BATAVIA – Unless you’re well-traveled in Italian cuisine, foods you’ve likely never heard of are showing up in downtown Batavia, thanks to a Sicilian chef with a passion to re-create the flavors of home.
From cheeses and breads made in-house to entrees ready for a finishing touch in your oven, diverse temptations await at The Market at Gaetano’s, now open five days a week downstairs from Gaetano’s restaurant, named after executive chef Gaetano DiBenedetto.
The restaurant’s one-time downstairs dining area has migrated to the newly unveiled second-floor, and a makeover has given birth to a bright, deli-style space for the market, with murals painted by restaurant owner Wendy DiBenedetto of Batavia, the chef’s wife.
She said her husband has created a fusion of dishes from the different regions of Italy where he has cooked.
“[While] respecting the old ways, he puts a little modern twist on it,” she said.
Gaetano’s at North River and Wilson streets now sports an awning on the west side of the restaurant’s Wilson Street facade at the separate entrance to the stairs leading down to the culinary haven. The chef creates house-made sausage, salami and artisan meats, fresh pasta, antipasti, focaccia and such salads as eggplant or olive. The shop also sells wines and olive oils.
The offerings vary daily. A recent Facebook posting listed take-and-bake fish in papillote, cream of broccoli soup and smoked wild Scottish salmon salad among the dishes.
For the many dinners-to-go, Wendy DiBenedetto has created a rack of cards for customers with take-home preparation instructions.
Market items include the restaurant’s signature tomato sauce and homemade cheeses, such as buffalo mozzarella and nodini, cured prosciutto, ravioli, lasagna, arancini and giant stuffed portobello mushrooms filled with crab cake.
A favorite are the stuffed dates with chorizo and beef wrapped in pancetta and par-roasted in a wood-fired oven. They are accompanied by coconut tomato sauce accented with cumin, coriander and jalapeño.
Wendy DiBenedetto describes one item as inside-out pizza with “fresh mozzarella and tomato baked in beautiful dough.”
“There’s always something new,” she said.
The market only had been open on Saturday mornings in tandem with the indoor winter version of the Batavia Farmers’ Market hosted on the main floor of the restaurant. The community farmers’ market will head back outdoors June 3.
Hours for The Market at Gaetano’s are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. To learn more, visit facebook.com/themarketatgaetanos and gaetanos.us. A new website is scheduled to be live soon at themarketatgaetanos.com.