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Ventura's Restaurant; a venue to remember George Steinbrenner

By By CAROLINE GABLE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Yankee fans gathered Tuesday night at one local spot that has been patronized by some true Yankee legends over the years.

Ventura's Restaurant is a popular family own and run Italian restaurant in East Utica.

Its a place that's popular with Central New Yorkers and The Yankees themselves, who have been known to try the famous Italian fare.

Rufe Ventura is the owner of the restaurant, and he knows two things are in his blood, Italian food and the New York Yankees. He inherited both loves from his father.

"Joe DiMaggio has been here three four times, my buddy Mike Torrez has been here a number of times," says Ventura.

Without the infamous Yankee owner, George Steinbrenner, customers are finding solace where many past Yankees once stood, at the restaurant on Lansing Street.

"Most everybody that came in, remarked about losing the boss, Steinbrenner, and what a great job he did for the Yankee's," Ventura said. "He built it into the greatest franchise in modern sports."

The restaurant was the original sports bar when it first opened 67 years ago. When Yankees win, they raise the roof-top flag. And that flag is lowered following a lose.

The born-and-bred Yankee fan says that Bucky Dent favors the veal chops, and he knows Steinbrenner would have too, had he made it to the restaurant that pays homage to players that have visited by putting their pictures everywhere you look.

"He helped a lot of ball players that were down and out, and he never forgot, he helped a lot of men," said Ventura.

By the sign of the long faces at the bar, watching tributes to the boss, it seems they will never forget him.

Tuesday night the flag on the roof of the restaurant is lowered to half staff, to honor a team and a man that may never be the same in his absence.

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