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Nick Pitillo '06 Opens Osteria 166 in Downtown Buffalonext


Photo and story by Lisa Murphy
 
Owning a restaurant had always been a dream of Nick Pitillo ’06. He realized that dream last June when he opened Osteria 166 on Franklin Street downtown.

He didn’t do it alone, though. It began when Pitillo contacted his former professor, Bill Weeks, clinical associate professor and head of the Divison of Management and Leadership. Pitillo pitched the idea of SAGE MBA students to write a business plan for him. “Of course,” said Weeks, “Especially for one of our own.” MBA students Bradley Vespa ’13, Tamikah Ford ’13, Phil Cruze ’13, and Craig Spencer ’13 all welcomed the challenge and that began a series of meetings with the group. 
 
“I made sure I fed them well,” says Pitillo. “They worked very hard on this project.”

According to Pitillo, the work of the Medaille students was invaluable to his success. He also credits his coursework with Weeks in Medaille’s Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) program, noting that what he learned plays a big part in how he operates now. The focus on systemic thinking while studying leadership was instrumental as he made the myriad of decisions one faces while starting a new business.

“I went into the MOL program thinking I’m an adult, with years of experience, what can I learn?” says Pitillo. “Boy was I surprised.”

Recipe for success. Once again, Pitillo wasn’t alone when the restaurant was ready to open. His family, with extensive experience in the restaurant business, was with him every step of the way. In fact, he says he couldn’t do it without them. Together they have created an eatery that gives one the sense that they are “home for a family meal”. To that end, the menu off ers Nani’s ravioli, made from scratch by his mom. It is one of the restaurant favorites. 

Pitillo says he has been blessed with amazing people surrounding him, from his chef and servers, to the dishwashers. In fact, Pitillo feels that they are all his extended family. Prior to opening Osteria, Pitillo says that he ran each restaurant he managed as his own, but he found that this is very diff erent. It really is
his own.


“I have 50 people all depending on me,” explains Pitillo. “It’s much diff erent, a much greater responsibility. I have to take care of my family. It’s just much
bigger now.”


His hard work and commitment look to be paying off . The restaurant is filling each day with people delighted with the freshly prepared food. The atmosphere
is warm and welcoming.


“I know it’s cliché, but this is a place where everyone knows your name,” concludes Pitillo. “We want people to feel like they become part of our family.”
 
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