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CHOW HOUND: Old-school in a new space 

Cinelli's Pizza Ristorante (840 Long Pond Road) moved into its space in the new plaza next to Bryant & Stratton College on January 20. "We literally built this place from the ground up; there was a dirt floor," says co-owner Franca Cinelli. Franca, along with her husband, John, and her son, Tom, are all owners of the restaurant and pizza kitchen in Greece.

Booths line one side of the bright space, with tables in the middle and a long bar where you can get a front row seat to either watch the game on a flat screen or watch your pizza being made. Wine and beer are available, with seasonally-rotating drafts, and a selection of bottles, like Peroni.

The restaurant may be new but some of the recipes are time-tested favorites from head chef Tom Cinelli's 91-year-old grandmother, Josie Cinelli. "She's next to me making gnocchi as we speak," Franca says. The sausage and meatballs (both are $3.95 for a side order) are made in-house, as well as fresh Zeppole ($3.95), balls of fried dough dipped in cinnamon and sugar or dusted with powdered sugar. Everything is made to order at Cinelli's — from the pasta to the pesto.

Tom learned the craft of pizza-making while working for and eventually owning a pizzeria in Daytona Beach, Florida — he moved back to Rochester to open the restaurant with his parents. "We wanted to invest in Tom because his food was so good — we wanted to foster his happiness," Franca says.

Cinelli's Favorite Ricotta Pie ($10.30 for small, $16.50 for medium, and $21.50 for large New York-style) features a combination of ricotta cheese sauce, mozzarella, fresh spinach, garlic, and Roma tomatoes. All specialty pizzas can be made New York or Sicilian-style. Homemade garlic knots are served with dinner entrees like the linguini with sausage, peppers, and onions ($13.95).

If you don't want to leave the house (the struggle is real in this weather), Cinelli's offers delivery as well.

Cinelli's Pizza Ristorante is located at 840 Long Pond Road, and is open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sundays, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. 287-5458; bestpizzagreece.com.

click to enlarge Garlic knots with marinara at Cinelli's Pizza Ristorante. - PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • Garlic knots with marinara at Cinelli's Pizza Ristorante.
click to enlarge Ricotta Pie at Cinelli's Pizza Ristorante - PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • Ricotta Pie at Cinelli's Pizza Ristorante
click to enlarge Sam Adams 'Cold Snap' at Cinelli's Pizza Ristorante. - PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • Sam Adams 'Cold Snap' at Cinelli's Pizza Ristorante.


Quick bites

The Rochester City Council passed legislation last Wednesday that would amend the municipal code with regard to licensing of food trucks, food retailers, and food carts. The amended code will loosen the restrictions for where food trucks can set up shop outside the downtown and Port of Rochester areas, with special considerations for residential areas. Fire safety and health training will be required for food truck employees, and businesses must have $1 million liability insurance, up from the current $100,000 requirement. Fees for city licensing will also increase.

Art Rogers, the chef and owner of Lento Restaurant (274 North Goodman Street, in Village Gate), is a James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Northeast category. The James Beard Foundation's Restaurant and Chef Awards are held annually to recognize national achievement in cuisine, culinary writing, and culinary education. Final Restaurant and Chef Award nominees will be named on March 24, and the winners announced on May 4 during a gala in Chicago. Rogers opened Lento in 2007.

The Victor YMCA will host its annual Finger Lakes Flights Tasting at the Ravenwood Golf Club (929 Lynaugh Road, Victor) on Sunday, March 1, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event will feature flights from local wineries with complimentary hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction, raffles, and prize drawings. All proceeds benefit the YMCA Annual Campaign. Tickets are $25 per person or $40 per couple and can be purchased at rochesterymca.org/victorwinetasting.

Black Button Distilling (85 Railroad Street) now hosts a Thursday Night Cocktail Series. Each Thursday will feature a different theme like trivia night, cocktails by the decade, and food pairings. Tickets are $30 per person and reservations are required. Visit blackbuttondistilling.com/visit/events for more details and to make a reservation.

Openings

Blue Toad Hard Cider (120 Mushroom Boulevard, Suite 105) has opened in Henrietta. The cider uses only locally grown Western New York apples from Schutt's Apple Mill in Webster. Currently on tap in the tasting room are Flower City Blonde and ROC HARD Amber ciders. Visit its website at bluetoadhardcider.com for hours of operation.

The owners of Cibon have opened Roux (688 Park Avenue), a new French kitchen, wine bar, and cocktail parlor. Visit rouxparkave.com for more details.

Mamma G's Ristorante Italiano has opened at 2133 East Henrietta Road.

Jimmy John's has opened a College Town location (53 Celebration Drive).

Vive Bistro and Bakery (130 East Avenue), a vegan, French restaurant in the East End is now open.

Porcini Bar & Bistro (formerly Merchants Past House) is now open at 564 Merchants Road.

Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to food@rochester-citynews.com.

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