UTICA, N.Y.--- There's no denying people in our area enjoy food. And if there's one person that knows that better than anyone else, its Bill Vinci. He's a Rome native that took his love for local food to new heights.
"I grew up in a family-owned Italian business in Rome. We had a restaurant called Vinci's that my grandparents opened up. It was open for over 60 years. So being in the restaurant business was already in my blood," said Vinci.
While attending college at MVCC, Vinci came up with the idea to create a TV show that features local restaurants and their food. It started as a Youtube channel created by him and his son, and it blossomed into the show that it is today. Now featuring restaurants and other businesses across New York State.
The Empire Plate is approaching its 400th episode, Vinci said a majority of the show has been filmed in the Mohawk Valley.
"This area is big for us. We have probably done most shows in the Utica-Rome, and New Hartford area. We've done a bunch of coffee shops over the years. Coffee shops, bagel shops, donut shops, they're fun because it's something different. We've done wineries we've done breweries we've done distilleries. Anything food or beverage related that's in New York State, we will showcase," said Vinci.
Vinci now wants to take his newfound fame and use it to help local restaurants during COVID. He said the show created a dining card that offers discounts at over 100 different locally owned businesses.
"Right now, restaurants kind of need us more than ever. It's just a tough time. So we've started an Empire Plate Dining card. It's $25 and you can go to over 100 different restaurants in the area and get discounts on food or specials and things. So it's a way to keep people coming into the family-owned places and spend money," said Vinci.
The show airs on Facebook only. Vinci said they have even gotten the attention of some of the large television networks. Vinci said his production team had an interview with the Food Network.