The History of Petta’s

The American Dream

In 1951 Felix Petta and his third wife Caroline opened a post-war little Italian restaurant on Duane Avenue in the City of Schenectady.

about family

Immigration

Felix’s father came over from Italy just after the turn of the century. He got a job as a gardener for General Electric and quickly sent for his wife and three children. The boys, Felix and his brother Joseph came immediately, while their sister, Lucille, stayed in Italy with her husband, Angelo.

Felix’s Story

When WWI broke out, Felix served for the United States. After the war, his sister and husband immigrated to the US and settled in Schenectady. Felix, feeling ready to marry, asked his sister if she knew any nice girls. She told Felix of her friend, Maria, in Italy. Felix and Maria corresponded by mail for a while and decided to get married. Felix had to go down to NYC, onto the boat, and get married by the captain, as she would not be able to enter the US unless she was married to a citizen. They eventually had another more intimate ceremony at St. Anthony’s in Schenectady.
Their first child was a boy, Michael. A few years later, Maria was again with child. Their son Peter was born in 1924. Tragically, Maria died within months from complications of childbirth. About a year later, the eldest son Michael died at the age of 7, leaving Felix and his second son Pete alone. Felix eventually remarried Lucy who also died young.

Peter’s Story

When WWII broke out, Felix’s remaining and courageous son Peter lied about his age and went to war for the US at the age of 15. He returned a war hero, bearing a collection of medals including the Purple Heart.
Peter met a freckled faced Irish/French Canadian beauty named Mary Elizabeth “Betty” for short. Soon their first son, Michael (named after his father’s deceased older brother), was born.
Before long, Pete and Betty had a family of 6, son, Mike and three daughters: Lynn, Kathy, and Terri. Peter worked full time as a bartender at the restaurant while selling cars part-time. Friends and family laughingly remember that many of those cars were sold over the bar.

The Restaurant

Michael was born in 1951, the same year his Grandfather Felix and his third wife Caroline opened the restaurant, then called “Petta’s Kitchen”, on the property across the street from their house on the location of the old horse barn for Canali’s Bakery delivery carriages.
The family business was a success and soon a banquet room addition was built. Soon after, Caroline died, but not before many memorable parties enjoyed her homemade wine, charming good humor and generosity.

Michael and Sisters Lynn, Kathy and Terri

Michael, started keeping books for the restaurant when he was 12 and then studied at Lemoyne; graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business in 1973. During college, he came home every weekend to help his father run the restaurant as his grandfather Felix had died in 1971.

Eventually Pete retired and Mike and his sisters took over the restaurant. Mike’s education proved invaluable, as he made many changes over the years, with his sisters’ confidence, which allowed the restaurant to evolve and change with the changing needs of customers.

Mike has managed the restaurant since college and his sisters have worked at the restaurant most of their adult lives. Lynn waitressed for years, and now works as head bartender and banquet manager. She also makes our incredible blue cheese dressing. Terri bakes our delicious desserts and also waitresses and works parties. Try her incredible fresh cheesecakes, chocolate caramel cake or tiramisu!

Neighborhood Changes

Schenectady’s economic condition declined in the 1990’s and the area around Petta’s changed drastically from a thriving, working class neighborhood, consisting of families who owed their fortune to General Electric to a depressed neighborhood challenged with troubled youth, drug dealers, and many vacant houses. Mike purchased as many of the properties around the restaurant as possible, renovated them and tried to rent most of the apartments to employees or families of employees. Not wanting to be a landlord, Mike became one out of the necessity to control what happened around the restaurant. This revitalization strategy was recognized by the Capital District Business Review.
Mike also started a daily routine of sweeping the street garbage off the streets of the 5 blocks around the restaurant, which was recognized by Times Union writer Marv Cermack.

Today

As a result of Mike’s proactive community involvement, he was asked to run for public office, and in 1999 was elected to City Council. After a four year term, he ran for County Legislator, won, and was reelected unopposed to a second term.
The restaurant is over  60 years old this year. Mike and his sisters still run the family business with the help of spouses and several wait-staff and cooks who have been with the Petta Family for over 25 years. One special lady, Esther Hogan , has worked in the kitchen for over 40 years, and has just recently retired!!

