By Caitlin Croft
In the back of his mind, Nick Pitillo always had a plan to pursue his dream. One year later, that dream has been actualized.
With the warmest of hearts, Pitillo and Jeff Cooke, business partner and executive chef, are still in awe of the reception they received and continue to receive. “From day one, we had friends stopping by to lend a hand however they could and this was before we even opened the doors,” Pitillo says.
Pitillo is an Ellicottville native who got a look at the restaurant business at an early age as his parents ran The Rusty Nail for many years before it closed in the early 1980’s. From here, he went on to work many years in the corporate food and beverage industry, managed family-owned restaurants, along with casino and resort restaurants. After years of working for others, he took a chance opening Osteria 166 on Franklin Street in Buffalo, NY. Once he had Osteria 166 up and running, he decided to try his hand as a restauranteur in Ellicottville. “Ellicottville is home to me, it just made sense for me personally and professionally to take a chance on a community that has brought so much joy to my life,” Pitillo said.
“We knew Ellicottville would be a wonderful experience,” he continued. “We named the restaurant Villaggio (village in Italian) because we knew it would take a village to succeed.” Succeed they did, despite mother nature giving them a run for their money during their opening winter. “The community, regulars, old and new friends kept us going. It was an honor to have been received with such open arms,” Pitillo said.
After Fall Festival 2016, Villaggio will debut a new menu and wine list, which will run until December.
General manager Spencer Murray is hard at work to continuously bring new events and promotions to the restaurant. “I want to make each promotion better than the last. This community embraced us and we want to return the gratitude,” Murray said. “I moved here not knowing what to expect. This town has won me over and has a very special place in my heart.”
Various events include the Disco they put on this past summer along, with the Hoedown that will be held Nov. 19. Their classic promotions include Winesday, featuring $10 wine tastings and appetizers, along with paint nights, karaoke, Oyseteria seafood bar on Thursdays and many more. If you have a large party or want to ensure your table, please feel free to make a reservation or go to opentable.com to schedule your next Villaggo dining experience.
Along with their fabulous promotions and events, Murray emphasized, “We do large carry-out orders; if you are coming into town and need to feed your army of friends and family, pre-order a pan of penne pasta for the house or condo.”
“Thank you to this wonderful community for all you have done, we needed a village and you surpassed our wildest expectations. To many more years in Ellicottville, thank you!” were Pitillo’s final thoughts on this past year.
For more information, visit their Facebook page, go to www.villaggioevl.com or call at (716) 699-2199.