520 E Sheridan St Ely
Victor Gozzi, the original owner of Sir G Italian Restaurant in Ely, is said to have come up with the establishment's unique name as a way to honor his mother Salvarni Ida, and father, Ruggero Gozzi.
However, many who had the good fortune to meet Gozzi claim that it is really reflective of the knightly status he bestowed upon himself. Regardless of the origin of the name, current owner, Jim Buchner, has continued to maintain the high standards of freshness that Gozzi used to make Sir G’s a staple of the Ely economy.
Gozzi found it impossible to find pasta on the commercial market made without added preservatives. He also found no assurance that the highest quality ingredients were being used in the manufacturing process. That meant the only way to guarantee the quality was to make it himself. Jim shares that belief today.
All of Sir G’s pastas are made using one of three extruders on site. And none of it sits in the freezer for extended periods of time.
“We make almost everything fresh and entirely from scratch,” said Jim. “And we even use equipment imported from Italy to do it. We also get all of our meats locally and spice them ourselves. I think it’s really what makes us successful. The quality of our food is our driving force.”
Jim has even made the extra effort to go beyond the vendors, directly to the growers and processors, insuring they understand his needs so that he can continue to receive the consistent quality necessary to create the food his customers expect and deserve while dining at his restaurant. He’s even gone so far as to meet with local butchers to set up the quality guidelines that are continuously being reviewed and met.
“It’s really all about the customer,” said Jim. “We do everything we can to keep people coming back. We have a lot of regular customers that wouldn’t have us change a thing, so we don’t. A lot of them have become ‘old friends’ because of this. We’re also always looking to impress new customers enough to make them into what we consider ‘old friends.’”
While Sir G’s pasta has always been a hit, many people come for the pizzas.
The cook staff at Sir G’s make their own dough and hand blend spices into each batch of sauce. They are also extremely selective about the cheese that they use.
“Of all the cheeses we’ve tested, only one is approved for use in the restaurant,” Jim said. “We use nearly 500 pounds per week so it has to have just the right taste and texture.”
The highest quality ingredients, combined with the specialized equipment and the time spent to make the products, all contribute to meeting the high standard set by Gozzi. According to Jim, these things will never be compromised.
“Continually meeting this standard is very expensive,” said Jim. “Many people would expect to pay high prices reflective of the extra efforts that go into the making of our menu items. However, I think most customers are pleasantly surprised at how affordable we are. We pride ourselves in that quality and value and continually strive toward it.”
For Jim, and the entire Sir G’s staff, quality and customer service will continue to be top priority, now, and into the future.