BATAVIA – A transition that began in February is complete at the corner of North River and Wilson streets in downtown Batavia: Gaetano’s Batavia is now Veritá.
“The name is a rechristening, a rebirth – outside there will be changes, but just the name,” owner Wendy Reed stated in a news release. “Inside Veritá, it continues to be the same outstanding food and service our patrons travel from all over Chicagoland to experience.”
Reed drew inspiration for the new name from Veritas, the goddess of truth in Roman mythology. The name honors the many changes that have occurred for Reed both personally and professionally.
“We introduced the new name in February on our new menu and started telling our customers,” Reed said. “We’ve been building it up slowly ever since, via word of mouth, behind the scenes, and on social media.
“I’ve been hostessing a lot lately and spending time visiting with all of our customers, and people have come up to me to ask if it’s new ownership or a new concept, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to smile and say, ‘Nope, it’s still me, still Abbie, still Ernesto, still the same great crew you’ve come to know here.’ We’ll be celebrating our five- year anniversary at this location on Aug. 1.”
Veritá will run specials all week, continuing through Aug. 4, to mark the occasion.
Reed, the sole owner of Gaetano’s Batavia, split with her partner, Gaetano Di Benedetto, early in the restaurant’s five-year run. While the restaurant has continued to carry the Gaetano’s name, restaurant operations have been led by Reed.
“The integrity of our food is paramount,” she said. “[Executive] Chef Ernesto Estrada has been with us since day one, as have many of the staff. We’re a family, and we care, deeply, about serving up a memorable meal and experience to our guests.”
She cites coming through joint replacement this past winter as an impetus for the name change for the restaurant, which had always been under her ownership.
“My knee replacement was the hardest thing I have ever done, period,” Reed said. “I have three beautiful children and I can tell you it was harder than childbirth. When I returned to being here full time at the restaurant, I had renewed confidence in myself and in my team. They did such a wonderful job keeping our guests happy that I knew it was the right time to make this change.”
Wendy Reed drew the striking new image, a representation of the goddess Veritas, from a photo given to her by a friend. Reed worked closely with a designer to implement new signage, intended to attract the eyes of pedestrians and motorists passing the restaurant’s prime location, as well as to put her personal mark on the space.
“This is about how our restaurant has evolved,” she said. “We are upscale without being pretentious. We have a house band on Wednesdays, we accommodate our guests’ dietary restrictions, and we really care about the overall dining experience. We think our love for the food shows in every dish we serve, and our love for our guests shows in how we welcome them in and invite them to be a part of our family for the evening.”
The Italian menu features handmade pasta and gnocchi, fish, seafood, aged steak, wine and cocktails. Among signature dishes is the crab cake al chipotle ai frutta appetizer, entrees such as filetto di chinghiale (wild board tenderloin) and desserts including tazza di cioccolato (a chocolate cup with semi-fredo, balsamico, and fresh berries).
Estrada runs a kitchen that specializes in a fusion of regional Italian cuisine. Veritá also features chef’s tasting menus with wine pairings. Many of Veritá’s dishes are prepared with a wood-burning oven imported from Italy.