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Iconic local restaurant marks milestone anniversary

Casey Pritchard
Staff writer
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Posted 5/25/23

Captain John’s is celebrating 50 years of business the only way they know how — and everyone’s invited.

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Iconic local restaurant marks milestone anniversary


SYLVAN BEACH — Captain John’s is celebrating 50 years of business the only way they know how — and everyone’s invited.

Established in 1973 by Captain John DePerno and his family, the second generation has manned the helm these last 15 years, weathering the COVID-19 storm and coming out better than ever.

Elaine DePerno-Brown, daughter of the original Captain John, and her husband, Andy Brown, run a tight ship at Captain John’s on Route 31. DePerno-Brown is the manager of the restaurant, while Brown manages the bar.

“My husband and I took over approximately 15 years ago,” DePerno-Brown said. “Since then, we’ve remodeled with an all-new tropical vibe and added a travel store. We blend the new and the old here.”

Captain John’s has been a staple of the Sylvan Beach community, with people coming from all over to enjoy the sunny weather at Oneida Lake. 

DePerno-Brown said her father was always involved in the community and the beauty of the beach. This commitment has continued and the community has repaid it in kind when it mattered the most. During COVID-19, Captain John’s managed to make the most of it thanks to support from its patrons.

“While COVID-19 was challenging for everyone, especially the restaurant industry, we worked around it,” DePerno-Brown said. “We followed the protocols, did our training, and we continued to serve people in an environment where they felt safe.”

And that welcoming environment extends to the employees.

In the kitchen, Head Chef Paul Prior has worked with Captain John’s for the last 10 years. When asked why he’s stayed for so long, Prior said it feels like family.

“[The owners] are such nice people,” he said. “It really does feel like family, more than anything else.”

When it comes to Captain John’s future, DePerno-Brown said that she felt that Captain John’s has been perfected,
“but we can always learn.”

More than anything, the couple is thankful for the Sylvan Beach community’s support.

“We have an outstanding community who have always supported us, from village officials to fellow business owners,” Brown said. “We all work together in the best interest of this community on the east shore of Oneida Lake.”

“It’s a second family here, from our customers to our crew,” DePerno-Brown said. “So we look forward to another season.”

Captain John’s is open Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday from 3 to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 8 p.m.

Reservations are accepted on holidays and for parties of eight or more.

For more information, go online to or call 315-762-9949


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