Donald J. Barbato received an honorable discharge after serving his country
The year was 1945 and World War II was almost over. A few months earlier, Donald J. Barbato received an honorable discharge after serving his country in the Pacific theatre. He returned to his hometown of Rochester, NY, in hopes of pursuing his dreams and starting a career. He was an eager and diligent man, and wanted to get back into the automobile business that he had been in prior to the War. However, the war effort had limited the auto industry, and his opportunities were few. His brother-in-law, Robert (Bob) Berl, had recently inherited the Zweigles Sausage Products business from his uncle, and he persuaded Don to help him out one day at a hot dog concession at a local dog show. Not many of us would have recognized this as a calling, but Don became quite imbued with this hot dog business that day. Bob also told him about a roadside hot dog stand at Sea Breeze that was available. Back then, the stands were seasonal concessions on Lake Ontario, and Don agreed to lease the stand for the 1945 summer season. With his brother-in-law’s support, Don named it DON & BOB’s. Rochester’s landmark eatery had been born.