Friday, January 30, 2015 - 9:02:30 AM

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Gusto Kicks Off Endicott's First Restaurant Week

The ninth annual Gusto Neighborhood Block Party was held in preparation for the first ever Restaurant Week in the Village of Endicott.

A steady influx of people filtered through Little Italy in Endicott throughout the evening, and enjoyed live entertainment, as well as  plenty of food.

On this small road in Endicott lives a community with an enormous amount of pride.

"I've always just been drawn to the whole "little italy. it really touches my heart. my grandmother came from italy. i just love the whole feel. i love the whole vibe of it," said Aimee Szwalla, owner of L'amore Caffe.

Aimee Szwalla owns L'amore Caffe in the village of Endicott's Little Italy. She says the best way to pass down her grandmother's heritage is by making great Italian food.

"That's what I do, I cook. Everything I do, I make with love,"  said Szwalla.

Across the street from L'amore Caffee, Joey's Pizzeria. Joey himself says his restaurant is only a small part of the rich history of Italians in the village.

"The north side of Endicott was Italy forever. It was all Italians, settled by Italians, and we are trying to bring back the Italian heritage. That is what this is," said Joseph De Gennaro of Joey's Pizzeria.

Endicott residents may come and go, but many return to events like gusto to enjoy the area's delicious cuisine.

"Without question, if you ask anybody where the best food is, in a biased sense, it's Endicott,"  said Endicott Mayor John Bertoni.

"i've lived all over the world, and nothing compares to the food in Endicott," Kim Osmond, Endicott Restaurant Week Organizer.

But above all else, Endicott residents say they come out to these social gatherings to see fellow community members, whom they consider more than just good friends.

"(You) get to know them like family. There's so many people I know (on a) first name basis, and you get waves and yells out the window. It's fantastic. I love it,"  said De Gennaro.

"It's almost like the TV show "Cheers". When everybody said "hey!" whenever somebody came in the door. That's how it is here. Everybody welcomed with a smile. Everybody knows everybody's first name. It's just a nice way for everybody to get together and it's a great hangout,"  said Szwalla.

The first ever restaurant week in the Village of Endicott will begin this weekend.


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