ELLICOTTVILLE, N.Y. — Known for its skiing and fall festival, there is a bustling restaurant scene in Ellicottville.
One such restaurant we checked out on Out 2 Eat was Villaggio. Founded by Osteria 166 owner and Ellicottville native Nick Pitillo.
"It's really designed to be a casual friendly family joint," Pitillo said.
Located on Monroe St. in the heart of Ellicottville, Villaggio sits in a converted barn that is about 50 years old.
"It's a big place," Pitillo said "It seats about 120-130 people. It's always been a restaurant."
Pitillo says he calls the food offered at Villaggio mostly comfort Italian food, but you'll find a little bit of everything in the resort town restaurant.
"We do a lot of spaghetti and meatballs," Pitillo said. "Nani's meatballs are pretty killer."
Nani, as she is affectionately called, is Pitillo's mother. She will make meatballs once or twice a week as part of the family restaurant effort.
The Risotto bites offered up at Villaggio can be, and probably should be, consumed by the dozen. They're an incredible balance of fried, cheesy goodness. It's an appetizer we at Out 2 Eat haven't found before in WNY.
If meats are your thing, especially after a long day of skiing, Villaggio has something you'll want to check out
"I'm a huge fan of our tomahawks steaks," Pitillo said. "It's a giant 28-ounce bone-in steak.
As much as Ellicottville is a ski-town, the restaurant business is year-round. Pitillo says that while ski-related business is certainly helpful, it's not his core.
"We are so dependent on the locals," he said. "Back to the whole village takes a village thing, like we would not be standing five years later, if it weren't for our relationship with our local people."
On Wednesday night, which is prime rib night, Pitilllo says you'll find 60-70 locals coming in. And, when you visit Villaggio, you're not going to find the Italian classics in heavy rotation on the jukebox.
"If I listened to one more Andrea Boccelli or Frank Sinatra song when I was trying to eat Italian food, I was gonna go crazy," Pitillo said. "We play blues and funk and I watch the 18-year-old kid to the 60-year-old guy in the corner kind of bopping and feeling it."
Walking away from a meal and evening at the Villaggio you'll certainly get a sense of community and family, which is one of the goals of Pitillo.
"We believe in family, we don't just talk it we walk it by supporting other restaurant owners and chefs here in Ellicottville," Pitillo said.
You can learn more about Villaggio and what they offer on their website.
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