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  • Gianna Porco

History of Candlelight

Candlelight Inn is a name almost everyone at Edgemont has heard. But most don't know the history of this “teriyaki chicken-wing landmark.” Having transitioned from a sawdust-covered floor and homemade roast beef sandwiches to high-chairs, Candlelight, which was once known as a “biker bar,” possesses a rich history.

On January 19, 1955, John Jay Tracy purchased the Candlelight Inn. Initially, the Candlelight was just an old house and then a restaurant. Tracy and his family, however, managed to convert it into a popular meeting place for locals.

At first, Candlelight served fairly simple food, mostly roast beef. Mrs. Tracy, John Jay's wife, would make homemade roast beef sandwiches and meals at home, drive them to the restaurant, and then serve them to customers from there. Those same roast beef sandwiches are still served today at Candlelight, and Mrs. Tracy's cooking and recipes live on. Many go to Candlelight specifically for those very roast beef sandwiches. Although nothing can beat Candlelight's chicken wings, not even their famous roast beef.

In the 1980's John Jay, also known as Jack, made lots of new changes to his restaurant as he started to receive more customers. The backroom was renovated and expanded in the earlier years of the decade for more dining space. The next improvement was an expansion of the menu. With that expansion came their famous chicken wings. Candlelight also developed its reputation as a place for barbeque. Thursdays were known as Biker Nights, where bikers from all over the tri-state area would come into Scarsdale and eat BBQ out in the back of the Candlelight building. The all-you-can-eat menu cost just eight dollars on BBQ Biker Night, which attracted quite a crowd, from locals to bikers.

Candlelight had a bowling game by the current outdoor seating area, which was a big hit for those who ate there, but it also created a coating of sawdust on the floors of the inn. Upstairs was the women's restroom, and because the Candlelight Inn was originally a home, the bathroom was single-use and had a full-sized bathtub. The atmosphere of the Candlelight Inn in the 80s' was shaped by bikers, chicken wings, Edgemont alumni (and staff), sawdust on the floors, loud music, and full-sized bathtubs in the bathrooms. As you can imagine, the Candlelight was the hot spot for the young night owls.

The 90s' was the decade of the family-orientated Candlelight. One of the first additions to the Candlelight's ensemble was the addition of high chairs and kid's menus. In 1994 the famous bathtub in the women's room was removed, and three stalls replaced it. Unfortunately, 1996 was when the popular 'bowling game' was released, which undercut Candlelight’s primary leisure-time activity but allowed for expanded outdoor seating and the removal of the sawdust. Before the turn of the century, the Candlelight had an improved atmosphere and a new owner. In 1999 John Jay Tracy passed down his business to one of his sons, John Jay Tracy Jr.

Since the business changed owners, Candlelight had two kitchen renovations, and the "takeout building” was added, making room for more orders and more customers. And the business continued to expand and changed appearances and even its name, which became Candlelight LLC (limited liability company). In addition, as of 2016, John Jay Tracy shared ownership with his brother Mike, both of whom continue to carry on their father’s legacy.

No matter what the interior looks like, what 'vibe' the Candlelight gives off, or what name the Candlelight LLC goes by, the place serves as more than a restaurant. It is a landmark. Back in the 90s and 2000s' friends and family would meet up at the Candlelight and would reunite there. Practically every year, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Edgemont Alumni would head to Candlelight Inn to eat some chicken gyros, roast beef sandwiches, and catch up with one another. "It was like having a high school class reunion every year," said Edgemont faculty, alumni, and resident; Paulette Spiegel.

On Super Bowl Sunday, it would be unthinkable not to thoroughly tout Candlelight’s chicken wings. Even though Candlelight does not receive many customers who sit down and watch the game at the restaurant, it does receive around 600 pre-order take-outs of their teriyaki wings every year.

The Candlelight is not only a hangout and a 'must order-in from' restaurant on Super Bowl Sunday, but it is also a point of reference for directions, all of which makes the Candlelight one of Edgemont landmarks, along with and Gennaro's (Mezzaluna).


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