The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Gala Awards dinner from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at the Niagara Falls Country Club.
The event begins with a cocktail hour followed by a sit-down dinner and awards program. The chamber board of directors will then present awards to Business of the Year and Citizen of the Year honorees from the Lewiston, Youngstown, Ransomville and Sanborn communities. In addition, a silent and basket auction will take place.
Tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce office, 895 Center St., Lewiston.
By Jennifer Pauly
Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce
The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce The Youngstown Galley as the 2019 Youngstown Business of the Year.
This award is given to a business or organization that has showed dedication and service to the community and their profession. The Youngstown Galley has made its home in the historic village, quickly weaving itself into the fabric of the community.
Before becoming a well-known baker, chef and business owner, Rebecca Poletti’s career choice was to become a make-up artist in Hollywood. She referenced a great story as to how she fell into this career: Rebecca learned how to bake when Judge Anthony Certo asked her to make pies for a dinner. Not one to disappoint, Rebecca did not want to tell him she didn’t know how to bake. Having a mother as a baker, she was a quick learner and, now, 38 years later, has been delighting customers ever since.
Rebecca started Mangia Cakes Bakery in 1982. She has had several locations in the region and has transformed the business from originally making cakes and homemade pies, to serving breakfast and lunch (Mangia Café in Lewiston).
She added in dinner with a beer and wine menu at the Galley in Youngstown.
In 2017, Rebecca moved from her location on Center Street in Lewiston, known as Mangia Café, to her current location at 400 Main St., in the Village of Youngstown. She didn’t want to leave her Lewiston location, but a local contractor knew the Main Street building was available and mentioned it to Rebecca. She drove by the location, signed the papers the next day, and started to create her business plan for The Youngstown Galley. This included selling her house and moving into the apartment upstairs.
The restaurant has been built into a historic building dating back to the 1840s. The structure was originally a general store and formerly Ashker’s Cafe.
The Youngstown Galley is open five days a week (Wednesday through Sunday) for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hours vary – opening a little later on Wednesday and Thursday, and modeling a European approach with a short closing break between 2-4 p.m. Some of the specialties on the menu include the pancakes (several varieties), “Becky’s Famous Quiche” and the “Galley Benney.”
Beer and wine were something Rebecca wasn’t able to carry in Lewiston, and it has paired nicely with her dinner crowd. Rebecca has added stuffed burgers to the menu with the help of her son, Matthew, who has broadened the offerings to add additional entrees.
The ice cream shop is a delight to the multitudes of young soccer athletes eager to cool off with a tasty treat. It is located on the side of the Galley building and operates during the busy summer season. Rebecca plans to open in April this year.
With all of the great additions to the restaurant, one can still order Rebecca’s cakes and pies (pre-order) for special celebrations.
Rebecca has a steady stream of regular customers throughout the year, with a noticeable tourist crowd during the summer. Many of the tourists stop on their way to or from Old Fort Niagara. The staff enjoys striking up a conversation with tourists, noting where they are from and how they found the Village of Youngstown. Rebecca’s staff ranges from 15 in the busy summer months to seven the remainder of the year.
The Youngstown Galley has eased right into the peaceful nature of Youngstown life. Rebecca enjoys the unique lifestyle the village embodies. People are kind, customers are nice, and everything slows down just enough to enjoy the company in front of you. Rebecca has found a home in Youngstown for herself and her business. She also is an active member of the chamber, as well as the YBPA.
The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce proudly congratulates The Youngstown Galley, the 2019 Youngstown Business of the Year.