BINGHAMTON, NY – After 73 years, a pioneer in the world of spiedies is closing its doors.
Sharkey’s on Glenwood Avenue in Binghamton’s First Ward is going out of business at the end of the month.
The iconic eatery claims to have introduced the spiedie sandwich to the world and still serves them in the traditional way, five chunks of meat, pork or chicken, on a single slice of Italian bread.
Started in 1947 by Peter and Victoria Sharak, their sons Robert and Larry took over the business in 1979.
Since their deaths, Robert in 1996 and Larry in 2017, their widows Marie and JoAnn Sharak have been operating the restaurant.
But now they say it’s time to retire.
“We’re looking forward to the freedom but we truly will miss the people and the day-to-day. We will miss it, I know. We think it’s going to be great, but it’s a double-edged sword,” says Marie.
Sharkey’s is also famous for its pizza and its clams, having long used the slogan “The clams you eat tonight, slept in the bay last night.”
Marie and JoAnn say fresh ingredients, a family-friendly atmosphere and a consistent taste is what has been bringing back customers for years.
They take pride in the number of returning Binghamton natives and newcomers that seek them out.
“I have people tell me that they got engaged in here. They met their husbands. A lot of people have a lot of memories because we’ve been here for so many years,” JoAnn said.
The Sharaks says the pandemic has made business challenging and that they had a potential buyer but the deal fell through because banks wouldn’t loan money for a restaurant.
Still, the building, business and secret family recipes remain for sale as a package deal and the sisters-in-law believe that Sharkey’s will live on.
Meanwhile, their final days are this weekend and next.
They’re open 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM tonight, tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday and then next Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with Sunday the 29th being their final day.