The nineteenth century building which houses the Canal Side Inn has been operating as a restaurant for almost 80 years. Most recently, James Aufmuth has been the founder and proprietor of the Canal Side. He brought his French style cuisine to Little Falls using his training in France and New Orleans.
James founded the restaurant in 1982. Prior to the Canal Side, the building housed the regionally renowned Henry’s Steakhouse. Known for only having three items on the menu, it was an iconic location.
Rock City Development, LLC, a local company founded in 2018 to be integral in the revitalization of the region, purchased the building in early 2019. Following a major renovation in January, the restaurant reopened to the public on February 14th, 2019. It was a priority of the team, to ensure that the magic that was evident in the Canal Side Inn was maintained and enhanced.
About Chef John Luciano
We are fortunate to have attracted Chef John Luciano to our historic restaurant. John, hailing from Boston, started his career at a series of fine Boston establishments including: Aujodou at the Four Seasons, Mistral and Stephanie’s on Newberry Street. Following his many years in Boston, John took a position in Rome, NY to be closer to extended family. After 5 successful years in Central New York, John was going to move back to Boston.
We are pleased that about two weeks before he was going to move, he saw our ad for an Executive Chef to follow in James’ footsteps. We had several meetings with John and while he became more impassioned by our mission and our plans for the region, we became more sure that John was the right person to take on this challenge.
Chef John adds a “bigger than life” personality, his 6’4” frame and his big heart to his exceptional fine cuisine talents and experience. In crafting the new menu, Chef John (as everyone calls him) felt it was important to keep a number of James’ dishes, while bringing some new, innovative choices to the area.
Please say hello to John when you visit our restaurant and Inn.
Canal Side Inn History
Canal Place, located in the South Ann Street – Mill Street Historic District of Little Falls, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was once a densely-developed manufacturing hub during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The nearby rapids and falls furnished cheap power to operate the numerous mills and manufacturing enterprises that lined the north bank of the Mohawk River in the area. Today, Canal Place contains a significant and representative sample of industrial and commercial architecture constructed during the period from 1827 to 1911.
The quaint shops, galleries, restaurants and inns situated in the old mill buildings and storefronts along the waterfront of Canal Place have become known as the happening place for the arts in the Mohawk Valley. Not so long ago, many of these buildings were working mills serving the garment industry. Even today, after conversion to serve as retail space, many of these rugged but lovely structures speak to our great regional manufacturing heritage. If you are looking for fine arts, entertainment or antiques, you simply must pay a visit to Canal Place!