Chef: Whitey Proietti
As a person of Italian heritage, I know firsthand that there is no substitute for real Italian food made from scratch, slow cooked with love using fresh ingredients from the garden. Chef Whitey Proietti takes the same approach, and it’s been just as good for his spirit as it was for my palette. He has been feeding people for 53 years and informed me, “I haven’t worked a day in my life”. You can taste his love for cooking in every bite he serves at his popular, long standing Webster, NY restaurant.
We visited on a weeknight in July when the restaurant was bustling with regulars, as usual (we even spotted local radio personality Brother Wease!). It was easy to see why the tables stay full all year long. We were blown away by everything we ordered, but two dishes stood out as table favorites – the Squash Ravioli, and the Chicken Riggies. Weeks later, I still find myself dreaming of them.
A specialty dish which originated in the Utica/Rome area, the Chicken Riggies are a well known customer favorite at Proietti’s, and with good reason. Their distinctive variation on this local favorite starts with a mouth watering sauce made by combing the restaurant’s scratch made marinara and alfredo with just a touch of their Arrabiata sauce. Sauteed chicken and sweet peppers are tossed with plump rigatoni and then the entire dish is treated to a luxurious coating of that fabulous sauce. The result is a creamy, tangy, richly flavored dish with just the right touch of heat – enough to make it memorable and cut through the richness of the sauce, without overwhelming the palette.
The generous portion size provided plenty for us to take home and enjoy another day, and I think I speak for our entire party when I say, I look forward to enjoying many more meals from Proietti’s in the future.
-Amy Riposo, A-List Editor