Work is underway at the Canandaigua restaurant for rooftop dining in spring 2020
CANANDAIGUA — Depending on the time of day, you’ll be able to see the Finger Lakes Railway train chugging in.
Most times, you’ll be able to admire the architecture of the historic buildings lining Main Street — including City Hall and Ontario County Courthouse. And in the other direction, that slice of blue — at least on sunny days — is Canandaigua Lake.
Off to the rear is the Mill Street pavilion, where the Canandaigua Farmers Market gathers.
Things are looking up at Nick’s Chophouse, which is in the process of constructing a rooftop dining area. In case you didn’t know, this explains the flurry of high-rise activity in the city about a month ago.
“I was up here for the Fourth of July, before any of this happened, just to see the view you’d have,” said Nick Fabbio, the “Nick” of Nick’s Chophouse. “You get the best shot of the fireworks. Amazing.”
His father, Pete Fabbio, who owns the building and is semi-retired from the construction business, and Nick, who manages the restaurant, are doing much of the construction work themselves. Yes, that means lugging gear up and down ladders regularly, but there is a payoff.
“I love rooftops,” Pete Fabbio said. “The building is a perfect building for it. Look at the view.”
For now, diners will have to be satisfied with this sneak peek from the top. The rooftop dining area, which they believe will be one of the few in the entire Finger Lakes region, is expected to open in the spring.
“It is a definite game-changer, a one-of-a-kind kind of thing,” Pete Fabbio said.
The new space will have seating for about 120 people, with a huge full-service bar, tables, lounge furniture and just enough lighting to see what you’re doing up there, but not enough to distract from the unique views of Canandaigua.
The steakhouse, which opened at the corner of Beeman and South Main streets in 2014, is noted for its meat and seafood dishes.
But customers upstairs will see an expanded pub menu, with burgers, chicken wings, pizzas, salads and the like. Also, different varieties of craft beers that are not served downstairs may be added to the upstairs beverage list.
Denise Chaapel, manager of the downtown Canandaigua Business Improvement District, said the rooftop is the talk of every meeting she has been involved in lately.
“I’m just so super excited,” Chaapel said. “People are seeing it when they drive up Main Street and are saying, ‘Whoa! What is that?’”
The rooftop also offers a bird’s-eye view of the new Gleason’s establishment, which is replacing the former Pickering Pub and also is in the process of adding rooftop service.
These projects, along with movement toward a proposed mixed-use project at the former Tom’s Mobil site on South Main Street and development of the Lisk property on Gorham Street, are adding spice to the city, Nick Fabbio said.
“Canandaigua’s starting to look like a happening place,” Nick Fabbio said. “You have young people with promising careers, you have the lake, a happening downtown scene — it doesn’t sound like that bad of a place.”
Again, more work needs to be done, with railing — of course a very important piece for a rooftop project — coming soon, before the new space opens. Also, an elevator shaft will be built soon, in anticipation of the elevator itself coming sometime during the winter.
Count Nick Fabbio as one of those who can’t wait for the opening.
Customers already are saying they can’t wait to try it out and hope it would open this year. Pete Fabbio said even if it was possible, no. But when it does open, he said it will be a great addition to downtown Canandaigua.
“It will bring a lot of people here,” he said. “I think it will be a big boost to the city.”