VICTOR, N.Y. (WROC) — These people are in line for a hidden Victor gem. A food cart tucked away on the corner of Rt. 96 and Maple. A man named Giovanni Gullace is serving his beloved food for the last time.
“My last day. It feels good, but it feels bad, because I enjoy doing this kind of work. I enjoy serving people, and give them really good food,” said Giovanni Gullace.
Gullace is 78. He used to have a restaurant in Farmington for 18 years. He sold that business, and went into retirement. He said he got tired of that, and opened a one-man lunch cart . He opened this cart 30 years and three weeks ago, right in the heart of Victor.
“I wanted to do something special, which not too many people do,” Gullace said. “So I make everything homemade, and specialty chicken sandwiches, steak sandwiches, and I’ve really done a nice job with them. I want to prepare real food that we used to do years ago.”
Everything at his lunch cart is fresh. He prepares every morning, making sure his ingredients are up to par. But when it comes time to serve, his wife June helps out, as does Nick Bodine. Bodine has worked with Gullace for ten years. He just came to the stand for a hamburger, and he was offered a job.
“It’s great. It’s going to be hard because the last ten years of my life I’ve been coming down here, every day after work,” said Bodine. “Helping Giovanni out, helping him clean up. Always informational conversations, and a lot of humor, and I don’t know. We’ll see what’s next.”
Hard work and determination runs in the family. All of three of Gio’s kids started off working for Gio. One is an architect, one is a pilot, and one works for Xerox. Though the love of the restaurant business might have skipped a generation, to his grandson, Alcide.
“I like to cook chicken,” he exclaimed.
Everyone who frequents the cart might have a different favorite, but almost everyone can agree: The homemade french fries are a hit
“Today? I cut about 150. Yesterday I cut 210,” Gullace said.
For the people in the community, it was a bittersweet day. Andrea Rohr at Sandy’s Beauty Shop, has been “work neighbors” with Gio for thirty years.
“Hundreds, hundreds of times,” Rohr said. “He’s a lovely, lovely neighbor. We’re going to miss him terribly. This is a sad day for all of us.”
Rohr doesn’t just mean with the everyday lunch. She says Gio and his wife June mean even more to Victor.
“They’ve done so many things for the community,” Rohr said. “Making pasta dinners for the school kids for fundraisers. Back in 1991 when we had the ice storm and no one had any power, Giovanni was out here with his cart, making coffee for everyone. And I don’t think he even charged anybody. We’re all going to miss them. Especially all the people who work in this area.”
While people will miss “Gio” the man, they will certainly miss the food. Sandra Geiger has been eating at the stand for over a decade.
“I’d like to see Chef Ramsey make a cookoff with Giovanni’s Italian food, and I’ll bet you anything Giovanni would win,” Geiger said.
“I appreciate it, because I’ve done a good job for those people, and people appreciate me, and I appreciate them,” Gullace said. “I feel bad because I really love this work. I love when I cook for the people, they walk away, they are happy. That’s what I love about it.”