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A Tale of Two Topsys

Subject: Topsy's restaurant queens my
From: Jane
Date: 6/1/2019, 10:28 AM

On 5/31/2019 4:27 PM, Jane wrote:
 Hi there.

Love your  website and trying out new recipes.   For comfort food.  Many years ago, 
like 60 and more,  my family used to go to Topsy's on Queens Blvd for fried chicken 
& fritters. Can't find a recipe anywhere. Seems that Topsy's turned into Fontaine's 
and ended up in Massachusetts ?  Can you help ?   Thanks.   Jane

Hi Jane,

I'm going to call this "A Tale of Two Topsys".

There was indeed a Topsy's at 112-01 Queens Blvd in Forest Hills, in Queens, NY. It opened in the 1930s and closed in the 1970s. In the thirties, it was called "Topsy's Cabin", but the "Cabin" part was soon dropped.  I found a few rave memories on message boards for their fried chicken and their corn fritters. However, I could not find any recipes at all for any dishes from Topsy's in Queens. There is a photo of it here: Topsy's in Queens Postcard

There is a discussion about Topsy's corn fritters here: Topsy's Corn Fritters

There was also a restaurant called "Fontaine's Topsy's" (by some) in West Roxbury, MA, and possibly a franchise called "Topsy's" with restaurants in Swansea, MA and a few other places in MA. "Fontaine's" in West Roxbury opened in 1952 and closed in about 2004.  There is a Facebook page for "Fontaine's Topsy's" restaurant here: Facebook

Jane, I read everything that I could find about both restaurants, and there does not appear to be any connection between them. They were not only in different cities, but they had different owners, different chefs, and apparently different recipes. The restaurant in West Roxbury , MA was various called "Topsy's", "Fontaine's", and "Fontaine's Topsy's" by its patrons, but photos of their famous chicken sign say simply "Fontaine's", although the chicken depicted on the sign may have been called "Topsy".  Fontaine's did not appear to have corn fritters on their menu, and their chicken was quite spicy. Perhaps there was a franchise called "Topsy's" in Massachusetts and the Topsy's franchise in West Roxbury, MA was owned by a George Fontaine and therefore was called "Fontaine's Topsy's." There was also a franchise called "Topsy's Chicken Coop" in Lynn, MA in the 1940s and a "Topsy's Chicken Roost" in Boston, MA and a "Topsy's Chicken Shack" on Broadway in NYC in the 1940s. "Topsy's" was apparently a popular name for chicken restaurants. However, I could not find any connection between the Queens, NY restaurant and any of the others except for the name.

There is a "tastes-like " recipe for Fontaine's chicken here: Tastes Like Fontaine's

There is a "tastes-like" recipe for the Swansea, MA "Topsy's" here: Tastes Like Topsy's

I'll post this for reader input.


See also: Fontaine's Topsy's Onion Rings

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