By Brett DeNeve:
Salumeria Belsito, a strictly Italian wine and cuisine restaurant, is poised to give new life to the corner of Hertel and Saranac according to owner Michael Petrillo.
“We have enough “two for one happy hour” and “shots every time the Sabres score” kind of places. I want to do something different, I want to add to this strip,” he said. The strip, home to many a storefront, can more easily be determined when you consider what kind of restaurant Belsito will be: imported Italian cold cuts and cheese, cut to order right in front through a Volano meat slicer which is also right off the boat from the boot.
“This location is the gateway to these great blocks of Hertel,” Petrillo said. He then spoke of how there are only a few spots in the city where people can park their car and place hop: get a drink here, eat here, etc. He mentioned the Chip Strip and Elmwood, saying there is need for an older than college life (35 plus) hop spot.
Petrillo sees untapped potential at his location, making note of the likes of Més Que, Empire Grill, and Crave as a few options for people’s Hertel hop. “Park on Saranac, come in and have a glass of some quality wine, maybe some cheese, and keep going down Hertel,” he said.
Belsito definitely has the inner-workings to be that voice, beckoning potential patrons to begin their Hertel journey, but this restaurant also has some unique features that might do just the opposite and keep costumers there.
Aside from the meat grinder, set to be on center stage of the deli counter in the back left corner of the storefront, the tables have purse hooks and the bar seats will have phone chargers.
Petrillo was at the bar at Papaya for a “Working for Downtown” Thursday happy hour, following a Thursday at the Harbor, when he realized his phone battery was close to dead. Looking over the counter, he saw a bartender on his phone and it was plugged into an outlet on the wall. Belsito has outlets on the bar side of the countertop, one for each bar stool seat. Petrillo will be supplying the cords to charge up if need be, as well as free wifi.
The back room of the building, which is still undergoing some renovations, will be a banquet hall of sorts. Gino’s, the previous occupants of this storefront, took deliveries in and out of this back room; the door opens out onto Saranac.
Belsito Italian wine and cuisine restaurant is set to have a soft open around the first week of November, with a grand opening after Thanksgiving.
Stay tuned for more on this new addition to Hertel.
Salumeria: A store that sells cold cuts, including salami, prosciutto, and other sliced meats.