Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Welcome to EverythingCroton, a collection of all things Croton--our history, our homes, our issues, our businesses, our schools--in short, EVERYTHING CROTON. 

INTRODUCING CROTON MEMORIES, a new series that will focus on Croton from the 1940's through the 1970's, more or less. 


Memories of the Croton Steak House

The recent piece mentioning the Croton Steak House brought back fond memories. My family and I moved to Croton in 1963 and soon discovered that little gem of a restaurant. We made it a practice to eat their regularly.

The Croton Steak House was a family-operated venture. David Sanft was the chef, and his wife, June, was the drink mixologist, server and cashier. It had a remarkably small seating capacity. The formula for its success was simple: a short, tightly focused menu and top-grade ingredients masterfully prepared and presented.

It was not uncommon for the chef to come out of the kitchen and join lingering late-dining regulars over a cup of coffee. I learned that he had operated restaurants in Florida, and, if memory serves, at resorts in Bermuda or the Bahamas. He died suddenly in 1973 at the age of 60. The restaurant business must have been in June Sanft’s blood. In later years I recall seeing her working as a waitress and cashier at Pete Tsagarakis’s Croton Colonial Diner. She died in 2001 at the age of 76.

The earlier piece neglected to mention that the Croton Steak House occupied the former home of Dr. Thomas Jefferson Acker. Originally a simple house believed to have been built around 1830, the building’s Victorian details (including the addition that became the restaurant’s dining room) were added by Dr. Acker, a general practitioner who graduated in 1865 from New York City's Bellevue Medical College.

Dr. Acker not only kept Croton residents in good health, but treated workers on the Croton Dam around the turn of the last century. His charge for a visit was fifty cents. He was born in the village of Sing Sing on July 27, 1837, and died in Croton on February 15, 1914, at the age of 76.

Dr. Acker was a member of the building committee that in 1883 built Croton’s Asbury Methodist Church in High Victorian Gothic style. Appropriately constructed of local red brick artfully used to decorative advantage, it supplanted the Bethel Chapel. 

Special thanks to Mr. Scott for rounding our history of this wonderful old house and it's assorted lives.

Stay tuned for more Croton Memories. To see past editions of this series, click:


  1. Thank you RS, how wonderful this series is.

  2. Thank you Mr. Scott, and Everything Croton, for giving us this great series on old Croton. It really is a pleasure for family members here and across the country to see these things brought back to life. Also some of us "younger" folks, ahem, have fond memories of these places as well. A really really great thing to do and though it's been said, many times, many ways, if I might paraphrase Nat King Cole, thanks to the Historical Society for making all this possible.

  3. As a friend says, MAJOR KUDICKIOs TO YOU ALL!

  4. Your a gem Robert Scott.

  5. Greetings from Nevada and warmest thanks to Mr. Scott. The Sanfts were lovely people and my wife qand I had many a meal in this basic but charming restaurant. The food was excellent. Thanks for the memories.

    John and Katy

  6. After Dave Sanft died June stepped up to the plate as chef and commandeered me[her daughter-in -law]as bartender. She gave me a crash course in mixology and threw me to the wolves. Martini's and Dubonnet cocktails [the Clarks] were always a nightmare. I never got them right but the customers were like family and very forgiving. Susie, Junes older daughter, a teenager, waited tables along with Mary a family friend. Lee, baby sat for my daughter in the family living quarters upstairs. So, it became a truly "women operated" business. We were ahead of our time. Dave was always missed but I think he would have been proud of us.

  7. I'm Sue Sanft Matero, eldest daughter of June and David Sanft. I had the priviledge to grow up living in and working at the Croton Steak House, as it gave me the opportunity to meet and feel comfortable around people from all walks of life. It was truly a unique restaurant where most of the customers were "regulars" and became like our extended family. Often, a customer would walk in, go directly to the kitchen to speak to Dave (the Chef) chit/chat awhile, place his order and then sit in the dining room. The restaurant was formal with cloth napkins, tablecloths, sterling silver and top notch food, yet a comfortable, friendly place(no jackets required)....with a plain and simple menu, that was delicious! It was also one of the first restaurants to have a soup and salad bar! People stop me till this day and tell me how they long for a restaurant like the steak house was. The Steak House was there for 13-14 years and was frequented by many famous people. My parents also did a lot of off premise catering in private homes, Temple Israel and Holy Name of Mary Church. The Lions Club also met monthly at the Steak House. They were a big part of the Croton Community and I want to thank Mr. Scott for honoring them with his "history of Croton" segments. One correction though, they had a restaurant in Jamaica, not the Bahamas, a Jewish Deli to be precise, but they had looked at the Steak House before going to Jamaica....and the quaintness of the town tugged at him while in Jamaica, so we returned and moved to Croton and the rest is history! Thank you again Mr. Scott

  8. I am Sue Sanft Matero, daughter of David and June Sanft and I had the priviledge of growing up living in and working in the Croton Steak House as it made me meet, respect and feel comfortable with people from all walks of life. It was a formal restaurant with cloth napkins, tablecloths, sterling silver and excellent food, but informal in atmosphere (no jackets required)so people felt comfortable and at home being there. Most of our customers were "regulars" who became like extended family to us. A lot of customers would walk in go directly to the kitchen, speak with Dave (the chef)tell a few jokes, stories and place their dinner order and then sit in the dinning room. The food was superb and the menu simple, I still have people come up to me and tell me how they long for a restaurant like the Steak House. The restaurant served many famous people, most of whom had country homes in the area but lived in Manhattan. My parents, and my sister in I in tow, did a lot of off-site catering in private homes, Temple Israel and Holy Name of Mary. They Lions club also met monthly at the Steak House. It was a family business, and everyone pitched in when needed. The Croton Steak House was in business for 13-14 years, and was truly a big part of the Croton community. I want to thank Mr. Scott for honoring my parents by remembering them and the Croton Steak House in the history of Croton. One correction though, they had a restaurant in Jamaica, not the Bahamas, a Jewish Deli to be precise. However, my father, David, had seen this Victorian House in the quaint village of Croton before he left for Jamaica and it kept nagging at him. We then returned to the U.S and moved to Croton and the rest is history. Thank you again Mr. Scott

  9. This is my grandmother's mother and father's old restaurant, and I liked reading about it so thank you. My grandmother commented above actually, and she loves to talk about it. Of course I've never seen it as a restaurant, I'm only going into highschool, but I've seen the inside of it now and heard many of my grandmother's stories about it. I find it very interesting reading about it as well.