Niagara Gazette

December 2, 2013

IN BUSINESS: The Topper celebrates first anniversary

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Some people placed bets last year that The Topper wouldn’t survive. 

“The bookies took bets on it. I know it for a fact,” said Carl DeFranco, owner of the restaurant and nightclub at 19th and Ferry. “I know people that bet against me.”

DeFranco is delighted to report that his business is alive and well, and celebrated its first birthday in November.

“I think that we have gone a long way in demonstrating that it is OK to come to a great and historic neighborhood,” he said. “The burden of negative perception is borne by locals, and people who used to live here. In reality, to think that things happen in someone else’s neighborhoods, that don’t happen in yours, is silly.”

DeFranco said The Topper has guests from as far away as Pennsylvania and well north of Toronto, who come to enjoy his casual, yet upscale menu and live music or comedy each night, from Wednesday through Saturday.

“The Topper enjoys a great return rate, meaning that when a customer comes to experience our food, shows and service, they come back,” he said. “That tells us that something is going very right.”

The Topper is planning to expand their menu of traditional favorites of steak, pasta and seafood, with a Asian flavor that includes specialties from Korea. “These dishes are voted as among some of the most delicious and healthy foods in the world,” he added. “And we have a world class Korean foods preparer in the family, my wife Judy.”

When DeFranco re-opened The Topper, which originally opened on 19th Street in 1926, he renovated the nightclub but left a little evidence of each decade for those who come in today for dinner and a show. “I would describe it as eclectic,” he said of his night club. “There’s something for everybody. We have everything from a piano bar to national acts.”

Those who visit The Topper website at, can receive regular email updates about the entertainment schedule, he said.  

Burnett named head of Memorial osteopathic program

Jeffrey O. Burnett, D.O., has accepted a permanent appointment as director of the Osteopathic Family Practice Residency Program at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

A board-certified primary care physician, Dr. Burnett joined the residency program’s faculty in July 2012 and has served as director-elect since March of this year. 

“Dr. Burnett has impressed us with his knowledge and ability to train family practice physicians,” said Memorial Vice President for Service Line Operations Sanjay Chadha. “We are excited to have him as our permanent residency program director.”

Dr. Burnett is a graduate of Canisius College and the University of New England School of Osteopathic Medicine. He is a clinical assistant professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he was honored as the 2011 Family Medicine Preceptor of the Year, has been in private practice since 2003 and has served on the medical staff at Lifetime Urgent Care since 2004. 

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, the only teaching hospital in Niagara County, is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association and the American College of Osteopathic Family Practice as an Osteopathic Family Practice Residency Program site.