GOUVERNEUR The owners of Gregs Restaurant are rolling out homemade pies and butter tarts while they wait for the restaurant to sell so they can open an occupational therapy and chiropractic center.
I am going to open my practice here in the north country, said Renee J. Petitto, a recent graduate of New York Chiropractic College, Seneca Falls. Pies are just a hobby for me. Its fulfilling and artistic. It reminds me of being a child and helping my mother.
Mrs. Petittos husband, Carl A., who took over the restaurant from his parents in 2008, wants to return to being an occupational therapist in private practice with his wife.
He has not been able to find time for referrals while running the restaurant, so he is marketing the 8 Rock Island St. eatery, the three-family house next door at 205 E. Main St. and 18 Rock Island St., an adjacent three-bedroom property. In total, the corner is a 52,779-square-foot parcel. The restaurant, which is not closing, could be a turnkey operation on its own.
Its established, Mr. Petitto said.
Gregs is part of a long tradition. It was started in 1984 by Mr. Petittos parents, Greg and Carolyn J. Petitto. His grandparents, Carl and Lucille Petitto, and their partners, Mario and Judy DeCastro, purchased the Roma Restaurant in 1962 from Michaelangelo P. and Eleanor DeCastro. A Gouverneur landmark, the Roma closed in 1997.
I love food. I love to eat, Mr. Petitto said. I grew up in the restaurant business.
While waiting to open her practice, Mrs. Petitto, a native of Cobourg, Ontario, decided to bring her own taste of home to the restaurant, which has specialized in old-world family recipes.
I just miss my mothers pies and butter tarts, she said.
Butter tarts, a quintessential Canadian dessert, have a creamier filling than a similar-tasting pecan pie, with or without nuts.
Mrs. Petitto loves everything about making pie.
You connect with it. Its distinctive. You put it in the oven. You smell it and it reminds you of home, she said. I put it on the ledge and the steam comes out. Its a little bit of a journey.
Pies are made with fresh fruit Mrs. Petitto peels herself. Her crust is a secret, although she is not opposed to tweaking the ingredients.
Its quite a skill, the crust, she said. I want it to be the best pie someone has ever tasted.
Ten-inch, deep-dish, double-crust whole pies sell for $20. A slice is $3.95.
Mrs. Petittos own favorite is the apple pie her mother, Debra J. Aquilina, makes.
Mine doesnt quite taste like hers, Mrs. Petitto said.