Manhattan resident Roberto Bellissimo opened Centrale Italian Kitchen & Bar in the Triangle Shopping Center in Yorktown in December and said last week that he used the eatery’s first weeks to listen to his customers.
Bellissimo said the opening days were a time for him to tweak the menu and “really understanding how to put our best foot forward.”
“For me it was a restaurant Westchester 101 learning experience,” Bellissimo said.
Bellissimo said he learned that to he be successful in Yorktown he needed to provide value. “The town itself is really divided into groups of people who want a lot for very little and people who go everywhere else to eat,” he said. “We really want to bring forth value. When I say value it’s in every way. It’s not just about value about the dish, but value from the service.”
Value also comes from the restaurant’s water filtration system, which provides sparkling water at no additional cost to his customers, Bellissimo noted.
“Restaurants to me are like children in a way,” Bellissimo said. “You have this idea of what they’re going to be and what you want them to be. But then the restaurant kind of has its own way of organically becoming its own.”
Bellissimo said his restaurant, which hosted its grand opening on January 25, has become its own through the menu, especially in its appetizers, which are available in half portions to give patrons a chance to try a variety of starters. One antipasto can be purchased for $7; three for $19 and five for $29, he noted, adding there are about a dozen choices available daily.
“The idea is really just to come in and enjoy as try as many things as possible,” Bellissimo said.
Nearly all of the food served in his restaurant is made on site, Bellissimo said.
The restaurant has a wood burning oven to bake pizzas, with a variety of toppings. For example, there is potato topped pie featuring leaks and a white sauce of pecorino cheese and black pepper.
Bellissimo said some of his customers’ favorite dishes include the Brussels sprouts, crispy cauliflower, zucchini parmesan, stuffed baby Portello mushrooms as antipasto choices; an entrée featuring mussels and other seafood prepared in a lobster sauce; and short rib pappardelle pasta.
He said his concept of family style dining is sharing of dishes that do not have to be served in huge portions. But instead it could be the sharing of several smaller portions, he explained. “I want people to share and get a plethora of items for the table,” he said.
Bellissimo said his restaurant is open to make changes to dishes at customer’s requests. He said the choice of location was not up to him. “The location chose me,” he said. A friend told him there was a restaurant space available in the shopping center. “It had good stones,” meaning the location had good flooring, walls, and woodwork, for example. The building has housed restaurants for decades. Renovations for his new restaurant took six weeks, he noted.
Bellissimo said he enjoys the restaurant industry because he is learning and growing on a daily basis. “What I love about this business is you’re never stagnant,” he said.
Centrale Italian Kitchen & Bar is located at 90 Triangle Center in the Triangle Shopping Center in Yorktown. For more information, call 914-352-6107, visit https://www.centrale.us or send an e-mail to email@example.com.