What started as a place to hunt and host weddings has evolved to include a live-music venue and café — with more in the works
CANANDAIGUA — Brian Mastrosimone purchased the farm he calls Lincoln Hill Farms so he could have a place to hunt. He wanted to build a barn on the 70-acre site so he could host weddings to pay for it.
Then, the farm started becoming a popular music and event venue, with acts ranging from local performers to the nationally known Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, snowballing to what it is today.
“Which is, awesomeness,” said Mastrosimone, from the Lobby Craft Eatery on East Lake Road. The eatery is the next evolution of awesomeness — and serves as his office for his Finger Lakes home rental business, Vine and Villa.
“It’s called the Lobby, because people check in here before they go to the houses,” Mastrosimone said. “This is where we meet people. Hopefully, we’ll be able to make a little bit of money from the cafe part of it too.”
And it’s a familiar location for those who live, play and travel on the east side of Canandaigua Lake. At various times, it’s been a grocery, cheese shop and pizza joint.
And who can forget the colorful Culture Shack store?
“We’ve changed every inch of the building,” said Mastrosimone, sitting at a handmade farm table.
Restored barnwood ceilings add a rustic touch to the place, and the furniture, from Bristol Harbour, was purchased after that operation changed hands.
“I just went in and bought the entire tent,” Mastrosimone said. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
The eatery opened just before Labor Day weekend, and so a key addition was the wood-fired stove.
According to marketing director Ellen Corbett, the menu is about to be updated, but wood-fired pizza, chicken wings — and s'mores — are favorites.
“We gotta have our s’mores,” Mastrosimone said. “We’re trying to push beer and pizza and chicken wings, but there’s obviously more to it than that.”
Obviously, traffic depends on the lake season, but Corbett said the addition of live music, with open mic nights on Thursdays and local musicians performing sets on Saturdays, has helped spread the word.
“We’ve found the locals need someplace to go here,” Corbett said. “They love the environment the farm has brought with the open, outdoor venue. And then here, it’s a little cozier.”
By next summer, more local products such as cheeses and honeys will be available at the eatery. And by then, Mastrosimone — who said he is not a restaurateur — said the Craft Eatery team will have their feet under them and ready to experience a full season of “lake effect.”
Also in the works are glamping sites back at the farm, along with a vegetable garden where guests will be able to pick their own fruits and vegetables and have them prepared at the site, Mastrosimone said.
And when on days when no weddings are scheduled, he’d like to offer the farm as host to local craft breweries to showcase their product.
It’s all part of the dream and living it.
“I’m not really holding back,” Mastrosimone said. “I’m going to keep chasing the dream and hopefully, it comes to fruition.”
Golf fans are invited to participate in a holiday cookie contest for a chance to win a special holiday ticket package to the 80th KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford.
From now until Dec. 7, fans must create and name their best holiday cookie and post a photo of their masterpiece at pr.easypromosapp.com/p/833729. Five finalists will be selected, and one winner will be named based on the “deliciousness factor” of the photo, the cookie name, and overall creativity of the recipe.
The winner will be announced on Facebook at 5 p.m. Dec. 10.
In addition to two tickets to the tourney, which starts the week of May 21, 2019, with a pro-am tournament, practice round, and championship rounds from May 23-26, the winner will receive branded lanyards, hat and gift box with holiday card, and a KitchenAid stand mixer.
Genesee Brewery again will light its Keg Tree — made of 520 empty Genny kegs stacked nearly three stories high and strung with thousands of lights that flash to holiday songs — on Friday, Dec. 7.
The fifth annual event includes food and beer trucks; a get-one, give-one live wreath promotion to benefit Rochester community members; performances by Trebellious a cappella group; and photo opportunities with a giant, wooden sled built by the Rochester brewery’s carpentry and production team.
The fun starts at 6 p.m., with keg lighting at 7 p.m., at the brewery, 25 Cataract St.