Lauren Liebhaber is a former Clinton resident and current Boston-based journalist. She wrote this story that appeared April 14 on www.medium.com
Lauren graduated from Clinton Central School in 2008 and is the daughter of Lisa and step-daughter of Fran Alteri, third generation owners of Alteri’s.
My family owns a restaurant in Clinton, New York. Picture one of those small, rural towns on the way to somewhere else — in this case, Syracuse or Albany. It’s as good a place as any to be from or settle down. The restaurant has existed as a fixture in the community almost completely unchanged since 1953.
Beyond the bright red door contrasting its modest white exterior, the walls of Alteri’s are lined with hundreds of years of history. The interior feels like a time capsule, with over a century’s-worth of hockey memorabilia, relics from previous world wars, and pictures paying homage to the family lineage.
It is unfettered by image and branding, instead devoted to reflecting the community it serves.
The success and longevity of the restaurant are owed to good food, the personal relationships they’ve built with generations of customers, and the employees who pour every bit of their hearts and souls into it.
But in a single day amid a rising global health crisis, the restaurant’s — and my family’s — role and identity as they knew it changed.
So, who am I? I am no one essential. I am not a cook who feeds a community. No one is relying on me like they might a delivery person, cashier, or merchandiser.
I was not born with the innate heroism of a healthcare worker. I am just a daughter, isolated 250 miles away, who can help by telling my family’s…