By CODY McDEVITT
Geoffrey’s Restaurant, Bar & Hotel could pleasantly surprise people looking for a new place to dine.
It has all the staples that any Johnstowner wants — hamburgers, meatball sandwiches and steak hoagies — as well as an assortment of healthier salad choices. And Italian was a big theme that owner Jeffrey Benincosa wanted to go with when he developed the menu.
It was a big step for Benincosa, 51, of Boswell, who last cooked at Indian Lake Resort before it closed for the season. Benincosa has been a food professional for his whole life. He once owned JB’s Catering, out of Boswell, for close to nine years.
“I decided to take the next step from catering,” Benincosa said. “So I decided to open a restaurant. Twenty-two thousand cars go by this every day. Seemed like a prime location.”
Geoffrey’s, in a 45-room hotel, has daily dinner specials. It will also cater parties and other occasions. They expect to have a liquor license by January.
Benincosa wants to keep it a family-oriented establishment, but there will be some specials in the hopes of attracting some regulars.
“This will be the place to go,” he said. “At least I hope.”
Benincosa decided to develop the menu based on what he learned from his family, which had a rich culinary tradition passed down from one generation to the next.
“I thought I’d do a more Italian cuisine,” Benincosa said. “Growing up, we ate a lot of Italian food. My sauce came from my great-grandmother from Italy. I always wanted to have an Italian restaurant.”