In the early 1960s, Kosuga returned to his corner of New York state, Pine Island in Orange County, and opened a restaurant he and his wife named “Ye Jolly Onion Inn.” The restaurant boasted a large and diverse menu and a full bar and also included live music and other special events. Over the decades, the restaurant enjoyed great success even as it passed through two different owners after Kosuga sold it in 1970.
The restaurant closed down in 2008 but was reopened a decade later under new management. To this day, it remains a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, whether it is visited for a casual meal or to celebrate occasions like weddings and graduations.
Most Traders Didn’t Like the New Law
Despite the damage that Kosuga and Siegel’s actions caused, the Onions Futures Act was not generally popular among traders. E.B. Harris, a prominent voice because of his position as president of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, went hard against the bill and was quoted as saying “We submit that burning down the barn to find a suspected rat is a pretty drastic remedy.”
The fight against the bill continued after its passing in 1958, as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange filed a lawsuit in federal court to have it struck down on the basis that it restricted trade in an unfair and unnecessary manner. That lawsuit proved to be unsuccessful, at which point the CME decided to drop the fight instead of taking it to the Supreme Court.
Chicago’s Pork Belly Market Closed Down
After Kosuga and Siegel’s onion scheme caused onions to be banned from being traded at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, one of the commodities that took their place was pork bellies. They came onto the scene in 1961 and enjoyed a lot of success through that decade and the 1970s.
By the time pork bellies futures trading was shut down in 2011 due to a lack of demand and activity, they had been the oldest livestock futures to trade in the country. Harvey Paffenroth, who happened to be none other than Kosuga’s nephew and was a member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, said that pork bellies were the glamour market.
“The Jolly Onion’s” Star Dish Is Sweet Onion Soup
Though the Kosugas aren’t around anymore, “The Jolly Onion” is still going strong, keeping up the tradition of having a menu centered on European dishes as well as American classics. Favorites include the Amsterdam Bitterballen Croquettes, Bavarian Pretzels, Swedish Meatballs, Jager Schnitzels, Potato Pancakes, and Bacon Wrapped Scallops.
But the most popular menu item is the Sweet Onion Soup. Per the restaurant’s staff, they make around 200 gallons of this soup a week. Apart from the talent of the kitchen staff, the dish owes its reputation to the fact that onions from the region are known to be especially tasty and intense thanks to the rich black soil that characterizes the area.
Kosuga Was Voted Citizen of the Year by His Neighbors
Vincent Kosuga was nothing if not an interesting and, at times, contradictory figure. He reportedly always carried a .38 pistol with him for protection, met with at least one pope in his lifetime, and once survived a plane crash in upstate New York that left him in a full-body cast.
Despite his, at times, unethical business practices, he was known as a charitable member of his community and was voted Citizen of the Year in Pine Island in 1987. The honor was given to him by the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce, which declared that his success was the perfect example of the American Dream coming true.