Niagara Gazette


January 1, 2013

Esther Pane, co-founder of Pane's Restaurant, dies at 88

Niagara Gazette — At the hostess stand at Pane’s Restaurant, Esther Pane’s photograph smiles at diners who enter the North Tonawanda institution, a memorial to a legacy that touched many lives in the community — and a continuing presence at the restaurant that extends beyond her picture.

Esther Pane died Thursday at age 88 at the Cleveland Clinic, said Jim Pane, one of her seven children and the current restaurant proprietor.

“She made so many friends at the restaurant over the years,” he said. “People are coming into the restaurant with stories; some are crying. A lot of people still know her.”

The former Esther Paone was born March 7, 1924, in Conflenti, Italy, emigrating with her family to the United States in 1932, when she was 7. The family came through Ellis Island and settled in Lockport. She eventually married Peter Pane Jr. and moved to North Tonawanda, where they started the restaurant on Payne Avenue in 1959.

“When they decided to open an restaurant, they worked at steel factories, my father and grandfather,” Jim Pane said. “They came down to opening a mechanic shop or a restaurant. My mom had the final say. She wanted a kind of business where she could help. She didn’t think she’d be able to at a mechanic shop.”

Peter Pane Jr. died in 1988 after 47 years of marriage. Esther Pane worked full time at the restaurant until the early 1990s, but continued to be a presence there — a legacy that continues on the menu, Jim Pane said.

“Just about all of our basic recipes that we have today are hers — her sauces, her dressings, her soups,” he said, adding that his mother loved to cook and entertain and garden. He was recently looking at old photographs and found a picture of his own first birthday cake, an elaborate carousel that his mother had constructed.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page