This article was first published in the April 2017 Corn Hill Gazette.
Editor’s note: This month we begin a series highlighting the many fine restaurants in Corn Hill. Look for a different one each month!
Panzari’s Italian Bistro
Panzari’s is the oldest restaurant in Corn Hill, this year celebrating 16 years in the same location, with the same owner/chef, Stan Debkowski. Stan and his wife Reema selected the location at the suggestion of his uncle Amiel (owner of Amiel’s Subs) who felt it had promise, and they all loved the Corn Hill area. Their vision was to create excellent food in a quaint atmosphere, and develop a clientele that would keep coming back. Their hard work has paid off.
Chef Stan has been cooking since his teen years, working at every kitchen job all the way up to Chef. He received culinary training at the Cordon Bleu and spent many years training and managing top restaurants in the Berkshires and Ottawa, Canada, including the Hilton. Reema had managed three restaurants prior to their marriage.
Patrick Richardson, a graduate of the RIT Food and Hospitality program, is the general manager, assisted by Jared Birrettilla, and a staff of 15. Pat has been with Panzari’s for five years.
Since its opening, patrons have seen several changes to the restaurant, most notably the addition of a brick oven for pizza and a bar, added when Panzari’s got a full liquor license. The interior was also updated at that time, but still maintains the coziness of a neighborhood restaurant.
One thing that has not changed over the years is the consistent quality of the food. Chef Stan puts his heart and soul into every dish he creates. “I love what I do,” he says, “and I love the people who come here. I want to give them the best I have. That has always been my guiding principle, taught to me by my father. Always give your best.”
Many Corn Hill residents are “regulars” at Panzari’s. Stan knows them by name and makes it a point to greet them from the kitchen or come out to say hello. It’s also his way of showing his appreciation for their continued patronage.
If you haven’t been to Panzari’s, stop in. You’re in for a treat. Be sure to say hello to Stan and let him know you’re a Corn Hill resident. It’s wise to call for a reservation or make one online. Panzari’s reputation is spreading outside the neighborhood, rating a 4.5 out of 5 at TripAdvisor.
Panzari’s also does take-out, catering and private parties. Visit their website at panzarisitalianbistro.com for the complete menu.