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Big Chuck

January 28, 2013

Local foods worthy of national spotlight


Wait a minute. Baked Hats?

My wife and I chuckled at the name of this item, and I just had to ask our chirpy waitress what is was.

“Oh, people love the baked hats,” she began. “They are a delicious Italian concoction of cavatelli pasta, baked with our mixture of Italian cheeses and cooked with your choice of meatballs or sausage.” That sounded wonderful to me, and we went ahead and ordered it. Needless to say it was delicious. I ate everything but the pattern design on the bottom of the ceramic bowl. I had to ask.

“Where in the world did this delightful dish with the odd name come from?”

The waitress smiled and said: “Baked hats? Oh, sure. It’s an old menu item found traditionally in Utica.”

Utica. I should have known.

I’ll catch you in two ...

“Big Chuck” D’IMPERIO can be heard on weekdays beginning at 6 a.m. on WDOS-AM 730 in Oneonta, and also on Thursday nights from 7-9 p.m. on WSRK-FM 103.9 for his “Oldies Jukebox Show.” You can find “Big Chuck” on Facebook under Upstate New York Books. He invites you to contact him at His columns can be found at

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