SCHENECTADY — Ferrari’s Ristorante in Schenectady combines a family-run business and food “made with love,” a recipe which has led the local restaurant’s success for the past 50 years.
The Ferrari family opened Ferrari’s Ristorante in 1973. The authentic Italian restaurant, located at 1254 Congress St., has grown and expanded with the community over the years.
Anthony Ferrari cooked in the restaurant’s kitchen for its first 40 years, and has done every job in the eatery, and he now runs it and does more of the behind the scenes aspects with his wife, Rose Ferrari. He has also been the director of finance for the city of Schenectady since 2015.
Ferrari said his parents were immigrants, and had wanted to open a business. When the family opened the restaurant they lived next door. At the time Anthony Ferreari was 17, his brother Vince was 21, and his younger brother Joe was 8 or 9. The brothers, their spouses, and now their children and their families work at Ferrari’s
Ferrari’s is currently open from 4-9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 4-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Ferrari’s has been a part of Schenectady’s history. When it first opened, the corporate headquarters for Schenectady International were located across the street. At the time, General Electric used to have 40,000 workers, Anthony Ferrari said, and Ferrari’s Ristorante served a lot of those people.
The Daily Gazette recently spoke with Anthony and Rose Ferrari about the restaurant:
Question: What are some of the most popular dishes that you serve?
Answer: Our chicken parmesan, we sell a ton of chicken parmesan. We get organic, top-of-the-line chicken, I think that’s why. Also our veal parm and our eggplant parm, holy crow we go through a ton of eggplant. We also serve a lot of seafood. We serve seafood platter whites. We do alfrados. We do haddock dishes. We run different specials every week. I think what makes us the last 50 years is our sauce. We have a great tomato sauce, it’s my mother’s recipe. It’s made with love, that’s what makes it so good, that’s what we tell everybody.
Q: As far as reservations go, are they required? Recommended?
A: We recommend them, but we take walk-ins too. We are kind of a destination place because of where we are, but we take walk-ins. We have a lot of tables, we can seat about 100.
Q: What are some of your favorite things about running this place?
A: Our customers. We’ve met great, great people. We’ve known people here who started dating here and they come for dinner, then they got married and we did their rehearsal dinner, then they had kids and we catered the baptism, and now their kids are coming here. The families, they still come back. We have a good relationship with a lot of our customers.
Q: What could an average family of four expect to spend on dinner?
A:We have great specials Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday we have our chicken parm for $17.95, it comes with pasta. On Wednesdays, we have our pasta night, where you get a bowl of pasta with meatballs or sausage for $10.95. It depends on what they are eating, but if they are on a budget they could spend about $35 and feed a family of four. If they are drinking wine and having steak for dinner then that will cost more, so it really depends on what they are getting.
Q: How would you describe the atmosphere at Ferrari’s?
A: Homey, friendly, it’s still old school, if you go to the old Italian restaurants in Little Italy in New York, that’s what this reminds me of. It’s clean, it’s welcoming. Our customers our great, we have a good time with them.
Q: Why should someone who hasn’t been here before consider coming?
A: We’ve been voted best restaurant for so many years. We have great sauce, large portions.
Just about everything is homemade, we make it here. We make homemade sauce, homemade pastas. We serve large portions, good food, and a good time.
Q: Is there anything else you think people should know?
A: It’s a family-run restaurant, there isn’t that many of those left in this country. We’re not a chain. We’re going on our 50th year, which in the restaurant business is almost unheard of.