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Menu and History of Binole’s Restaurant

August 7, 2019


Remembering Binole’s Restaurant of Blanford, Indiana (Menu Included)


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Binole’s Restaurant was a highly successful and well-known business at the intersection of Indiana Highway 71 and the “Blanford Cut-off Road” (originally named “Grand Avenue on very early maps of the area).  Fortunately for me, the owners of this Italian restaurant were my aunt and uncle; additionally, my mother, besides being postmaster of our small town, worked at the restaurant on Saturday evenings and other special times to help her sister with the cooking.  Thus, this restaurant was an important part of my growing-up years.  Since both of my parents worked full-time, I spent a great deal of time with my Aunt Zita and developed a child’s and then a teen’s perspective on the family restaurant business and my aunt’s ability to manage the restaurant with unbelievable expertise and calmness.


Early in the 1940s, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Binole began a small sandwich shop, which did not focus on Italian cuisine.  This little business developed into the larger restaurant and bar, the menu for which I will include in this blog post.  Through more than one decade, my uncle and aunt continued to build a loyal customer base from a radius of at least 90 miles.  Then, sadly, in 1955, my Uncle Bill passed away at a much-too-young age.  Despite the tragic loss of her husband, my Aunt Zita, with two sons to raise alone, continued with the restaurant business for approximately fifteen years.  Although I will write more in next week’s blog post about the other people who worked at the restaurant, I will note here that Aunt Zita’s sons, Bill and Donald, helped at the restaurant in a variety of ways for many years.


In my mind’s eye, I can picture the restaurant building so clearly.  The east side of the main (and largest) room of the restaurant included a long, solid oak bar with cushioned bar stools, as well as tables of varying sizes to seat a total of about one hundred customers.  The front of this room, which faced south-south/west, had an entry way at the left, as one was looking outside) while the remainder of the front included a few huge windows.  A large, solid oak, round table was in the front left corner, with other such round tables along the front windows.  Near the bar were two smaller rectangular tables, each of which could seat four diners.  Along the west wall and jutting out toward the bar were three long rectangular tables of a sturdy, more contemporary variety.  At the back of this large “bar room” was a very large rectangular table of a beautiful wood finish; this table, with its matching wooden chairs with wine-colored, upholstered seats was the dining room set of my aunt and uncle; nevertheless, patrons enjoyed having this table for dining.  Opposite this table was a freezer with about six door openings at the top of the freezer; inside the freezer were the ice cream specialties which will be listed later.  In earlier years, ice was also stored in this freezer; in later years, an ice maker was added at the end of the freezer.


To the right of the door which led to the first kitchen was a wall telephone and a stereo for playing LP records of Italian crooners and other popular soft-listening tunes of this era of the 1950s and 1960s.


At the opposite end of the bar and beneath it were refrigerators for beer and soft drinks.  The back of the bar displayed numerous varieties of wines and an old wooden cash register.  Between the right end of the bar and the entryway was a large opening to a hallway which led to the “family rooms”–rooms 1, 2, and 3–as well as to the second kitchen.  The three “family rooms” seated about seventy-five people.


The entire restaurant was in tones of green, beige, and brown; however, the starched and ironed linen tablecloths brightened the atmosphere.  Besides the traditional red-and-white checkered and green-and-white checkered tablecloths, Aunt Zita also used some long all white tablecloths.  At times, Chianti bottles, in each of which was a multi-colored candle, decorated the tables.  The dinnerware was an ivory with a magenta design around the edges.  Beige ceramic bowls held the freshly ground Parmesan cheese while mint green, dark green, or beige ceramic tea pots held the water for the drinkers of hot tea.  (I happily still have one of these tea pots.)For servings family-style, large platters held the delicious Italian veal.  No one made Italian veal like my Aunt Zita’s recipe!  Other platters were adorned with the lovely and rich sauce and pasta.  Frequently, while dining at a restaurant in recent years, I marvel how the size of a plate on which my abundant meal is presented is the size of the platter which once happily served four or more at my aunt’s restaurant.


Although I have much more to remember about Binole’s Restaurant, I will now share with you a menu of my Aunt Zita’s restaurant.  Among my keepsakes is one menu from Binole’s Restaurant.  The plastic menu , when opened has a hard plastic pocket on both sides.  Inside each pocket was placed a piece of paper with the typewritten bill of fare.  I do recall my mother typing these menus for her older sister; however, I believe that I typed one of the last menus for my aunt.  My recollection is that this menu may have been one of the last ones of the very late 1960s or very early 1970s.  Pay attention to the very low prices while your mouth is watering and your appetite is increasing for the wonderful Italian food.


A Menu from Binole’s Restaurant (circa 1969)



“Welcome to Binole’s!”


