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North Winton Village’s Wildflour blossoms

Good Luck alums pair quality ingredients with a modern Italian deli

620 N. Winton Rd., Rochester 

If you’ve recently given up carbs in this bright new year, I apologize in advance. Wildflour probably isn’t for you. 

But if your resolutions are more open-ended—something sensible, like eating healthier or pursuing happiness—well, keep reading. 

After visiting the new North Winton Village restaurant, I began to think existential thoughts about pasta and bread. If it’s mostly spelt, does it count as a whole grain? And, if it’s made with free-range eggs and semolina sourced from Trumansburg, surely it must be considered a health food.

This logic can certainly help you stray from your path of repentance after a holiday season of indulgence. At Wildflour, though, it feels good to stray. 

One of the first things you need to know about this neighborhood restaurant is that two Good Luck chefs, Dan Martello and Taylor Wilde, rule the kitchen. The place is inspired by Martello’s deep Sicilian roots and draws heavy inspiration from traditional Italian delis. 

What sets it apart is the exceptional quality of its ingredients.

All the eggs used for their pasta come from a local farm, while the canned tomatoes are sourced from a small collective in Italy via the Bronx. Additionally, ninety percent of the restaurant’s produce originates from Squash Blossom Farm in Naples. 

Stepping into Wildflour, you’ll find that it’s not just about the ingredients—it’s about the entire dining experience. The atmosphere is inviting, reminiscent of the kind of blonde wood cafe you might find in Santa Monica. 

Even on a chilly Friday afternoon, the place is packed with friends enjoying chilled limonatas and focaccia sandwiches or waiting on to-go orders. The open yet warm ambiance makes it a perfect spot for lingering day or night. 

It’s also a vibrant, one-stop destination for gourmet goods.

When you step through the restaurant’s doors, a counter displaying fresh pappardelle and frilly mafaldine for purchase immediately greets you. Lining the central area are tall shelves stocked with imported olive oil, bags of dry pasta, and spicy sandwich spreads. 

The grocery element came out of necessity. Wilde explains that since storage in the kitchen is tight, the team decided to showcase their provisions. 

“We’re excited to celebrate the farmers of Rochester and the farmers of Italy,” she says. “These are the things we use, and you can judge the quality. If you like it, you can take it home.” 

After studying the offerings in specialty stores across the Bronx and Brooklyn, Wilde crafted a menu that showcases the simplicity and excellence of these ingredients.

Regardless of whether you’re there for lunch or dinner, you can count on pasta made from scratch as the star of the show. It’s prepared in various cuts, folds, and styles every morning. The sauces range from classic bolognese ($12) and cacio e pepe to inventive options like cured egg yolks and pancetta. The underlying philosophy is that simple is best. 

Wilde refined her pasta-making technique at Good Luck and Leeward, a high-end Italian restaurant in Portland, Maine. Her signature move is incorporating unusual whole grains, like emmer, einkorn, and spelt, into the dough to enhance its nuttiness and depth of flavor. 

During my visit, I had the creste di gallo pasta ($12), an elegantly curved pasta coated in creamy gorgonzola and honey. The bold bitterness of radicchio and tangy ribbons of pickled peppers create an unexpected and delightful experience. 

Lunch tends toward mustardy mortadella sandwiches on spelt focaccia ($12) and pillowy Sicilian pizza-by-the-slice ($5–8). 

Dinner is a laid-back affair. Every night, there’s a set menu consisting of pasta, a hearty main course, snacks, and something sweet.

“The goal is you’re never wanting for anything,” Wilde says. “It’s a super relaxed atmosphere where you know what’s coming and can enjoy good wine.” 

Guests share their dietary restrictions when they make a reservation, but otherwise, herby rolled porchetta pork roast or the saucy red wine short ribs keep flowing to the table. 

Admittedly, I’ve ragged on about our city’s abundance of Italian restaurants. I recognize it’s a safe choice for many reasons. Wildflour gives the people what they want while tiptoeing toward more adventurous fare. 

The meatball cutlet ($12) is a perfect example. Reminiscent of a meatball sub, it swaps the hoagie for homemade focaccia and gets slathered with sweet-sour agrodolce and lemon mayo. It’s profoundly delicious and familiar, but it’s a combination I’ve never seen before. 

“I don’t want to think about what would happen if I removed that dish,” Wilde laughs. She explains that it has a cult following and will remain on the menu indefinitely. 

In an era of complexity, life’s most profound pleasures often come from the uncomplicated joys. This restaurant doesn’t need to impress with showy ingredients. All you really need is good flour, water, salt, and intention. 

The Wildflour team wields its tools well, creating something that is at once comforting and refreshing. 

So, relish that mouthful of perfectly al dente semolina pasta. It’s local, after all.

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