I spent some time hanging out with Joseph Cipolla and David Romaine of Cipolla Romaine late last week and I’m excited to bring some news about a new venture that they are working on. Opening in early November, Cipolla Romaine Kitchen will be located in the former Flour City Pasta location in Pittsford and will be a higher end extension of their already diverse offerings. The base concept will consist of a daily fixed price lunch, a curated food shop, a more exclusive chef’s table style service on Friday and Saturday evenings, and a strong focus on local ingredients.
For those that aren’t familiar, David’s Lettuce B. Frank and Joseph’s Scratch Open Kitchen originally operated as food carts that had a strong lunch followings at Strong Hospital. Lettuce B. Frank focuses more on the vegetarian side of things while Scratch hits some delicious meat notes including burgers and gyros. I became more familiar with them when David had a short but successful run with the Lettuce B. Frank Bisto next to the Cinema Theatre. The carts are still running although with a much more limited schedule as they have been working on multiple fronts of expansion since Joseph and David have joined up to form Cipolla Romaine.
Last year saw them expand their operation into Three Brothers Winery with their Smokin’ Bagg Dare where they serve versions of some of their hits and then a solid BBQ menu including brisket, pulled pork and chorizo sausage along with Southern style sides. Along the way they have been keeping up a rigorous catering schedule where they offer completely customized dining experiences that leverage Joseph’s high dining experience as well as David’s skills as a pastry chef.
From the sidewalk in front of Strong to Main Street in Pittsford! Quite the journey for sure and one I’ve had the pleasure of following up close. Let’s get back to the matter at hand and talk some more about the new Cipolla Romaine Kitchen.
Prior to opening they will be doing a renovation to change the feel of the space adding a large farm table for communal dining and moving around the layout to better suit the new concept. Not only will they be open 10am – 6pm serving up lunch Monday – Saturday, but in addition there will be to go meals and sourced ingredients for sale that will allow guests to purchase the same items used to make their food and re-create the meals at home. Sources like Seven Bridges Farm and Bolton Farms will definitely be making an appearance at the store along with other local and curated options.
The lunches will be different fare than what is served on the carts and at Three Brothers Winery and will likely be a prix fixe three course soup, salad, and sandwich affair. This sounds like a great option if you happen to be in the Pittsford area at lunch, but what is grabbing my attention is the chef’s table dinners on Friday and Saturday nights.
Joseph Cipolla will be the main culinary driving force behind these meals and will be serving them in true chef’s table fashion with an open kitchen and a reservation only guest list maxed out around 20. This will definitely be a creative endeavour floating on the whims of Joseph and influenced by whatever ingredients are best at the time which is as it should be. There will also be opportunities to turn these dinners into educational events to teach guests about the food as well as the process and the dinners will be able to be customized if you have a large enough group. The price point has not been announced yet, but expect something on the order of $75 a person for these twice a week dinner events.
Getting to know both David and Joseph has been a great experience for me and they are two of the most ambitious and hard working guys I’ve met in the business. Not only do they have good ideas, but they have the drive to execute them and there is even more in the works. Wood fired catering trailer anyone? I’m sure I’ll have more news on them in the future, but for now get excited about the Cipolla Romaine Kitchen that will be opening in November on Main Street in Pittsford. I know I am!