* Family-style Dinners


Spaghetti, veal, salad:  $2.35

Spaghetti, meat balls, salad:  $1.85

Ravioli, veal, salad:  $2.35

Ravioli, meat balls, salad:  $2.25


* Plate Dinners


Spaghetti, veal, salad:  $1.85

Spaghetti, meat balls, salad:  $1.75

Ravioli, veal, salad:  $2.25

Ravioli, meat balls, salad:  $2.00


*  A La Carte


Spaghetti/half order:  $1.00

Mushroom sauce (extra, per order):  $0.25

Ravioli:  $1.25

Ravioli/half order:  $1.00

T-bone steak (choice beef):  $3.00 and up

French fries:  $0.25

Garlic bread:  $0.15


* Vegetables (plain or seasoned)


Green beans:  $0.30

Spinach:  $0.30

Asparagus:  $0.30

Peas:  $0.30

Combination salad with choice of dressing (Italian, Roquefort, blue cheese, Thousand Island, French, or Miracle Whip):  $0.25

Anchovies (extra):  $0.25

Cottage cheese:  $0.25

Sliced tomatoes:  $0.25


* Desserts


Spumoni (our specialty):  $0.25

Vanilla or chocolate ice cream:  $0.10

Sherbet (lime, lemon, orange, pineapple, or raspberry):  $0.10

Peaches:  $0.25


* Beverages


Coffee:  $0.10

Hot tea:  $0.10

Milk:  $0.10

Chocolate milk:  $0.10

Coke, Pepsi, 7-Up, Orange, Grape:  $0.10

Iced tea:  $0.15

Lemonade:  $0.15

Beer:  $0.35

Wines, by bottle or glass (sweet or dry)


* Carry-out


Spaghetti sauce (pint, quart, gallon–also packed in freezer container)

Spaghetti, veal, meat balls

Breadsticks, bread, grated cheese


NOTE:  Although not listed on this menu, all meals were served with fresh Italian bread and breadsticks, with butter.


WORDWALK NOTE:  Special thanks to my Leader Dog Willow for substituting for me for the past two weeks!  I hope you did not miss her postings on July 24 and July 31.  (If you did, just keep reading.)

Please return to WORDWALK next Wednesday for more remembrances of my Aunt Zita’s restaurant.


Enjoy the fresh foods of summer!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


August 7, 2019, Wednesday



From → Uncategorized

  1. Dear Alice,
    If anyone knew where Blanford, Indiana was located, they oftentimes knew it because of Binole’s Restaurant! Aunt Zita and Uncle Bill put our little town on the map. Not only did this first-generation Italian couple make the most delicious spaghetti and veal imaginable, but they also created the most welcoming atmosphere where customers would truly “Meet their friends at Binole’s.” Among those friends were surely Uncle Bill and Aunt Zita! Their gracious hospitality—whether from their Italian or Hoosier roots—was apparent during every business hour and beyond. Aunt Zita’s confidence and courage to continue the restaurant after Uncle Bill’s passing is admirable in any age, but particularly in her generation. I am especially honored to have this remarkable woman as my Godmother.

    Looking forward to your future posts about the famous Binole’s Restaurant!
    Love to you and Willow,

    • Mary–Thanks for adding your thoughts on this “family” post.  I anticipated a short introduction to the sharing of the old menu; however, the introduction stretched to about 925 words.  Of course, I had more to share; so, I hope to continue in next week’s blog post.  When Aunt Zita was still living, I wish someone had written a book about her life–with her as collaborator.

      Enjoy some spaghetti soon!

      Alice and Willow

  2. Susan M McKendry permalink

    Alice–Nice to read about this restaurant with all the details, including the menu. I’m pretty sure in the past I mentioned I also had an Aunt Zita, although she was an aunt by her marriage to my Uncle Jack. She couldn’t have been more different than my mother’s sisters who were dark-haired and outgoing while Zita was fair-haired and shy and quiet, a very sweet woman. Once again, after reading your blog, I’m hungry!–Sue

    • Hi, Sue–How nice to hear a little about your Aunt Zita also! Thanks for your comment.  Writing this blog post also made me hungry for many of the items on the menu.

      Take care!

      Alice and Willow

  3. Carole permalink

    Ahhh! My mouth is truly watering at the thought of Aunt Zita’s spaghetti and veal! There is no comparison literally in the world to the food that was served in the restaurant!

    I was told that the recipe actually came from Grandma Binole, whom I remember was always busy in the second kitchen preparing the salad, using large containers of olive oil. I believe there was also a second stove on which additional skillets of veal were fried.

    Thanks so much for sharing the menu, of which I had long forgotten, What a bargain!

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