Eddie Stewart Sr.’s desire to take in the sunshine and be near the water. Together with his wife (and co-founder) Fifi, they chose a location dear to their hearts on the shores of beautiful Oneida Lake. Over time, this eight-stool stand drew in loyal (and famous) customers and clientele grew. Genuine hospitality and culinary delights have and continue to make Eddie’s an integral part of the Sylvan experience. Even today, longtime customers return for that same experience, often with their children and grandchildren.
While Eddie’s had been known for their hotdogs, there was also the birth of the signature dish, the “Original Hot Ham Sandwich.” Legend has it that this happened by accident on a summer day when Eddie Sr. ran out of hot dogs. Knowing he had to feed the hungry tourists something, Eddie whipped up one of he and Fifi’s favorites, grilled capicola ham on a seeded roll. Eddie Sr. said the people fell in love with the hot ham sandwich and kept coming back for more.
In its heyday, the big band sounds of Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington could be heard from the popular nightclub. Back then, a relatively unknown singer named Frank Sinatra patronized Eddie’s. After performing, he’d purchase a nickel candy bar and sit curbside while watching traffic on Main Street. Louis Prima spent one afternoon cooking his own spaghetti and serenading Fifi. Other legendary icons who have passed through the doors include Nat King Cole, Liza Minnelli and The Dorsey Brothers.
Eddie’s is a tradition behind the counter too. Employees both past and present are better known as members of the family and some have been working there for over a decade. Today, the legacy is still being carried on by Eddie Jr., his wife Leslie, grandson Rick and several grandchildren. While much has changed at Sylvan Beach over the years, Eddie’s has remained a constant. Maybe it’s the homemade cream pies, seafood, Italian specials or the Original Hot Ham Sandwich. It could also be the friendly staff and the nostalgic reminders of a simpler time. Whatever it is, the Stewart family hopes you can visit. And if there’s ever a time to stop by, it’s this weekend as they celebrate their 85th anniversary!
On Saturday, August 17 and Sunday, August 18, Eddie’s will spend the day celebrating. From 4-6pm each day, there will be tons of yard games for kids and adults. They’ll be offering specials for $0.85 like hot dogs, ice cream sandwiches and mini hot hams. There will be a magic man, live music, henna and glitter artists, cake and a whole family-friendly style festival. Whatever your age, we encourage you to visit this incredible restaurant and take a step back in time. Enjoy the hospitality, great food and good vibes! And a huge congratulations to our friends at Eddie’s Restaurant, we wish you 85+ more years of success!