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Giacobbi's Cucina Citta adding Italian to Allentown

Last year, Michael Jacobbi’s Transit Road restaurant Carmine’s won a Taste of Buffalo award for its bacon-wrapped casino-stuffed shrimp on the same day it burned to the ground.

The day after, he said he wanted to rebuild his business in the city, not the suburbs. “I love all the stuff that is happening in Buffalo,” he said, “and I want to be part of the resurgence.”

In two weeks, if all goes well, he’ll get his wish. Giacobbi’s Cucina Citta, an upscale casual Italian restaurant, will open at 59 Allen St., a corner in Allentown formerly occupied by Presto and Café 59.

The fully-stocked bar will have room for about 25, dining room seating 65. He’s planning to be open all week, with lunch Monday-Friday.

Before operating Carmine’s on Transit Road, he also operated Giacobbi’s at Eggert Road and Main Street, he said. “We do casual Italian, good price points,” he said. “A family restaurant, but we’re also looking to get some of the, people who want a quick bite or a drink, eat at the bar.”

Why would a man named Jacobbi open a restaurant called Giacobbi’s? The answer has to do with righting a century-old error.

“It goes back to Ellis Island,” he said. “They made some changes back in the day, changed it to a ‘J.’ The Sicilian way of spelling it is with a ‘G-I-A,’ so we went back to that.”

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