Sisters Restaurant

Ken and Tina Larsen
Ken and Tina Larsen

Article Contributed by
Mallery Rockwell

Sisters Restaurant was first recognized as the Enterprise Drive-in in 1955, before sisters Esther Little and Jane Spiesman turned it into the successful family-oriented diner that they owned for 13 years. John (Ken) Larsen took ownership of the restaurant in May 2017, located on 3218 Falconer-Kimball Stand Road in Falconer. Larsen and the sisters had a ‘turned-key’ transaction in June, so the restaurant could be easily handed over to Larsen without having to close it down. “They were very helpful in making the transfer as smooth as it was,” Larsen said. “They did a fantastic job building the restaurant up.”

The historic building was once a concession stand where the movies were shown. A small square opening carved into the wood on the wall shows where the projector was laid to cast movies onto the screen in the back of the field. “It’s kind of historical,” Larsen said. “A lot of people will come in and say they came here as a little kid or met their first date here.”

Original speakers and a poster of the first movie to ever play at the drive-in, the Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters, keep memories of the past alive. Larsen plans to paint the building to make it red, white and blue themed, with stenciled white stars showing through the front window.

Sisters and Brothers
Ken’s wife, Tina Larsen, helps operate the restaurant. Ken’s sons, Noah Larsen and Tayvor Brisson often play live music with him at the restaurant. These talented pre-teens fill the room with sweet tunes from their guitars and keyboard. The music schedule varies depending on their availability, but they often play on weekends. While playing at nursing homes last summer, the captain of the Chautauqua Belle heard the crew playing and invited them to bring their musical talent to the ship. After their performance, the boys were thrilled when the captain asked them to play there every Sunday for the entire summer. They are even booked to play next year.

Larsen has ten children and stepchildren. While Sisters Restaurant is the official name, the title ‘Sisters and Brothers’ has been worked into the restaurant. When Larsen told his children he was going to open the restaurant, the brothers were enthusiastic but questioned why the brothers weren’t included in the name. Pictures of his daughters decorated the menu, so Larsen made Sisters and Brothers the name of the dinner menu and included pictures of the boys.

Larsen owned and operated Rooney’s restaurant in Fredonia for six years and leased the restaurant for another 20 years; he also worked at the Jamestown Airport restaurant before taking on the Sisters Restaurant. Larsen has been involved in many types of food service including fine dining, delicatessen and catering.

His passion for the restaurant scene stemmed from his Danish father, John Larsen. When the ceremony of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender took place, John was cooking meals for General Douglas MacArthur. He then came to NYC to open up a deli and managed the Copenhagen, a very popular restaurant in the 60s.

Big Plans for the Future
“Out of all of my three restaurants this is the most exciting,” Larsen said. “Things are happening where I’m going in a direction but it doesn’t mean I’m going to get to the end result because something will take me somewhere else. I’m really excited about it.” While nothing is set in stone, Larsen has big plans for the ten acres of Sisters Restaurant. He wants to bulldoze some of the trees to open up space for viewing the screen that was once used for drive-in movies, and possibly display pictures or events.

“There’s never a dull moment,” Larsen said. “Each restaurant has its own idiosyncrasies. Each have certain things that will evolve and you just don’t know what’s going to happen.” Larsen hopes to plant fruit trees and harvest fruit that will last throughout the change in seasons, like apples, pears and plums.

They currently grow fresh dill, thyme, basil and rhubarb plants. Larsen also plans to grow milkweed for the monarch butterflies. In the backfield, he has experimented growing blueberries and envisions planting 50 to 100 more blueberry plants alongside the fruit trees. He has plans to build a deck off the back of the restaurant, allowing space for customers to enjoy the outdoors.

Order up
Sisters Restaurant serves breakfast and lunch Sunday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and dinner is served Friday nights from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Breakfast is served all day, and dinners include a delicious fish fry along with other changing specials. Under the new ownership, Larsen has introduced crepes, quiches and homemade Danishes. Larsen’s father handed down the Danish recipe.

“Cooking food and seeing people enjoy it is the number one thing,” Larsen said. “When I see the joy in their faces of something that we made then that says it all.” All of the dishes are homemade, and breakfast and lunch specials are offered throughout the week. Some of the lunch specials include burgers, Cuban sandwiches, Monte Cristo sandwiches, Chicken patty sandwiches, and soups.

One dish that’s a crowd favorite is called the ‘skillet.’ This mouthwatering dish is made with home fries, and customers have the choice of putting any kind of meat or cheese inside. Eggs are placed on top of the fries and gooey cheese tops off the breakfast masterpiece.

Sisters Restaurant is open Sunday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner is served Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Visit Sisters Restaurant on Facebook or call (716) 487-3278 for more information.

The Jamestown Gazette is proud to recognize our dealers, outstanding corporate citizens of our county. This week, the Gazette especially thanks Sisters Restaurant for faithfully carrying The Jamestown Gazette, The People’s Paper, for the benefit of their customers, our readers.