Residents of the Highland Park neighborhood, many of whom grew up there and decided to raise their own families in the area, are well familiar with the green building on the corner of Meigs and Caroline Streets.
The building was built in 1880 and purchased by the Salvaggio family in 1922. Richard "Dick" Salvaggio opened Dicky's Restaurant in 1949, and the bar and restaurant stayed in the family for decades. It was a place you could come into for a pint or a bite to eat and always run into someone from the neighborhood.
Richie Salvaggio, the new co-owner of the revived Dicky's Corner Pub, started helping out with the family business at the age of 12. "I was born into this business," Salvaggio says. Salvaggio's parents, Michael and Judy, ran Dicky's from 1991 until the mid-2000's, when they closed Dicky's and new owners opened the short-lived Black Pearl Café. After the Black Pearl Café closed, Daniel Rosato and Scott Napier opened it as Dicky's 1880, but the Salvaggio family wasn't involved.
When Rosato and Napier closed the bar earlier this year, Salvaggio saw it as an opportunity to bring the business back into his family. He and business partner William Pieper plan on holding a soft opening for the new Dicky's Corner Pub in mid-September, with the official grand opening happening the week after.
We're calling this the Dicky's revival," Salvaggio says.
Extensive renovations have been made to the space, yet careful consideration has been given to keep it recognizable as the place that Salvaggio's family ran for years. This includes a fresh layer of paint, updates to the bathrooms, refinishing the floors and adding a separate dining room entrance. The massive bar at Dicky's is an antique that includes a trough that used to serve as a spittoon — for those times that walking the few feet to spit outside was just too far. What a time to be alive!
When Judy and Michael took over running Dicky's from Salvaggio's grandfather in 1991, Judy's culinary skills quickly became sought after in the neighborhood. His mother has since passed away, but Salvaggio has hired the chef that worked with her in the kitchen at Dicky's as a consultant to bring back those old recipes in the newly refurbished kitchen.
"She was famous for her broiled and fried fish fries, her French onion soup, and deep fried veggies with homemade marinara," Salvaggio says. Her burger was voted best in Rochester multiple times.
The new menu will include classic American and Italian cuisine from his mother's repertoire as well as gluten-free and vegan dishes, like a lentil quinoa burger. Dicky's will also be roasting turkey and roast beef in-house for sandwiches. The pub will have a full liquor license, including 13 tap lines for a mixture of Rochester and domestic beers. "I'm all about local, with the food and the drink," Salvaggio says.
While the hours are subject to change, Dicky's will be open seven days a week, staying open later on the weekends. Salvaggio plans to eventually add outdoor seating when the warm seasons come back around.
Salvaggio grew up and still lives in the neighborhood that surrounds Dicky's. "This will be a family-oriented restaurant and pub, we want people to come in with their kids," says Salvaggio. "I want to run this how my mom ran it — she would be proud."