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What You Can Learn from a Tiny Italian Restaurant

Pasta Villa is a small Italian restaurant on the North side of Rochester, New York. When you’re driving down Ridge Road, if you’re not keeping a careful eye out you’ll drive right past it. Three miles later you’ll hit the breaks, throw out an f-bomb and double back again, paying more attention. 

There’s a small sign in the front window of an indiscrete looking shack that says, “Open.” Pasta Villa doesn’t need a big sign. In fact, when you pull around back you’ll drive right through the parking lot, uttering another swear word because you can’t find a damn parking spot anywhere. It’s jammed. Every night.  

There are several Italian restaurants in Rochester, NY. But people come from all over the city to dine in this shack. Of course the food is outrageously good; but that’s not all. The service is stupid-good—the kind where your water glass is full and the crumbs are swiped off your table with such grace that you never noticed the server come by indiscreetly while you were rambling through an awful joke with seemingly no punch line.  

And the ambiance. The soft lighting; the family atmosphere. The friendly hostess and servers and busboys and whoever else works there; the camaraderie. And the energy—you feel it. The owners are passionate about providing an elite experience; when you meet them, because they’ve made sure to stop by your table, call you by your first name and make you feel like a regular, bringing you a custom sampler from the chef and shot of sambuca at the end of your meal—on the house of course—you know they were born to run the place.  

Pasta Villa specializes. They’re the best at what they do in their very narrow, distinct niche. The authenticity in the atmosphere from the moment you step inside warms you like a down comforter in the middle of winter. It’s, well, special.  

What’s the final measuring stick? You go back. Again. And again. And again. They never have to call you to come back; you’ll never be enticed by a coupon for a free entrée in the Sunday shopper.  

And your bill? Stiff. But you don’t balk. You don’t question it. The way you feel when you leave there makes you want to deed your damn house over to their staff. Yep, you’re a couple of hundred bucks lighter in the pants but you relish in spending the money. It was worth every penny. 

Purpose. Passion. Quality beyond measure. A special experience. Put it all together and you’ve delivered a customer experience that keeps customers organically returning like loyal sheep and paying a premium to boot. That’s a specialist.  

Are you licking your chops yet?