Skyler Smith’s Tour of Mendon: CLEMENZA’S

RETIREMENT DREAM ~ Mike Yodice is a retired city cop who opened Clemenza’s Pizzeria in Mendon in 2011.  As he approached his retirement from the police force in Rochester, a couple of the cops he worked with, who knew how much he loved to cook, lived in Mendon and knew that the old Pizza Agerola building was for sale.

They brought this to Mike’s attention; Mike thought it would be a good fit for what he had in mind and he now feels validated that he made the correct decision.  He named Clemenza’s after the character from The Godfather, and he has now expanded with a second restaurant in Lakeville which is called Vincenza’s.  Next time you visit somebody at Conesus Lake, give them a try.

HISTORIC BUILDING ~ Mike bought the building in Mendon, and using his handicraft skills, has done extensive renovations inside as well as out.  For those of you old enough to remember, this building served as the Mendon Post Office for decades before that office moved to Assembly Drive.  So obviously significant renovations have taken place here.
In a concept we saw reflected at the Cottage Hotel next door, when the building and the business are both owned by the same person, improvements and renovations will be done in the correct way.

FAMILY RECIPE ~ Just like his grandmother, who he learned his cooking from, he doesn’t use recipes; he can tell by looking, feeling, and smelling if he has his ingredients in the right proportions.   Mike’s eyes light up when he talks about his cooking techniques and he conveys a spontaneous and genuine enthusiasm for his work.
Due to an error in communication with one of Mike’s employees he didn’t realize that we were coming, so we took him by surprise.  But despite that, as soon as he found out what we were up to, he dropped everything and couldn’t wait to talk to me.  I appreciated his willingness to do that.

MY FIRST RACE ~ When I was writing above about Mike’s building, one thought occurred to me that flashes back to last Christmas.  After obtaining my learner’s permit, Dad has been giving me driving lessons over the past year.  While I have definitely improved I know there is more to learn, but at times I’ve jokingly asked Dad, “Let me know when you think I’ve gotten good enough to race somebody for the first time?”

That question went unanswered for a while until one day last holiday season when I was driving down the hill approaching the hamlet on Victor Mendon Road.  As I approached Clemenza’s, Dad pointed out the inflatable Santa sleigh adorning the restaurant roof.  Dad said, “Skyler, I know that you have had an outstanding request to compete in your first vehicular race.  Well, I’ve bided my time,” continued Dad, “because I wanted to make sure you’d win your first race.  See that sleigh on the roof of Clemenza’s?  I’ll let you race it to the four corners and we’ll see who gets there first.” My dad, the trickster.  Suffice it to say that my current NASCAR record is 1 – 0!



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