Tonawanda News


March 18, 2009

BUSINESS: Fast Teddy’s changes hands

Two new faces are serving up “the usual” at Fast Teddy’s, a breakfast/lunch joint that has been a staple in the City of Tonawanda since the 1930s.

Since being sold by past owner Angela Snyder in December, the self-proclaimed oldest diner in the Tonawandas has two new owners.

Now at the griddle’s helm are co-owners Santhalingam “Andy” Sabaratnam, 34, and Ranjan “Ron-Jon” Appukkuddy, also 34 — new to business ownership and almost as new to the United States.

“Good sandwich” one customer exclaimed before heading out Tuesday morning.

It was, in fact, common to overhear praise from customers on their way out the door after a meal.

A steady stream of about 10 chattering customers — from infants to senior citizens — ate and talked freely amongst themselves. Many of them are the subjects of the very pictures hanging on the walls.

But in spite of the healthy crowd, long time waitresses Patti Hanes (employed by two previous owners since 1993) and Jenny Kunselman, say there has been a slight decline in the number of customers lately. What’s behind it, though, is debatable — the economy, resistance to change and long-time patrons getting up there in age were all theories bandied around.

“When you have new owners things are going to change,” Hanes said. “Some people just don’t like change. I know one of the guys stays home because he wants to lose weight — but he does that every year,” Hanes said.

And much hasn’t changed at all.

Despite the famous sign above the 221 Main St. cafe, jokingly advertising “cold coffee and lousy food,” The coffee is, as always, hot. The food by some accounts is better than ever.

“People like my food right now, it’s No. 1,” Sabaratnam said.

Appukkuddy, known for his serious expression, joked heartily with Hanes from the open kitchen. For seven years, he was a cook at the Circus Restaurant, located at the Trailways Truckstop in Centreville Md.

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