Monday, April 07, 2008

Italian Eatery is Home of The Godfather - A Sangwich You Can't Refuse

It's safe to say that few area eateries have their kitchens located in a place that formerly housed a hydraulic hoist for automobiles. Then again, most also aren't named for fictional organized crime business fronts.

The menu at Genco Italian Eatery Genco Italian Eatery - The Home of the Godfather Sangwichprominently features a signature creation known as The Godfather: "a sangwich you can't refuse!" The acclaimed series of books and movies sets the tone for the establishment, which operates out of a renovated filling station north of Lockport's downtown shopping district. Its name is a nod to Genco Abbandando and the Genco Olive Oil Company, a business venture of Mafia don Vito Corleone in the sweeping "Godfather" mafia epics.

Of course, the restaurant's food-preparation area bears little resemblance to its previous incarnation. The oversized car jack is long gone, leaving plenty of room for intensive cooking.

"We make everything homemade here," said Lou Caracci, who owns the restaurant with his business partner, Mike Carter.

When Genco opened four years ago, its focus was centered on sub sandwiches. The selection was later expanded to include pasta, and now there is pizza too.

The lasagna, featuring homemade tomato sauce, is especially popular, Caracci said. Among the subs, the Underboss - a layering of ham, salami, capocollo, Swiss and provolone cheese - goes over especially well.

Pizza possibilities include the popular Tessio - sausage, peppers, onions and mushrooms - and the white versions, such as the Frank Pentangeli (alias Frankie Five Angels, alias Frankie Pants, from "The Godfather Part II"), which features olive oil, garlic, ricotta cheese and tomato. The savory pies are all available with thin crust or, for two bucks more, double dough.

Under the "specialties" heading on the food lineup are oversized sub sandwiches, made in three- and six-foot lengths, and something called Joey Zaza's calzones, named for the mob underling portrayed by Joe Mantegna in "The Godfather Part III."

An extensive catering menu also is available, offering such dishes as "famous pot roast," cooked nice and slow in Grandma's red gravy and spooned over a bed of rigatoni. Grilled tuna steak "served in our infamous wine sauce," tilapia with asparagus in wine sauce and lemon chicken are some of the other catered items available by the half or full pan. Several platters also are available, with themes that include wraps, seafood and fruit, among others. Genco also offers packages priced by the plate for groups of 20 and up.

The establishment does quite a bit of off-site business, Caracci said.

"We've done a lot of TV and movie sets. 'Prison Break' - we did all their food," he said, adding that they also supplied food at the production sites for the movies "The Breakup" and "The Return," part of which was filmed in Naperville last May.

While relocation to a larger space is possible one day, the restaurant's owners are staying put for now. They plan to apply for a beer and wine license later this year, and will be adding a deck for outdoor seating, Caracci said.

Thanks to Susan Frick Carlman

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