PLATTSBURGH — When some people visit the North Country, they can’t help but stay.
For some it’s the natural beauty—the aqueous expanse of Lake Champlain or the jagged silhouette of distant mountains—that keeps them here; for others it’s the people in the community.
For Silvio Amaya, owner of Giuseppe’s Pizza Shop in Consumer Square in Plattsburgh, it was all of those things.
After growing up in El Salvador, Central America, Amaya moved to Washington D.C., where he worked at his first pizzeria.
He liked the job, and after his company sent him to work at a store in Plattsburgh for a couple of months, Amaya decided to stay.
“By the time I got here (to Plattsburgh), I had it in my mind that that’s what I wanted to do,” Amaya said.
He found something here that reminded him of his childhood, and saw a future for himself in the small, northern city.
“Families are close over there, but I see that here, too,” Amaya said. “Plattsburgh is a nice place to grow a family.”
That was back in 1996, and in the nearly 20 years that followed, Giuseppe’s has never changed locations.
Business there has been steady, something Amaya attributes to the quality of the food.
“We make everything homemade,” Amaya said. “Making the dough fresh daily makes a huge difference. The crust is so much better.”
The pizza sauce, and Amaya’s chicken wing sauce, are also made fresh at the store.
The sauce recipes are top-secret, but Amaya said they represent years of working in pizzerias, cobbling together elements of other recipes he liked.
Today, pizza and wings are some of his top sellers, but Giuseppe’s also serves pasta dishes, calzones, salads, wraps, steaks and burgers.
The important thing, he said, is to add items to the menu that people might not have tried before, like chicken brunello, an entree consisting of diced chicken in a tomato, cream and Marsala sauce served over ziti.
And Amaya is not a stranger to trying something new—he recently joined forces with Peter Kritziotis to open Aleka’s in downtown Plattsburgh on Feb. 9.
The restaurant combines Greek and Italian food—the best of both Amaya’s and Kritziotis’ worlds—under one roof.
The menu is a bit different from Giuseppe’s, but both restaurants will make accommodations for their guests.
“If you don’t see something on the menu and want us to try and make it, we will,” Amaya said.