|90 Walnut St, Lockport, NY 14094|
|Mon-Thu: 10:00am - 10:00pm, Fri & Sat: 10:00am - 11:00pm Sun: 10:00am - 9:00pm|
|$6 - $15|
|Type of restaurant|
|Italian, carry out, bakery|
|Cash and Credit Cards|
Molinaro’s Ristorante brings a piece of Italy right to Lockport. Owned and operated by the Molinaro family from southern Italy, it is a sit-down restaurant, carry out café, and bakery. The restaurant is most known for their New York style pizza, although they offer a wide variety of other entrees and local favorites. It is open for lunch and dinner and features specials every day of the week. Owner Michael Molinaro truly seeks to give his customers a wide variety of options. His passion for cooking Italian goes back as far as he can remember. Instead of playing cards with the men in his family, he would find himself in the kitchen cooking along side his Nonna. The recipes he has gathered from his family’s kitchen he now shares with thousands. (1)
Beginning in a small white house over ten years ago just around the corner from the current location, Molinaro's started off as just a restaurant. The take out portion of the restaurant was added onto the back of the building. It was a very small window with only enough room for a couple people to stand. A few years later, the bakery called Holy Cannoli Cafe was established and located in a separate building on the neighboring street. After five years, the Molinaro family needed to condense the restaurant, bakery, and take out to one location, which would make it easier for all. In 2006, Molinaro's expanded the operation to a location on Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda. A year after, a third location arose on Transit Road in Clarence. Business in these locations was great, but it was decided that focusing solely on the original Lockport location would be more profitable. A solid base of loyal customers were already well established at this location. So Sheridan and Transit locations were sold.
Molinaro’s most noted item on the menu is their pizza. They brush each pizza and slice with their signature garlic butter spread. It is a small touch that goes a long way, according to their customers. All pizzas are hand tossed with homemade dough cooked right on the stone. This traditional way of making pizza is hard to find when most places simply use pans on a conveyor belt. Although the medium and large pizzas are thin New York style, they also offer a variety of other options:
• Small Deep Dish Pizza
• Sicilian style, thicker crust
• Party tray, pan style crust
• White tomato onion, which comes in all sizes
• A variety of other specialty pizzas like white ricotta broccoli, in the grass, white veggie, stuffed pizza, stuffed hot pepper pizza, chicken finger, big boy, uncle mike’s etc.
• Regular, traditional style
• Sweet sauce
• Semi-sweet sauce
• White sauce, olive oil and garlic spread
Subs and chicken wings are also customer favorites. With 32 different sub choices, you can’t go wrong. A wide variety of steak, chicken, sausage, cold cut, and chicken finger subs all make up a large menu. Molinaro’s uses extra large roaster wings and offers hot, medium, mild, garlic, honey garlic, barbeque, honey barbeque, buffalo garlic, and raspberry jalapeno barbeque sauces.
The restaurant portion itself is a homey, intimate atmosphere where the staff makes everyone feel like they are at mom’s house. With an array of white and red wines (which come from local vineyards) and beer (including Peroni an Italian lager) you will find a bit of everything at Molinaro’s Ristorante. At one time, Molinaro’s Ristorante also had a banquet facility to host larger parties of thirty or more.
The take out portion of the restaurant is always busy, since customers come back several times a week. Open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. -11 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m., the home delivery option makes it easier than ever. Molinaro’s even offers catering for any number of people and will accommodate a large variety of requests.
Some entree choices that are available for catering are full or half pans of: salads, baked ziti, meatballs, sausage or chicken with peppers and onions, hot peppers, scampi’s, alfredo’s, chicken parmesans, stuffed shells, etc.
The bakery is always open and full of decadent pastries, cakes, pies and cookies. They feature Italian delights like cannoli, napoleons, and a vast selection of assorted Italian cookies. Cakes and pies are always available for walk-ins, or can be pre-ordered to you liking. Even if it’s Italian cassata cake or a chocolate ganache cake, nothing is too difficult or out of the question. If you want to customize your cake to match an invitation, just bring in a picture of your desired look, and the bakers will do their best to accommodate. From Super Mario, pirates, dinosaurs, Spongebob, to sports teams or musicians, our cakes are tailored to your wishes. Molinaro’s also features traditional favorites like cheesecake, pastry hearts, eclairs, cream puffs, chocolate chip cookies, hand decorated and rolled cutouts and much more. All desserts are handmade on site. Pastry trays are also made to order. These typically feature mini cannoli, mini cheesecakes, mini éclairs, mini cream puffs, brownies, cupcakes, or peaches. We also create Italian cookie trays, which are sold by the pound. These can incorporate all assorted cookies even, pizzelles and cutouts. Ribbons and cellophane are also used upon request. In the past, the bakery has made donuts and assorted breads and rolls. Although it still sells homemade Italian bread, cappuccinos, lattes, espressos, and smoothies.
New Creations, Festivals, and Events
Their newest creation, watermelon salad, won best vegetarian dish at the Taste of Buffalo. It contains watermelon chunks atop spring mix and spinach, coupled with candied walnuts and blue cheese under a citrus vinaigrette. It brings both the sweet and salty flavors of the ingredients out. This salad is served on special throughout the remainder of the season. (3) The world famous stuffed hot pepper roll won best sandwich at the Taste of Lockport. They also bring their pepper roll to Buffalo’s Italian Fest, which is a known crowd favorite. It is a Hungarian banana pepper stuffed with sausage, gorgonzola cheese, and breadcrumbs, wrapped in pizza dough and fried or baked until golden brown with a garlic butter spread to finish it off. They are also served without dough as an appetizer covered in cheeses.
Molinaro’s Ristorante also holds an annual Italian Festival of their own for the past eleven years. Proceeds generated from the event benefit Team Cure at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Collectively, Molinaro’s has raised $65,000 for cancer research. Each year the events held honor someone who was lost to cancer. The owner’s mother, a breast cancer survivor herself, started the fundraiser. The day is filled with fun for the whole family, which includes a spaghetti-eating contest, wine and sauce contest, bocce tournament, Italian singers and dancers, raffles, and auctions. Owner, Michael Molinaro is honored to host such a great community event each year because cancer affects so many of us. (5) Molinaro’s customers themselves know that the food and the service are great. There is truly not another place you will find in the area quite like it.
“This place makes great pizza… the service is awesome - very personal, respectful, and fast. They are always smiling and calm. Even though they are busy, they don't become harsh or let you know they've got 5 tables waiting... wonderful!”
“Lockport is a charming little town, but it doesn't deserve a place as good as Molinaro's. In a Norman Rockwell like setting you shouldn't find a really good little Italian restaurant. You shouldn't be able to find a place with great food and good wine. You don't expect meals based on family recipes, a wide menu selection and a restaurant that makes you feel at home like this. It just isn't right, somehow.”