When Alessio Troiano, a native of Italy's Abruzzo region, first visited his girlfriend in Rochester, he fell in love with the region's summer. (I didn't ask him about the Rochester winter). "I loved it so much that the next time I came, I made my father come with me," Troiano says. On that visit with his father, Troiano noticed that a restaurant space was available in Henrietta and decided to pack up his home, convince his family to move to Rochester with him, and open Mamma G's Ristorante Italiano (2133 East Henrietta Road).
The Troiano family owned a restaurant in Pescara, Italy, and many of the recipes from that restaurant are available on Mamma G's menu. "Mamma G" is Gilda, Troiano's mother, who you can find in the kitchen helping out her son, Pierfrancesco, the chef at Mamma G's. Troiano's father, Carlo, and twin brothers, Marco and Dario, also help out.
The more traditional recipes from the Abruzzo region include the Timballo Abruzzese ($12), a lasagna dish made with crêpes, parmesan, mozzarella, ground beef, and homemade tomato sauce. Using layers of crêpe makes the dish lighter and more digestible, Troiano says. The Chitarra Teramana ($12) comes from the city of Teramo. The dish is comprised of homemade egg spaghetti, tomato sauce, and small meatballs. The traditional dessert of the region, Parrozzo D'Annunziano ($5), is an almond cake coated with dark chocolate and served with a citrus English sauce.
For those that like to try a little bit of everything, the Tour of Italy appetizer ($13) includes Involtino Tirolese (breaded eggplant rolls with ham and provolone); Garbanzo and Ricotta Cannoli (cannoli stuffed with garbanzo beans, ricotta, and a nutmeg ganache cream sauce); Pallotte Cacio and Uova (egg and parmesan cheese balls served with tomato sauce); and Formaggio Alla Griglia (grilled fresh cheese served with arugula and cherry tomatoes).
Everything is made from scratch at Mamma G's — from the sauce to the pasta and the bread, which is baked daily by Pierfrancesco. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and all menu items are available for dine-in or take-out. Mamma G's is currently working on procuring a liquor license.
Mamma G's Ristorante Italiano is located at 2133 East Henrietta Road, and is open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 359-0990. Visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/mammagsristorante for more information.
Iron Smoke Distillery, a small-batch, artisan distillery in Fairport, recently won a bronze medal for its Rattlesnake Rosie's Apple Pie whiskey from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Iron Smoke is run by local musician Tommy Brunett. More information can be found at ironsmokewhiskey.com.
The South Wedge Farmers Market will be moving to a new location starting on June 11, the opening day of the market. The new location is at 151 Mount Hope Avenue, along the Genesee River. Local vendors will be setting up shop every Thursday evening from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. More information can be found at swfm.org.
The wineries that comprise the Keuka Lake Wine Trail will all take part in a spring event, Keuka In Bloom, on Saturday, May 2, and Sunday, May 3. Admission is $35 for a single ticket and $55 for couples. Ticket holders will receive a different flower or herb at each winery and will also receive a complimentary wine glass. Tickets can be purchased at keukawinetrail.com/shop or at any Wegmans customer service desk.
The Geneva YMCA will hold its second annual Finger Lakes Brew Fest on June 21 at the Geneva Ramada Lake Front Hotel from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets go on sale on May 1 and can be purchased at the Geneva YMCA (399 William Street, Geneva) or online at brownpapertickets.com.
The French Quarter Café restaurant has moved from the South Goodman Street location to a new spot at 130 Spring Street.
Wings & Salad (165 State Street), a lunch buffet restaurant serving salad, chicken wings, as well as smoothies and juices, has opened downtown.
Filgers East End (355 East Avenue) has opened in the space formerly occupied by MacGregor's.
Drifter's L.B. (155 East Main Street) has opened in the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown. The restaurant specializes in local ingredients and serves Finger Lakes wine.
Constantino's Market (40 Celebration Drive) and Saxby's Coffee (1307 Mount Hope Avenue) have opened in College Town.
Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.