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Featured Stakeholder Series w/ Pasquale Presa
In just under a year Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria has sure created a buzz in Downtown Rochester. Providing a fresh take on traditional foods to provide a little piece of Italy, culture, and authenticity that hasn’t gone unnoticed. Our Marketing and Communications Manager, Samantha, sat down with Pasquale Presa and we have to tell you, we are very excited for what is in store for this up and coming downtown business.
Why did you start Pasquale’s?
My first job was at a pizza shop, which lead to a love for food and culture. After being an Executive Chef for over twenty years, I wanted to go back to my roots and I realized there was an opportunity here. Rochester was missing a culture driven area where food and family can come together, which is why Pasquale’s came to fruition. My goal is to create a neighborhood feel that ties in with other local businesses to create a fun and interactive environment. Food can bring up an array of emotions and I want people to look back at the great memories they had not only with great food, but the people they were with; I want to know people by name and welcome them into my pizzeria, as I would welcome them into my home.
What is your more memorable moment(s) since going into business?
Personally it has been the opportunity to see people walk into the businesses and make the space their own and really what they want it to be. The space has been activated from people from all of over the world. The positive energy that it brings is unlike anything else. You really have to experience it, to understand. Why is it important to you to be operating from downtown Rochester? PP: We are truly trying to be an extension of Mayo Clinic’s Customer Service. We want to make sure we are represented well, as Mayo Clinic is number one, we also have to be our best. We want to create a third place space that provides a distraction, a home away from home, and a sense of relief and belonging.
What has operating downtown done for your business?
There are so many amazing people in this city and with Mayo Clinic being the mecca of medical in downtown, Rochester, and around the world it’s a great place to be. You can see how much people in Rochester care. There are so many humble professionals, visitors, and residence that we are welcoming into our kitchen and dining room that we see week over week; it’s definitely been a place for us to foster all types of relationships and positive energy.
What do you think is the best kept secret about downtown and what do you see changing within the next 20 years?
Rochester is a town of opportunity and provides a space for authenticity. You will never feel like you are competing with the “Jones” and you can really feel right at home. Rochester is really starting to put pieces together to create a true downtown and we are thrilled to be a part of it. Back in 2010, when I first arrived in Rochester, the city would be empty on the weekends as everyone would leave to find culture, ambiance, and other bits and pieces that Rochester didn’t offer. However, as the town grows, people will want to stay here and we are doing what we can to provide an outlet for culture, a little Italy of Rochester, if you will.
Let’s talk food; is there something on your menu that would surprise most people?
Our Bianca Pizza. People think they know cheese, but they truly don’t know until they try it. We’re not your typical pizza store, we want to make sure we are bringing the culture and authenticity that I experienced as a young boy at my first job. We are bringing items to you fresh from New York, Italy, and providing an inclusive experience at the same time. We want people to know that its not just pizza, its about amazing ingredients put together to create something that excites your taste buds.
What’s new at Pasquale’s?
The Boroughs has just opened! Experience the beauty of the new space with seating for up to 80 people with plug and play 65” TV screens. It will be a great space for meetings, neighborhood gatherings, parties, or really any event you can think of. The space is a reflection of the melting pot of New York and features creative artwork and decor. Along with the beautiful space you are allowed creative freedom for food, as you create your own menu from five menus created specifically for The Boroughs.
Is there a fan favorite that people can’t seem to get enough of?
Garlic knots (editors comment, these are absolutely amazing!), stuffed pizza, and our weekly specials. We also try innovative things to provide a culinary science that we think people will enjoy. We created a SPAM pizza to help celebrate the 80th anniversary and we are always trying to bring out new tastes in food and activate senses to bring people back to a moment or memory in time.
If you want to learn more, we suggest that you stop by, enjoy a taste of little Italy, and get to know your neighbors or even the owner himself, Pasquale Presa.