Lewiston's Apple Granny is known for its fish fry, a wide assortment of sandwiches and a killer bacon cheeseburger basket.
It's also known for history. That is, its promotion of the village's storied past. The restaurant is home of the Historical Association of Lewiston's place mats, which adorn each table. The black-and-white one-sheets offer glimpses into Lewiston's early days, promote upcoming events and make for interesting conversation as guests wait to receive their orders.
On Friday, HAL placed its 1,000,000th mat, and, in the process, paid tribute to a longtime patron.
Around 4 p.m., Jim Brown of Youngstown sat at his regular table, across from the bar, and quickly learned he had found Lewiston's equivalent of Willy Wonka's "Golden Ticket." The special paper, the millionth (!) placement, netted Brown a $25 gift certificate to Apple Granny; a $25 Visa gift card, courtesy of place mat sponsor Niagara's Choice Federal Credit Union; and a bunch of HAL swag, including an 1812 flag, a Tuscarora Heroes coin, bumper stickers; and a vintage Chateau Bay wine bucket.
A joyful Brown, 90, said he was "overwhelmed." He and his buddy, 94-year-old Bill Kresman of Niagara Falls, have dined at Apple Granny for more than 30 years. Many weeks they visit twice, ordering the fish fry or whatever suits their fancy.
HAL has distributed place mats at Apple Granny for eight years. All 30 or so issues are available on the association's website, www.historiclewiston.org. Volunteer Lee Simonson, who pens the place mats, said Apple Granny currently goes through between 10,000 and 12,000 per month.