Our Banquets List

event banquets

Petta’s Banquet Menu*

Seven days a week. Night-time parties for 8-80 people. Daytime events for 30 – 175 people. Weddings, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Showers, Funerals, Graduations, Business Conferences. Huge well lit parking for 140 plus cars.
* Call for exceptions.
banquets menu

Dinner Entrees

Chicken Parmigiana, Veal Cutlet Parmigiana, Broiled Fresh Haddock – $19.95
Shrimp Scampi or New York Strip Sirloin – $24.95
(Dinners include tossed salad, zita, roast potatoes and vegetable, coffee and dessert)

Deluxe Italian Hot Buffet

Includes Roasted Chicken and Roasted Potatoes, Sausages and Peppers,
Eggplant Parmigiana, Zita and Meatballs, Tossed Salad, Coffee and Dessert
$14.95 per person (Evenings and Weekends)
$12.95 per person (Monday to Friday Lunch)

Economy Buffet

Includes Zita and Meatballs, Sausages and Peppers, Eggplant Parmigiana, Salad, Coffee and Dessert
$12.95 per person (evenings and weekends)
$10.95 per person (Monday – Friday lunch)

Optional Buffet Items

Chicken: Parmigiana, Marsala, Francais, Oreganata – $1.95 ppn.
Veal: Parmigiana, Marsala, Francais, Oreganata – 2.95 ppn.
Bowties or Tortellini with vodka or alfredo sauce – $1.95 ppn.

Appetizers

$4.95 ppnOffering a generous assortment of hot and cold finger foods
($9.95 when served without meal)
(Includes mozzarella sticks, garlic bread, sausages and peppers, chicken wings, cheese block and large fresh fruit bowl.)
$3.95 ppn – Cheese Block, Chicken Wings, pepperoni and cracker assortment

Unlimited Beer, Wine and Soda

$3.95 ppn. per hour

Totally Open Bar

First hour – $7.95 ppn.
Second hour – $5.95 ppn.
Each additional hour – $5.00 ppn.

Cash Bar Prices

Beer – $8.95 per pitcher
Wine – $11.95 per carafe
Soda – $5.95 per pitcher
Wine Toast – $2.95 ppn.
Champagne Toast – $3.95
Fruit Punch – $30.00 per Gallon
Wine Punch – $40.00 per Gallon
Sours or Daiquiris – $60 per Gallon


Homemade Cuisine

All sautés, pasta, steak, and seafood dishes cooked to order. We age and cut our steaks on premises. Pound and bread all veal and chicken cutlets from scratch using our own bread crumbs.
home made cousine

Our famous Italian Bread, desserts and choice of two soups are homemade everyday. We also offer our own blue cheese dressing, croutons, family secret eggplant, cavatelli, meatballs, lasagna, Italian sauce and salad dressing.
this food is delicious and the portions sizes are great as well, along with the staff they are very nice.

Hours and Take-out

Open for dinner daily 7 nights a week 4-9pm. Open during the day for parties only. Full menu available for take-out. Banquet menu available for take-out day or night.

Testimonials From Rewards Network and Passport Card members

“Food and Service were wonderful. Our family reunion was a great success and everyone (all 52 of us) had a good time.”   8/27/14

“Great food, Friendly Staff, the homemade bread is awesome!!”    6/12/14
“Always enjoy meals @ Petta’s – Great Bread, reasonable wine prices and great dinner specials!”  3/3/14
“never a disappointment- superior food, attractively priced and served by an attentive Staff”.  1/22/14
Great Food, Great Service”  12/10/13
“We enjoyed our meal, in Quality & Quantity.  The service was excellent, and the servers were very, very pleasant!” 10/25/13
“Love the Dinner Specials and the desserts!!”  9/24/13

“Awesome wait staff! Food was YUMMY, always a great value” 9/17/13

“Excellent food, loved the homemade bread and blue cheese salad dressing” 9/10/12

“Reminded me of the quality service and attention that was once expected in all family dining establishments” 9/7/12
“the food is delicious and the portions sizes are great as well, along with the staff,  they are very nice.”  9/3/11

“We love Petta’s. Been our family’s favorite for many years…please don’t change a thing!! 9/1/11

“The food, service, and the fact that year after year, not much changes with Petta’s (that is a good thing!) 8/27/11

“Would love it if you had a sandwhich menu (or smaller portions) so I could have room for dessert! 8/20/11
“I have always had a wonderful dining experience. The food – all the pasta dishes- and the service has been great each and every time.” 8/13/11


