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Family Tradition

Lanzis agree ‘hard work’ crucial to success

March 21, 2010
By JOEL DiTATA, The Leader-Herald

The Lanzi family has kept one key ingredient since the 1920s - hard work.

That approach has carried three generations of Lanzis to success in the restaurant business.

Lanzi's on the Lake in Mayfield, Sport Island Pub in Northville and the newly acquired Partner's Pub in Johnstown all are owned and managed by the third generation of the Lanzi family.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Joel DiTata

Lou Lanzi pours a drink for patrons on St. Patrick’s Day at Partner’s Pub in Johnstown, the Lanzi Group’s latest venture.

The tradition began with Luigi Lanzi when he came to the United States from Rome in the 1920s. He began his career in America as a railroad worker and in the carpet mills. After three years of working two jobs, he opened his own store, a Prohibition-era speakeasy and a banquet house in Amsterdam that included a back room that was used for professional boxing.

Luigi then passed on the torch to his son, Lorenzo, in the 1950s, who opened Lorenzo's in Amsterdam, where he put his five boys and four girls to work mopping floors, peeling potatoes and washing dishes.

Those five boys - Anthony, Chris, Joe, Larry and Lou - have carried on into the restaurant business.

"This is pretty much in our blood," Joe Lanzi said.

The brothers now manage the three restaurants across Fulton County.

Lanzi's on the Lake features high ceilings and natural wood, which add a casual lakeside touch to the decor, which also boasts a stone fireplace and a back wall lined with windows. The Lanzi group purchased the property in 1997.

The outdoor deck, which seats 135, has a view of the Great Sacandaga Lake, which holds the key to many facets of Lanzi's business.

Daily in the summer, Lanzi's provides a quick route to dining for vacationers. The warmer weather is natural for such events and the restaurant sponsors a reggae festival, a home-brewed chili cookoff, and beach parties that feature local radio stations and thousands of patrons.

Despite the success the Lanzi family had in Mayfield and Northville, they moved into the southern part of the county last July when they bought Partner's Pub in Johnstown.

"It's just a great neighborhood pub," Lou said.

He said the pub's success has exceeded all expectations.

"People in Johnstown and in Fulton County are just great," Lou said. "We couldn't ask for more."

The Lanzis have been recently were recognized for their family's success. In January, they were presented with the 2009 Chamber Family Award at the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry's annual dinner.

Chamber President Wally Hart said what the Lanzis have done for all of Fulton County is inmeasurable.

"The amount of success they have had says how hard these guys really work," Hart said. "They do such a great job making sure their customers are taken care of."

Not only have the Lanzis had success, but they have created job opportunities for other restaurant workers throughout the 20 years of existence between the three restaurants.

"We don't want awards," Lou Lanzi said. "It's more of a tribute to our parents keeping us all together."

"We really are humble people," Joe Lanzi said. " We just enjoy our customers, the foods, good friends and entertainment."

Although the family has been successful, Lou Lanzi said he doesn't wish restaurant work on the next generation of Lanzis.

"We don't want it for our kids. There's better ways to live than working 16-hour days," Lou Lanzi said. "But they'll probably end up doing it anyways."

Joel DiTata can be reached by e-mail at



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