Roncone’s – More Than A Restaurant Name
Between 1880 and 1920, millions of Southern Italians came to America – tens of thousands to Rochester. Italy's loss was America's gain. For example, one of those immigrants was an extraordinary man named John A. Roncone. Born in 1957, in the town of Pignataro Maggiore (Campania region; Caserta Province), at the age of 27 (1882) he came to Rochester.
Starting as a day laborer, he eventually became a contractor. By 1910, he was operating a grocery store on State Street near the corner of Brown Street. He and his wife Carmela lived around the corner on Frankfort St. In 1915, he moved the store to 515 State and live next door at 513, between Jake and Smith. He became an importer of olive oil, well, sold money orders and became a Commissioner of Deeds. In 1920, he was listed in the city directory as a "banker" associated with P.Nacga& Co. at 422 State. St.
It was very rewarding to read an article in the Democrat and Chronicle on December 20, 2010 because it talked about our restaurant.
by Karen Deyle
A longtime Rochester favorite has re-opened this year under new ownership. In July, Joe Fantauzzo took the helm at Roncone's, a Lyell Avenue institution.
Fantauzzo brings years of restaurant ownership experience including the Cactus Café and Barkley's. Roncone's dates back to 1937, and is an anchor in what Fantauzzo calls "The Italian Triangle" that also includes nearby classic establishments Rocky's and Antonetta's.
He finds the sense of family and the trove of customer memories one of the best aspects of Roncone's. Many couples tell him about how they met there, or how it was a favorite of their parents. It's also his family that is helping to continue that tradition. Son-in-law Josh Ribble is chef, bringing experience from years at Charley Brown's Restaurant in Penfield and a stint at Richardson's Canal House. Daughter Sarah assists in the front of the house on Fridays and Saturdays. Long-time Rochesterians will also remember Johnny "Foof" Furfaro, formerly of Sir Richard's who makes the rounds of the dining room on Saturday nights. All in all, it's a place with lots of history, infused with new energy.