MASSENA - Serving up items like The Nick Swisher, The Lenny Dykstra Dog, The Homerun eating challenge and The Big Hurt, Joseph D. Chontosh and his friend Brion Brothers are hoping their newly opened restaurant, Homeplate Deli & Pizzeria is a hit.
Mr. Chontosh said this is their first time running a business, although they both do have experience in the food service industry.
Since opening on the July 3, Mr. Chontosh said customer reaction has been mostly positive.
“We have had a couple complaints, but we worked to get those fixed right away,” he said. “There is a learning curve. It’s a new business for both of us, but I think things are going well. We’re getting better every day.”
As the restaurant’s name would indicate, Homeplate serves pizza and subs, but they also serve up a variety of burgers, hot dogs and appetizers.
Mr. Chontosh and Mr. Brothers are both baseball fans, but their loyalties lie with different teams, as Mr. Chontosh is a Mets fan and Mr. Brothers is a Yankees fan.
While the two men are both fans of New York teams, several other organizations are also represented with the Red Sox, Astros, Texas Rangers, Yankees and Phillies all having menu items named after them. One sandwich on the menu is even named after the Met’s old ballpark, Shea Stadium.
Players honored on the menu include Nick Swisher, Lenny Dykstra, Ty Cobb, CC Sabathia, David Ortiz, Lenny Dykstra and 2014 Hall of Fame inductee Frank Thomas. Other menu items are named simply using baseball terminology - the pick-off, the cutter, the single, hit by pitch, full count and grand slam.
“Both of us were pretty big baseball players and are huge baseball fans,” Mr. Chontosh said, adding both he and Mr. Brothers played varsity baseball for the Massena Red Raiders.
“We tried to do a little bit of everything, as well as use some baseball terminology,” he said, adding the process of coming up with baseball-related names for their menu items took roughly two hours.
Among the more unique offerings at the restaurant are The Big Papi, a hot dog served with bacon and pulled pork on top, and The closer, a pizza served with fresh cut fries, gravy and cheese on top.
Homeplate is also planning to host a couple of eating challenges, although they have yet to delve into competitive eating.
One challenge called The Homerun, is a two-pound burger served with a large order of fries. The first person to complete this challenge will earn a T-shirt and the right to rename the burger with any baseball-related name they like.
A second challenge, called the suicide squeeze, challenges patrons to eat a dozen of the establishment’s hottest chicken wings in 20 minutes without the aid of any beverages or condiments.
“We haven’t actually got a chance to do the challenges yet, but we will,” Mr. Chontosh said.
Homeplate Deli & Pizzeria is located at 527 County Route 42, just seconds from St. Lawrence Centre and minutes from Barnhart Island in the Massena Mini-mart building.
In addition to housing the restaurant, the building also houses a convenience store that is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Homeplate’s kitchen is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Homeplate’s full menu may be found on its website or Facebook page.
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