Submitted content. Written by Kristie Stumpf Rork
CAPE VINCENT, NY — The origin of Telly’s Inn is that of the love story of Fran and Jenny.
Three years ago, Francis Letizia, dipped his toes into the internet pool and waded into the intrepid waters of online dating. His first date was a complete disaster but he stuck with the dating app and opted to meet with a Jenny Webb from Holland Patent, New York.
Francis, a lifelong resident of Camillus, decided to meet Jenny at the Creekside Inn of Verona, a halfway point. But the date almost did not happen. As Fran left Camillus and headed east on 690, he hit a pothole and blew a tire. Taking an off-ramp, he pulled into the nearest repair shop. He was initially assured it would be repaired on the spot but after an hour and a half of waiting, he was told it would not be fixed until the following Monday! He paid the garage $20 for their time and left. Fran drove his car, with a flat tire, back to his home in Camillus, grabbed his
truck and continued his journey to Verona to meet his date. He was not going to be deterred from meeting Ms. Webb.
Their date, despite the chaotic start, was providence. They instantly felt a connection. They talked for hours. They made plans – together.
At that first date, Jenny told Fran that she would be having major back surgery in NYC in the coming months.
A few months passed and while at a follow-up to her back surgery in NYC, dining at Cassa Nonna, Fran professed his love to Jenny. He told her that he did not just love her, he liked her too. He felt that she was truly his partner in everything that they did together.
How does Cape Vincent feature into the Fran and Jenny love story?
Jenny’s father was a traveling barn painter, Irish Traveler, working the entire East Coast. She spent her childhood living in a travel trailer and by age eight was helping her father paint barns. She said her home-base was Utica, New York but they never lived in one place for long, stating she attended 30 schools in total. In the summer months, Cape Vincent was one of the stops on their travels. Jenny has the fondest memories of the area.
Fran, retired from National Grid, also has memories of Cape Vincent, but in a different scope. The Ice Storm of 1998 was the first storm he had ever been assigned. It is a memorable dinner offering to the work crew from a village diner that resonates to this day.
Both Jenny and Fran have experience with real estate. Jenny in sales and Fran with “flipping houses.”
Jenny works for the Property Sisters of the Mohawk Valley, an affiliate of Weichert Realtors. One day visiting the Cape along Mud Bay, they spotted a cottage for sale along Humphrey Lane. They decided to invest in a property in Cape Vincent.
Like their beautiful Old English Bulldog, Miss Courtney, they named the investment on Humphrey Lane, Courtney’s Cottage. During renovations, Fran and Jenny would come into the village for something to eat. The COVID-19 pandemic limited their choices but they found themselves returning to what was The Bad Apple Bin for lunch.
One afternoon, during lunch at The Bin, Jenny asked about a cleaning service for Courtney’s Cottage.
Explaining that they had purchased a property just outside of town, the waitress joked that they should buy The Bin too.
Fran and Jenny knew a classic Italian restaurant was the perfect accompaniment to their love story.
In love with the old-school Italian-styled restaurants found in Utica, Fran and Jenny purchased the restaurant which includes nine motel rooms and began its transformation. It was named, Telly’s Inn, after Fran.
Their friend, Adeline has always called him Telly, after the actor Telly Savalas, and when she saw the restaurant the name seemed most fitting.
The dining room will be styled with class, panache, VIP rooms and a baby grand.
The dinner menu will include Utica staples like Chicken Riggies, Greens and Fried Meatballs. There will also be The Burger – a Telly’s Inn specialty – so secretive that the only thing Fran would divulge is that the bun will have a unique Telly’s grill mark on it. They will also have a full lunch menu available at the bar. They have
partnered with Utica Coffee and Mike Sadallah of Performance Food Services to bring the taste of Utica.
The bar will be furnished to the fullest with six beers on tap, local selections, like Thousand Islands Winery, upper end selections, like Iron Smoke Whiskey from Rochester and, thanks to a friendship with Eric “Senior” Soluri, fully stocked with Full Throttle liquor.
Fran and Jenny feel fortunate to have found each other and to be opening Telly’s Inn. All signs have been positive since they started their journey together and they cannot wait to share it with you. Their mission statement says it all, “Telly’s Inn: where we learn your name, treat you like family and aspire to make you want to come back!”
Telly’s Inn is located at 427 South Market Street in Cape Vincent and will be open for business on December 1st . You can follow them on Facebook, Instagram @tellysinncapevincent and their website is www.tellysinncapevincent.com.