CANANDAIGUA — “Up on the Roof” was the title of a song done originally by The Drifters and later by James Taylor and others.
It also means something to folks looking to dine in the open air and on a roof with a view in downtown Canandaigua. Diners have an “up on the roof” option now, and a second is expected by the end of July.
Patrick Gleason, owner of Gleason’s Food and Drink at 170 S. Main St., has opened the roof on the second floor of his restaurant. He has eight tables with seating for 35 people, offering a view of the downtown streetscape.
A short distance away on the corner of Beeman and South Main streets, Nick and Peter Fabbio are awaiting the installation of an elevator before they open up their roof on top of the four-story building that houses Nick’s Chophouse. They are hoping to open the rooftop to diners by the end of July or early August.
The views from up top are impressive.
“I bought this restaurant in 2019 and had it renovated so I could open Jan. 4, 2020. Then I had to close down March 15 because of the virus pandemic, doing only takeout,” Gleason said. “But all the time, I was working on the rooftop dining concept. That was always in my plan. I saw rooftop dining in Nashville, Tenn. and other places and wanted to bring it here.”
He started work on he roof in August 2019, reinforcing and stabilizing the structure to accommodate the rooftop dining.
“Earlier this month I was able to open it up to customers. The response has been great, especially when the weather cooperates,” Gleason said.
The restaurant also offers sidewalk seating outdoors as well as inside seating, following 50 percent occupancy and other guidelines. The rooftop features seating, umbrella-covered tables, a railing with lights. Gleason said he is planning to add live music, too.
He said the cost of the rooftop dining “has been more than I thought” but ls confident it will be worth the investment.
Over at Nick’s, the Fabbios proudly show off what they’ve done to the roof.
“People keep asking when is it going to be ready. I think there is a demand for dining in the open air up high with a great view,” said Peter Fabbio, owner of the building.
Son Nick manages the restaurant. The roof will offer basic pub food, with fine dining to remain on the ground floor dining area.
Nick’s will offer a 24-by-110-foot rooftop dining area, named Sky Deck at Nick’s, with seating for 120 people. It will feature a full bar, restrooms and wait stations. The roof was refurbished with a special deck and the railings feature safety glass that allows an unimpeded view of the area. Peter has a background in property development and the Fabbios did much of the work themselves.
“I think once we open, we will be inundated with people. People want this,” Nick said. “It’s different.”
They want to offer rooftop dining until the end of September or early October, weather permitting.
“It’s a big investment for us, but we think it will be a destination,” Peter said, praising the efforts of the city to work through code issues. At one time, they had four cranes hauling equipment up from the ground to the fourth-floor roof.
“We can’t wait to open,” Nick said.