Food - Drink
How Chicken Riggies Became An Utica, New York Favorite
BY AUTUMN SWIERS
Cassidy's Diner in Richfield Springs, New York, doesn’t serve dinner, except on Fridays, during which they offer chicken riggies — and nothing else. With a name like "chicken riggies," you might be picturing a basket of breaded tenders or dino nuggets, but "riggies" is short for "rigatoni," as chicken riggies is a pasta dish.
Chicken riggies is rigatoni pasta with creamy tomato sauce, peppers, chicken, and cheese. Ingredients can vary from there, but as Mary Kiernan, a New York native and associate professor in the Food Studies Program at Syracuse University, says, "You need to stay true to what the recipe is."
The now-closed Chesterfield restaurant credited itself with inventing chicken riggies in 1989, but chef Michael Geno says it happened a full decade before that, in 1979. Geno claims to have created the dish at the Italian restaurant Clinton House for a group of "doctors, lawyers and union guys [who] would come in on Monday nights to play cards."