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Canalside Chronicles

The Student News Site of Canalside Chronicles

Canalside Chronicles

The Student News Site of Canalside Chronicles

Canalside Chronicles

A second chance
May 7, 2024

Beloved Brockport restaurant closes


The smell of french fries and sizzling meat. The sound of laughter and classic rock music floating through the air. The sight of customers sharing smiles over garbage plates. This is Jimmy Z’s Plates and Shakes. Jimmy Z’s has been a staple on Brockport’s Main Street, serving the community with a shake and a smile. All of that is ending after 21 years.  

Best known for its take on the Rochester born classic, the garbage plate, Jimmy Z’s has been the spot for local Brockport residents to grab a plate, a shake, and a good time.  

Customers stand in line and wait to order. Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. (Canalside Chronicles/Jennifer D’Angelo)

Karyn Mesiti has been a loyal customer of Jimmy Z’s since its establishment in 2003.  

“I’ve been coming here since it first opened,” Mesiti said. “Forever basically.” 

Mesiti came into Jimmy Z’s in its second to last week of service for one last “Pot of Jimmie’s”, her favorite menu item to order.  

Not only does Mesiti love the restaurant, but she also loves its owner, Jimmy Zivoski.  

“He’s always helping people,” said Mesiti. “He is Brockport.”  

Having been coming to Jimmy Z’s for such a long time, Mesiti has plenty of happy memories, but one stuck out to her the most. 

“Probably Poppy and Jimmy joining us at the table.” Mesiti said.  

After only a few moments of standing in line, both Zisovski’s emerged from the kitchen into the packed dining area. They greeted the customers that have supported them over the years with a firm handshake and an ear-to-ear smile, crouching at booths and tables to speak with their much younger and littler patrons. 

Though the closing of Jimmy Z’s has saddened its many local customers.  

“Very disappointed,” said Mesiti. “But I understand. It’s well-deserved.”  

Like so many others, Mesiti will certainly miss Jimmy Z’s and its two most important aspects the most. 

“The food and the people.” Mesiti said. 

Having been a customer over the course of Jimmy Z’s decades long run, Mesiti has seen firsthand the diligence and dedication of the Zivoski’s to not only the restaurant, but the community as well.  

Tom and Jon Ryan have been taking up a worn corner booth at Jimmy Z’s for fifteen years. The two came in to show their support for Jimmy Z’s one last time during its final days of service.  

Both have the same favorite item off the menu: the garbage plate. 

“The plate meshes beautifully.” said Tom Ryan. 

Tom and Jon Ryan spoke of their most favorite memories at Jimmy Z’s. 

“Finishing one full plate.” Tom Ryan said. 

Jimmy Z’s has been known for their generous portions and fair prices, finishing one of their plates is quite a feat. 

“Coming in after sports.” said Jon Ryan. 

Concerning the closing, both customers were very open about their feelings of unhappiness. 

“Not good.” Tom Ryan said. 

“It’s unfortunate,” said Jon Ryan. “I know a lot of people here.” 

To the people of Brockport, Jimmy Z’s has not been just a restaurant, it was its very own community that fostered meaningful relationships.  

Tom Ryan spoke highly of the environment Jimmy Z’s has created over the past 21 years.  

“I went to a place in Batavia like this, but it just wasn’t the same.” Tom Ryan said. “This place has personality.”  

Framed pictures of autographs from celebrities made out to Jimmy Z, classic magazine issues from the 90’s and newspaper clippings from a profile on Nick Tahou, the inventor of the garbage plate, cover every inch of the walls and speak to the funky and soulful character of Jimmy Z’s. 

Framed newspaper clippings, magazines and art cover the walls of Jimmy Z’s. Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 (Canalside Chronicles/Jennifer D’Angelo)

“I’m not a regular, but this is a destination place.” Tom Ryan said.  

One of the many framed sports magazines from the 90’s. Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. (Canalside Chronicles/Jennifer D’Angelo)

Having been a community staple for the better part of two decades, the Brockport community has understandably been rocked by this disheartening news. 

Jimmy Z’s closed officially on February 29. Once the site of crispy french fries and smooth ice cream sundaes, the legend of Jimmy Z’s Plates and Shakes will live on through the love it received from the Brockport community.  

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