Le Roy restaurant owner thinks he hit on right time, name, location and recipes
Jim Frascati started working on his plans to open an Italian restaurant somewhere nearly two years ago, but the big hang up was finding the right location.
He visited the Village of Le Roy, but the location he looked at didn't seem quite suitable to him. He missed the vacant, 110-year-old building at 49 Main St.
At an event one day, he met a Le Roy resident who asked him if he had looked at the former Pontillo's Pizzeria building.
He hadn't, so he did.
"When I came to see it, once I stepped inside the building, I fell in love with it," Frascati said, a resident of Monroe County. "Even though the condition of the building wasn't great, the outside was very attractive. I think it's one of the best looking buildings downtown."
In the interior, he was taken by the exposed brick on the eastside wall and the big arched window at the front of the building.
That's when he knew for sure he was going to have his own restaurant, he said.
Finding the right name for the business wasn't a straightforward journey, either.
Frascati was born in Sicily, raised by a Sicilian mother. His family immigrated, making an eight-day boat journey, when he was 12 years old.
He knew his ristorante would have a fired brick oven (really, the way to cook pizza, as far as he's concerned), and feature his mother's homemade Sicilian recipes, so he wanted a name that spoke to his Sicilian roots.
When his father was a young man, he would walk to work with a bag with his lunch in it hanging from a stick, so his nickname became "la caffa." A la caffa is a kind of purse or satchel that was originally designed to hang on donkeys for transporting small items.
So, Frascati planned to use "la caffa" as his business name, but his daughter said "No, dad, that's a stupid name. Nobody will know what it means."
He tried to come up with other names, but none ever seemed quite right. Then one day he was talking with a friend about plans they were making. The friend laid out the summary of the plans and ended his sentence with, "capiche?" Frascati replied almost in rote, "capiche."
Then it struck him. When he was a boy, whenever he would do something bad ("I wasn't always a perfect kid," he said), his mother would scold him, often with threats with words along the lines of, "if you do that again, I'm going to break your legs," and end the threat with, "capiche?"
Frascati told his friend, "Thank you. Thank you so much."
"You just gave me the name of my restaurant."
Capish! Brick Oven Pizza Ristorante, 49 Main St., Le Roy, has been open for about three months now, long enough for Frascati to see if customers return.
"We are starting to see some of the same faces over and over," Frascati said. "We're glad to see them come back. It's a nice testament to our food that they do come back."
Besides pizza, the restaurant has a full bar and a menu filled with a variety of Italian dishes.
Le Roy is starting to become a nice destination village for people who like to eat at good restaurants and Frascati is glad to be part of that mix. He thinks his brick oven offers people throughout the region something different because there is no other brick oven pizzeria close to the area.
Frascati is excited about talk of revitalization along the waterfront of Oatka Creek. That will only help bring people in from Rochester and Buffalo.
On the mantle above the bar, a model of the ship Jim Frascati and his family spent eight days on when they immigrated to the United States.