SCHENECTADY — Scotti’s Restaurant & Pizzeria has been a staple on Upper Union Street in Schenectady for decades.
Scotti’s opened in 1966 as a pizza and pasta restaurant. Owner Guy Sementilli, the restaurant’s third owner, took over in 1994. He said he has expanded the menu and added numerous popular dishes.
“Next year we’re celebrating 30 years, which is mind blowing,” Sementilli said.
The restaurant is open four nights a week, Wednesday through Saturday from 4-9 p.m.
The restaurant has about 25 staff members between full and part-time employees. Sementilli says he’s “blessed” with a long-time and loyal staff. He runs the back of the restaurant as owner and chef, and his daughter’ Isabella Sementilli, runs the front of the restaurant as the bartender and hostess.
The restaurant seats about 70 with the inside space and the newer front room patio. Sementilli says each year the restaurant seems to get more and more busy.
“Being in business for almost 30 years, I’ve seen so many restaurants come and go,” Sementilli said. “I’ve been very fortunate that we have thrived and have been able to invest and add to the restaurant over the years.
Q: What are some of the most popular dishes the restaurant offers?
A. “For an appetizer, our hot antipasto is quite popular, that has shrimp, squid, clams in a marinara sauce with mushrooms, peppers and eggplant. We also have our porkchop, bone-in which is phenomenal, and our chicken white wine is probably our most popular dish [a chicken cutlet sauteed with wine, mushrooms, butter and topped with mozzarella.] It’s all good.”
Everything is made to order, there are no heating lamps, or microwaves at Scotti’s, Sementilli said. It is also owner-operated. Sementilli is in the kitchen every night.
Q: What about reservations? Are they required/recommended?
A. “We only used to take reservations for big parties, like six or more, pre-COVID,” Sementilli said. “Then when COVID hit we started taking reservations when the governor said 50% only. So I wanted to avoid large crowds and long lines and I stuck with it. So, reservations are strongly recommended.”
The restaurant always fills up at least once a night.
“We’re only open for four-and-a-half hours, the whole idea is to get that turnover obviously. You definitely want to seat twice, keeps everyone busy.”
Q: What are some of your favorite parts about running your restaurant?
A“My favorite part is basically fulfilling the customers’ satisfaction every time they come in here. Just to make sure they always come in they always expect a good, quality meal, and the friendly service that we provide, giving that customer that full experience, and making sure when they leave they’re happy, that’s what it’s all about.”
The restaurant has developed a very loyal clientele after nearly 30 years. They expect quality food and service, he said.
Q: What would an average family of four expect to spend on a meal at your restaurant?
A. “A family of four, probably right around $100, it all depends if they are getting alcohol, or appetizers,” Sementilli said. “A couple could spend around the same if they each got a few drinks with their meals and some appetizers. It all really depends on what they want to do.”
Q: How would you describe the restaurant’s atmosphere?
A. “It’s cozy, laidback, clean, personable, it’s inviting.”
Q: Why should someone come eat at your restaurant this week?
A. “If you want a great, quality meal with friendly service, this is where you want to be.”
More Link: A look around Scotti’s Restaurant & Pizzeria in Schenectady (10 photos)
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