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All roads lead to Village Gate 

Ever since The Gate House moved into the former location of Espada Brazilian Steak last Fourth of July weekend, there has been a void in Village Gate. Kristen Flores-Fratto, the owner of The Gate House, knew another restaurant could flourish in the large, visible location at the end of the courtyard.

Flores-Fratto and her husband, Michael Corson, hope to create another mainstay in the always-evolving Village Gate with Vesta's Roman Hearth (274 North Goodman Street). The restaurant aims to inject a Roman flair into the local dining scene when it opens in early February.

There may be a number of Italian restaurants in Rochester, but Flores-Fratto believes the Roman distinction sets Vesta's apart. "Roman food is a combination of ancient recipes with old Jewish roots," Flores-Fratto says. "It's really very simple."

Executive Chef William Hughes crafted the menu with dishes — including unique takes on familiar meals, like a classic Carbonara ($13) — that will stand out for the fresh-made pasta. It's a common theme on Vesta's menu: every dish will be made to order from scratch.

Some aspects of The Gate House will carry over to become staples of Vesta's. The wood-fired pizza oven that helped build The Gate House's pizza menu will take on a more creative role in the new kitchen. The Carciofi alla Romana ($8) appetizer uses marinated artichokes flash-roasted in the oven and served over a fava bean puree with lemon mint vinaigrette.

The Filetto di Manzo ($29) is a classic filet that will also be roasted in the oven on a cast iron skillet. Having the steak cook from an indirect heat will allow the meat to hold its tenderness, which is lost when cooked over an open flame. Likewise, the wood-fired oven will help give the filet a distinct flavor, Hughes says.

Diners will notice a bit of an uptick in cost compared to The Gate House. "Because of the price point," Flores-Fratto says, "we are clearly going to have a different clientele than The Gate House. But we are not trying to become an exclusive place."

Vesta's will be offering beer and wine to start, and even in its wine menu, the Roman theme will stay consistent. Vesta's selection will be heavy on Italian wines, with a light presence from the Finger Lake region.

Vesta's Roman Hearth is located at 274 North Goodman Street in Village Gate, and is scheduled to open by early February. It will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. 473-0050;

Quick Bites

Chester Cab Pizza (707 Park Avenue) has added beer to its delivery menu. Yuengling, Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Labatt Blue Light, and Genesee Light are available in individual 16-ounce cans or discounted 12-packs. Brews will be available for delivery during all hours of operation. And of course, everyone will be ID'd. 244-8211;

Hosmer Winery (7020 Route 89) in Ovid has brought in Julia Hoyle as head winemaker. This position had previously been held by Aaron Roisen from August 2007 until December 2016. Hoyle began in the tasting room of Fox Run Winery while attending Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2009, and in early 2015, Hoyle worked a four-month stint at Yalumba Winery, Australia's oldest family winery, as the night shift white winemaker. Hosmer Winery is open year-round.

Lento (274 North Goodman Street, in Village Gate) will host a farm-to-table, pop-up brunch with guest chef Gabriel Sanders on Sunday, January 29, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The menu features buckwheat pancakes with apple compote, a hearty steak and eggs dish, and housemade pork sausage. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 271-3470 or by emailing

The Daily Refresher (293 Alexander Street) will hold a "Tequila Tuesday" event on Tuesday, February 7, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. A donation of $15 or more gets you a ticket for a tequila tasting, with all proceeds being equally split between The Landmark Society of Western New York, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, and Farley's Friends. for more information.


Plum Bistro (274 North Goodman Street) has closed.

Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to

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