EAST ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Northside Inn, a beloved Italian family restaurant in East Rochester celebrated its last few days in service last weekend.
Co-owner Dennis Verni says it’s an emotional feeling to be shutting the doors after years of running this family restaurant.
“My father would be beaming up there right now, he really would,” he said.
The Northside Inn has been passed down from generation to generation for almost 100 years, with everyone in the family chipping in wherever they can best, whether that’s his mother’s cooking or his sister’s diligence.
Among many family members, Verni highlighted his mother’s cooking and his sister’s diligence.
“My father out in front, ‘No-Nox.’ Everyone knows ‘No-Nox,’ he’s a legend,” Verni said. “My mother was the real boss, my sister, uncle Bill — he was there too.”
Despite a tight family running the ship, the Inn began to face struggles over the years. Internationally, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a series of challenges for the entire service industry. Despite having being back to in-person services, issues still linger.
Verni said that he and his brother Don have never really fully recovered.
“We’re tired, we’re exhausted, we’re just trying to keep going and it gets tougher every day just to keep going,” he said.
Retirement felt natural for the two, Verni explained.
The soon-to-be owners of the space once occupied by Northside Inn said that their restaurant’s transition felt just as natural.
Two close friends and colleagues, Matthew and Jenny Gervasi, were looking to move their business into the suburbs.
The couple owned Lucca Kitchen and Cocktails in North Winton Village and were looking for a fresh start in a new spot.
“We just had a daughter, she came Halloween this past year, Gianna,” Gervasi said. “We’re doing the new parent thing and now we’re doing the transition to restaurant as well. [The Northside] is closer to home for us.”
The timing was perfect for both parties.
“We’re getting old the kids don’t want it,” said Verni. “One thing led to another.”
Now, under the Gervasi ownership, Lucca’s Northside Kitchen opens in July.
And while it’s hard saying goodbye to the Vernis, the memories are what last.
“Through all the years, we’ve met absolutely fantastic people and we’ve met people from all walks of life, I know people they go to Florida, they know The Northside, they go to Tennessee, Vegas and they say their names or whatever and people all over the country know The Northside,” Verni said.
Lucca’s Northside Kitchen opens July 15, in the same spot as the former Northside Inn.
Verni says he and his brother will be around to help assist the Gervasi’s throughout their journey.