The Cafe Vas and the Luna Piena Bistro

[12/3/10] If you’re interested in information about the Luna Piena Bistro, click on Democrat and Chronicle reviewIf you’re interested in my rambling thoughts about neighborhood restaurants, read on.

[6/18/10] For the past four or so years, my neighborhood has had a nice little place called the Cafe Vas.  In nice weather, I could sit outdoors on a patio in nice weather, sip iced tea and munch on one of their specialty sandwiches. They also served gourmet coffee, but I’m not much of a one for that.  It was about a 5- or 10-minute walk from my house, and I was sorry to see it close.

The other day I saw a big banner across the front of the building – Luna Piena Bistro – Opening Soon!

It reminded me of an article I read years ago – it may have been by John Kenneth Galbraith when he was alive – about the New England resort hotel industry.  Galbraith said that most people who go into the resort hotel business don’t know what they’re doing and fail, but each time they sell at a loss, they make it easier for the next person who takes over the premises. Eventually someone is smart enough and lucky enough to succeed, in part because of the sunk costs and sweat equity put into the property by the previous owners.

I don’t know whether that kind of cycle exists in Rochester or, for that matter, in New England, but I like the Galbraith’s notion because it is the way the capitalistic free enterprise system should work.  The entrepreneur bears all the risks of failure, but both the public and the entrepreneur benefit from the entrepreneur’s success.

It is just the opposite of executives of a big bank or big oil company who take chances with the financial system or the environment and suffer no consequences from failure except maybe having to walk away from the game.

[Update 8/6/10]  I walked by the Luna Piena Bistro this afternoon and saw a sign saying it is open for lunch and brunch.  It is located at 564 Merchants Road, Rochester, NY 14609, at the corner of Wyand Crescent where Wyand continues as Wisconsin Street.

[Update 8/9/10]  I walked over to Luna Piena at 11:15 this morning.  It was closed, and there was no open for lunch and brunch sign, just their Opening Soon sign.

[Update 8/13/10]  I had supper at Luna Piena this evening.  It is a bit different from the Cafe Vas – not so much a neighborhood hangout where I’d sit on the patio, munch a sandwich and read as a place a family or a couple of friends would go for lunch or dinner if they wanted a really nice (though moderately priced) meal with wine.  I had a gourmet pizza – very tasty, with a nice thin crust.

One of the benefits of living in the city of Rochester, particularly my part of the city, is the number of nice restaurants and other neighborhood amenities within walking distance of my front door.

My favorite restaurant in Rochester, not just in my neighborhood, is the Golden Fox Restaurant, 1115 Culver Road, which is a short distance from my house.  I have patronized it since I moved into the neigborhood a little over 20 years ago.  They serve hearty Greek and standard American food, well-prepared, in large portions and at good prices.

I am partial to James Brown’s Place, 1356 Culver Road, for its Cajun-style barbecue.  It is a small diner, but I’m told it is a cult favorite in certain circles, drawing people in from Irondequoit and other suburbs. It is my favorite barbecue place in town, although I also like  Sticky Lips Pit BBQ, 625 Culver Road, which also is in walking distance in nice weather.

There are other neighborhood restaurants I like, but I’ll not try to list them all.  The more I list, the more the implied criticism of the ones I leave off. Also, I don’t claim to be a food critic, don’t claim to offer a restaurant guide, and don’t promise to keep the information in this post up to date. This web log is a vehicle for expression of personal opinion, nothing more.

[Update 8/17/10]

Today this post became the 4th most-viewed of the 264 posts I have made since starting this web log in January of this year.  The number of views does not, of course, have anything to do with the content of the post. Almost all the views come from Google searches which wind up here because Luna Piena does not have its own home page.  I thought of removing this post from my list of Most-Viewed Posts, but then I thought that I don’t know why anybody chooses to view any particular post.

The moral is that, in this day and age, any business should have its own web page.

[Update 8/19/10]

My friend Walter thinks it would be a good idea if the City of Rochester Economic Development Department would sent around a roving ambassador to new businesses such as the Cafe Vas when it opened, and give them tips on business practices they need to know in order to succeed.  I don’t know if it is feasiable to send out such an ambassador, and I don’t know if such a person’s advice would be heeded.  I do know there are a lot of enterprises that provide valuable services that can’t seem to make a go of it.

I just got back from lunch at the Greenhouse Cafe, 2271 East Main St., in a former flower shop about half a block west east of North Winton Road.  It is open for lunch Wednesday through Sunday, and serves interesting sandwiches, soups and salads at reasonable prices.  The place is full of plants and planters, and there is service indoors and on a patio in back.  The back area is a former greenhouse, with awnings to protect diners from the sun and the overhead glass panels removed to avoid a “greenhouse effect.”  I hope they make it.

I resolved earlier that I would not mention all the restaurants within walking distance of my house that I like, because (1) the more I mention, the more conspicuous would be the absence of the others, and (2) the fact that I don’t happen to patronize a particular restaurant doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with it.  I hope all the restaurants in my neighborhood succeed, and all the other businesses as well.

That said, I do want to mention that I had a really good bargain breakfast special the other day at the Morningstar Greek-American Restaurant at 850 Merchants Road.

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One Response to “The Cafe Vas and the Luna Piena Bistro”

  1. Mark Jackson Says:

    “. . .any business should have its own web page.”

    Failing that, a listing in the RocWiki can’t hurt:

    (Feel free to add more information if you have it.)


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