Success Stories

Minissale’s Wine Cellar Café

For four decades, the Minissale family has satisfied Troy, NY, locals with fresh-tasting, flavorful Italian specialties, made from consistently superior ingredients and served with “real Italian” hospitality!

Second-generation owners, brothers Phil and Ted Minissale, became accomplished cooks early on. But what they learned about managing restaurants, they learned on the job. Their most important lesson was that what reliably brings customers back for more is making their food taste extraordinarily fresh. For that reason, they insist on preparing all dishes, including individual pasta servings, to order, starting with the most flavorful, highest quality ingredients.

Starting with only the freshest tasting ingredients requires paying especially close attention to produce flavor, quality, and condition, both at the moment it is delivered by the Distributor and again while it is being stored in the walk in.

Additionally, they prefer to order perishables in smaller quantities, more often, to keep their fresh inventory frequently rotated. The same is true for fresh proteins (veal, chicken, etc.). The key is ensuring that each ingredient gets used at the height of its flavor so that those especially lively aromas and flavors are included in the finished foods enjoyed by customers. This raises an important point regarding the family’s business priorities.

Whenever a tough decision arises between maximizing superior flavor and minimizing cost, the Minissales always choose flavor first, even ifthat means spending a bit more for superior ingredients or not using a perfectly wholesome ingredient because it is not as flavorful as it should be. Ironically, paying close daily attention to fresh ingredient quality helps them better manage their inventory and avoid costly waste.

As for “real Italian” hospitality, their family strives to embrace each guest with the same genuine respect you would show to a favorite aunt or uncle who had traveled a long distance to see you. In other words, the family members who serve guests work to make each table feel like they are the center of attention, no matter what might be happening behind the scenes.

So, for example, should the kitchen start falling behind on orders, servers automatically and seamlessly make more bread appear at guests’ tables.

Similarly, if demand is unexpectedly high for a particular item (e.g., veal chops), without revealing that fact, servers automatically and sincerely begin greeting arriving guests with inviting descriptions of another house specialty, like their Pork Osso Buco.

From time to time, the brothers also like to make regulars feel like rock stars by treating them to “a little taste of something special” not on the menu and asking their opinion or occasionally treating a guest to a glass of wine “on the house.”

As a result of these “back to basics” concepts, the Minissale family’s restaurant remains just as popular today as ever!