UPDATE: Italian restaurant enjoying a big taste of early success
SCHENECTADY EDITOR'S NOTE - This story was corrected from the original to change "gross profits" to "gross receipts" in the first paragraph.
In less than two years, More Perreca’s has surpassed the $1 million gross receipts mark and hired nearly three dozen employees.
“We have exceeded all expectations on job creation and the sales tax base at the café,” restaurant owner Maria Perreca Papa said in a news release.
The Italian restaurant on North Jay Street is next to her family’s bakery, Perreca’s, which has provided fresh Italian bread since 1913. Both are in the Little Italy business district.
Papa chose the name for the restaurant to emphasize that her family does more than just bake bread: “We’re MORE than just the best bread you’ve ever tasted.”
The project began with the complete renovations of an old, boarded-up building next to Perreca’s Bakery. It turned out to be in far worse condition than Papa expected — the main beam that supported the upper floors had to be replaced after engineers found structural weaknesses. Several other load-bearing beams were also too risky to trust and had to be replaced.
It put the $500,000 project behind schedule and over budget, forcing Papa to scour restaurant auctions for equipment that she could no longer afford to buy new.
She found the silver lining: since she was willing to buy used, she was able to pick up better equipment than she could have afforded to buy new.
Papa is the third generation to work in the family business, and she renovated her building with an eye toward the future.
“This is my gift to the next generation,” she said when construction workers fell a month behind schedule because of the structural problems.
Now she’s reaping the benefits.
A quarter of all new restaurants fail in their first year, according to a study by Cornell University and Michigan State University. After three years, 50 percent of new restaurants go out of business.
But after hitting the $1 million mark in less than two years, More Perreca’s seems unlikely to be one of them.
“I’m very proud of what we did with the café,” Papa said.
The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch daily and dinner Wednesday through Sunday.
For those who want a true Italian experience, there’s live accordion music during dinner, from 5 to 8 p.m.