Extreme Makeover: Restaurant-Style to Transform Landmark Schenectady Restaurant

Extreme Makeover: Restaurant-Style to Transform Landmark Schenectady RestaurantCornell’s Restaurant to Rebrand as Cornells in Little Italy

The landmark Italian eatery, Cornell’s Restaurant, will begin a new chapter on Monday, May 2, with a Grand Re-Opening celebration. The doors at “Cornells in Little Italy” will reopen to a newly refreshed and invigorated restaurant – from interior to exterior and kitchen to cuisine.

On Monday, April 18, Cornells closed for two weeks of renovation and will unveil their new look at 4pm, May 2, with a ceremonial ribbon-style cutting of a 7-foot long loaf of bread provided by neighbor and fellow “Little Italy” landmark Perreca’s Bakery.

The ceremony will be followed by a Grand Re-Opening Fundraising Open House to benefit the Education Fund at Proctors. Guests will be treated to complimentary food samplings featuring Cornells Classic Italian fare and Signature dishes from the new menu, along with beer, wine, and soft beverages.

Tickets for the fundraiser are $20 per person and available only at Proctors’ box office or online at Proctors.org.

Education Director at Proctors, Christine Sheehan, said, “Our Education Fund helps us provide a dynamic education program for young people and adults alike, with in-school, after-school, and community programs, as well as teacher events and summer training programs.

Connie and Jack Hume and George Ryon became partners in Cornell’s, acquiring the restaurant from its former owner in 2011. Since that time the cuisine, service, building, and atmosphere have remained the same. With the growing popularity of Schenectady’s “Little Italy” section on North Jay Street, they decided the time was ripe to upgrade the facility and re-energize the cuisine and restaurant in consultation with widely acclaimed Chef Dale Miller, CMC, WGMC, AAC, President of Master Chef Consulting.

Chef Miller is known locally for the turnaround of several prominent restaurants including Jack’s Oyster House, The Inn at Erlowest, and Sperry’s. “We intend to honor Cornells long-rooted traditions while adding contemporary elements to the food,” said Chef Miller. “We’re going to wrap guests in that blanket of old-world aromas and flavors, elevated by passion and inspiration from emerging culinary trends.”

To ensure the continued success of Cornells renaissance, a dynamic team of seasoned professionals has been assembled. As General Manager, Terri DeVoe will oversee day-to-day operations and be the cornerstone in raising the standards of Front of House service. She brings to Cornells over 30 years of hospitality experience including, most recently, a successful six years as General Manager of the boutique 74 State Hotel in Albany.

Chef Luca Brunelle, CEC, will take over as Executive Chef. Chef Brunelle recently served as executive chef at Nicole’s Restaurant and Catering in Albany, and has been satisfying palates at area restaurants for over a decade, including Bellini’s Italian Eatery, Brown’s Brewing Company, and Jack’s Oyster House.

Donna Jackson, a valued 16-year veteran of Cornells, will continue as ambassador of guest services in her role as Assistant Manager.

“With all of the positive changes and enhanced level of service,” said Chef Miller, “Cornells in Little Italy will remain comfortable and unpretentious; a place where you can bring friends and family to enjoy a dish of fresh-made cavatelli, a glass of wine from a creative list, or a carefully crafted cocktail, all while being made to feel like a treasured friend. That’s the heart of great Italian hospitality.”

For more information or reservations, visit www.cornellsrestaurant.com or call 518-370-3825.

Opened in 1943 in Schenectady, Cornell’s Restaurant offered authentic Italian fare under the direction of Nicholas and Pasqualina Cornell. In search of additional seating capacity and a banquet facility, the restaurant relocated to 39 North Jay Street in 2003.

Now under new management, the restaurant has been completely renovated and has updated their name to reflect its location in the “Little Italy” district of Schenectady. Cornells continues the tradition of serving classic Italian dishes combined with new regional elements and is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Their banquet room is available for corporate or private events. For more information, visit www.cornellsrestaurant.com.

Proctors is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) cultural, educational and charitable organization that delivers exciting shows, excellent educational programming and community events to the extended Capital Region.