Brunswick staple Duncan's celebrates 80 years in business

May 29, 2019 05:48 PM

BRUNSWICK – Eleven years before that ubiquitous national donut and coffee chain with the "DD" logo began, another spot sprouted up in Rensselaer County – Duncan’s Dairy Bar on Route 7.

"I can't believe it's been 80 years," said owner John Squadrito. "You just get up in the morning and go to work every day and just, each day just runs into another."

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Duncan's opened in 1939 by John and Ruth Duncan as an ice cream spot. He was a salesman for Virginia Dare Extract, Inc. He made the ice cream and Ruth did the baking. In the early 1950s, they added offerings and expanded the menu each year.

"It's like a member of the family," said Margaret Wagar, daughter of John and Ruth. "You just, you're here most every day except for two months in the winter time. So it is family. Everybody that comes in is family."

Open 42 weeks a year, there’s a little something for everyone. Breakfast may be the specialty but there's a lot more including lunch, dinner, baked goods and their famous strawberry (April-July) and peach (August) shortcake. It’s all made from scratch.

"Two, three, four generations of families coming in here," said Squadrito. "It's actually an honor. We have a good customer base and very dedicated employees."

On the wall are pictures of the founders plus Baseball Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto and Kitty Carlisle Hart who would stop in on her way to the Berkshires.

"We bake everything here from muffins, cinnamon buns, donuts, pies, breads and all our desserts are made here. We just do everything here…

"We roast our own turkeys, they're fresh and with the bones, nothing in the bag. They're the real deal and we sell a lot of turkey sandwiches and hot turkey sandwiches."

The actual opening day was May 19, 1939. Ironically, Squadrito married Julie on May 19, 1990. Eventually, the restaurant will go to their two kids.

"It's like going to your grandmother's house back in the day and just eating at her house," said Squadrito.


WNYT Staff

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