BATAVIA — At Fortune’s Restaurant, the signature dish isn’t a specific meal, it’s an ingredient that is found in nearly a third of the menu – homemade pasta.
Head chef Andy Beedham prides himself on the homemade linguini, spaghetti, trottola, lasagna, ravioli and penne his restaurant makes fresh every morning. In fact, he has an employee who does just that.
“It’s all about freshness, quality and taste,” said Beedham, who created the menu at the Italian restaurant inside Batavia Downs, 8315 Park Road.
Of course, pasta contains just three ingredients: eggs, flour and salt. But when a restaurant churns out upwards of 50 pounds of pasta a day, hours of prep time are needed.
“It’s a lot of pasta,” Beedham said. “That’s why it’s very time consuming. But the quality is there.”
Even more pasta is prepared on Mondays when Fortune's holds its all-you-can-eat spaghetti special from 4 to 10 p.m. It costs $10.95.
The menu features classics like spaghetti bolognese, penne primavera, and linguini alfredo, but Beedham has augmented it with his upscale takes on frutti di mare, fra diavolo and trottola boscaiola. He calls the frutti di mare, a linguini dish with shrimp, mussels and scallops in a garlic and seafood broth, his favorite.
“When I go out to eat,” he said, “that’s what I eat.”
Making homemade pasta is a time-consuming process – Fortune’s spends three hours each day on it – but it’s a step that true pasta lovers will appreciate. Beedham and Fred Hamilton, director of food and beverage at Batavia Downs, both say it’s that extra step, the choice not to use boxed pasta, that has built a clientele.
“We get people coming in from Buffalo and Rochester for our food,” Hamilton said. “And we’re kind of an old-world county with a lot of older Italian people. They really enjoy the freshness and quality of the pasta. That means a lot to us.”
Beedham, a 2004 graduate of Le Roy High School, has worked in the various Batavia Downs kitchen for eight years. He became head chef two years ago, just at Fortune’s opened. Prior to that, he admits, he never prepared homemade pasta. It was a skill he learned from the older chefs.
Now, he says, he’ll never do it any other way.
The pasta dishes at Fortune’s range in price from $12.95 to $18.95. For an additional cost, meatballs, chicken, steak, or shrimp can be added to any dish.
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