All about Mike Milkie and the Milkie Tradition
Mike Milkie started his 60 year career in the restaurant business when he was nine years old. He and his brother Ray started as servers at their father's restaurant "Dad's Texas Red Hots" located at 169 E. Ferry (next to the Offerman stadium, home of the original Buffalo Bisons) until their father's death three years later. After attending Lafayette High School and the University of Buffalo, Mike earned an Associate's degree in food service administration. At the age of 22 he opened the Falling Star Restaurant in the Airport Plaza. Two years later, he bought the Al Maroone Ford building on Main Street in Williamsville and converted it to The Milkie Way Restaurant and Theater.
The Milkie Way Theater was the first of its kind in Western New York and brought in critically acclaimed plays from New York City. During this period, Mike also served as president of the local chapter for St. Jude and was instrumental in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Children's Research Hospital located in Memphis, Tennessee. Danny Thomas (TV 's "Make Room for Daddy" and founder of St. Jude) and his daughter Marlo Thomas (TV's "That Girl") were visitors of the Milkie Way in support of St. Jude. Mike spent 20 years at The Milkie Way before selling the restaurant to the Original Pancake House, which remains in this location today.
Mike went on to open 12 more restaurants in the coming years. These include The Miner's Ten and Sutter's Saloon in 1965 in the University Plaza (a location he owned for 45 years) which became Bobby McGee's in 1990. In 1968 Mike also opened the Forvm and Villa Romano Restaurant in the Main Place Mall, where he served an average of 550 lunches daily. The Forvm is also where Mike pioneered the first side walk café in Buffalo. Mike spent 20 years in Main Place then moved to 51 Court Street, The Old Docket next door to the Convention Center at which City, County, State and Federal judges held weekly luncheon meetings in the restaurant's "Judges' Chambers." In the coming years Mike also opened The Little Dipper in the Seneca Mall, Charlie Brown's in the Clarence Mall, Gulliver's in the Town of Clarence (a unique restaurant where the servers were dressed as story book characters), Tiffiny's in the Wibilton Plaza in West Seneca, as well as a Bunny night club called The Club Armondo's on Transit Road where Miss New York State 1969, Linda Trybus, was the club's hostess. Mike then when on to open Milkie's at Main and Seneca streets, and two more Bobby McGee's, one in the Thruway Mall in Cheektowaga and the other in the Maple Ridge Plaza in Amherst where Dan Hull and Mike brought in National and local music acts for over 12 years.
In addition to the restaurants, Mike also had a commissary in Williamsville, M&W Provisions CO., which processed and delivered food to all of his restaurants daily. Mike's brother, Ray Milkie, was a key factor in the success of each restaurant. Ray became the controller for the organization where he developed a computer program for merchandising analysis, cost control and general accounting.
Mike also owes much of his success to Christine Griffin, a devoted co-worker, partner and inspiration to him for over 32 years.
He is the proud father of three. Michael is the founder and Superintendent of twelth Noble Charter Schools in the City of Chicago. Mark is an Air Traffic Controller in Indianapolis; IN. Melissa is Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland.
DINE THE RIGHT WAY... DINE THE MILKIE WAY