Petta’s Dinner Menu

Appetizers

Zuppa di Clams                                       $11.95
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail                            $11.95
Homemade Fried Calamari Rings               $9.95
Antipasto for two                                     $11.95
Pasta Fagiola                                           $7.95
Mozzarella Sticks                                     $7.95
Shrimp Scampi                                       $11.95
Chicken Wings                                         $7.95
One Dozen Steamed Clams                      $9.95
Mussels Fra Diablo                                 $11.95
Greens and Beans                                    $7.95
Roasted Peppers                                      $7.95

Pasta

Served with Soup or Salad with choice of Italian, Peppercorn Parm, Russian dressings; Homemade Blue Cheese – $1.00 extra. Meatballs, sausage, mushrooms, or anchovies -$3.00 extra
Pasta With Sauce or Butter …………………………………… $11.95
Zita, linguine, angel hair, or cavatelliBaked Lasagna …………………………………………………… $14.95Greens and Beans ………………………………………… ……. $13.95

Fresh Clams Served Over Pasta ………………………………..$22.95
With Red or White sauce

Baked Zita Parmigiana ………………………………………….. $13.95

Eggplant Parmigiana ………………………………………………$17.95

Cheese Ravioli ………………………………………………………$13.95

Pasta Fagiola ……………………………………………………….$13.95

Zuppa di Clams Dinner ……………………………………………$22.95

Jumbo Shrimp Served Over Pasta ……………………………. $24.95
With Red or White sauce

eating menu

Steaks and Chops

Served with soup or salad and a choice of pasta or potato and vegetable.
Broiled Thick Center Cut Pork Chops (2)……………………….$22.95
served with applesauce                       (1)……………………….$17.95Broiled Filet Mignon ….(10 oz)………………………………………$29.95
served with burgundy mushroom sauceBroiled or Sizzling USDA Choice New York Strip Steak
8oz……………………………………………………………………….$19.95
12 oz. …………………………………………………………………..$24.95
16 oz. …………………………………………………………………..$29.95

Chicken

Served with soup or salad and a choice of pasta or potato and vegetable.

Chicken Parmigiana…………………………………………….$17.95

Chicken Sorrentino ……………………………………………..$17.95
chicken with layered eggplant parmigiana

Chicken Oreganata ……………………………………………..$19.95
sauteed w/ mushrooms & italian seasonings, finished
with demi-glace & sherry

Chicken Marsala………………………………………………….$19.95
sauteed w/ mushrooms, finished with demi-glace

and Marsala wine

Chicken Michael …………………………………………………$17.95
sweet roasted peppers, mozzarella cheese, and garlic butter

Chicken Cacciatora ……………………………………………..$17.95
sauteed w/ tomato filets, onions , mushrooms and peppers

Veal

Served with soup or salad and a choice of pasta or potato and vegetable.
Veal Cutlet Parmigiana ………………………………………….. $19.95Veal Cutlet Michael ………………………………………………. $19.95
Sweet roasted peppers, mozzarella and garlic butterVeal Cutlet Sorrentino …………………………………………… $19.95
veal cutlet layered wth eggplant parmigiana

Veal Oreganata ……………………………………………………. $21.95
medallions of veal, egg-washed & sauteed w/ mushrooms

and italian seasonings, finished with sherry
Veal Marsala…………………………………………………………$21.95
medallions of veal sauteed with mushrooms and
marsala wine, finished with demi-glace

Seafood

Served with soup or salad and a choice of pasta or potato and vegetable.

Broiled Fresh Haddock ………………………………………………. $19.95

Deep Fried Shrimp ……………………….                        ……… $22.95

Calamari …………………………………………………… …………… $22.95
Squid sauteed in marinara sauce or garlic butter

Frogs Legs ……………………………………………………………… $24.95
Sauteed with butter, garlic and chablis

One Ten Ounce Lobster Tail ……………………………………….. $29.95

Haddock Cacciatora ….$22.95 or     Shrimp Cacciatora …….. $24.95
In marinara sauce with peppers, onions and mushrooms

Golden Fillets of Fresh Sole …………………………………………$19.95

Broiled or Blackened  Salmon …………………………………….. $22.95

Broiled Fresh Sea Scallops ………………………………………… $24.95

Shrimp Scampi ……………………………………………………….. $24.95

Surf and Turf …………………………………………………………… $42.95

Children’s Menu

For children under 12.

Zita with Meatballs ………………………………………………….. $8.95

Chicken Fingers with French Fries ………………………………. $8.95

Ravioli or Baked Manicotti……………        ……………………… $8.95

Beverages

Coffees  Teas  Milk (by the glass or pitcher)  Mineral Water  Quality Beers (Bottled or Draft by the glass or pitcher)  Fine Wines…