New owners breathe new life into Esperanza

John Christensen
At the private ribbon cutting event before their public open house Saturday afternoon, Esperanza’s partner owners Todd & Mary Alexander and Elizabeth & Larry Mehlenbacher are joined by Executive Chef/General Manager Michael Gaudio, and Restaurant Manager Erika Guzman.

A new chapter in the long life of Yates County’s grandest home began last week with a grand opening. The new owners of the Esperanza Mansion welcomed the public to an open house celebration to experience the improved atmosphere at the 1838 Greek Revival home built by the Rose family above the West Branch of Keuka Lake.

After closing under previous owners in 2016 and bank foreclosure in early 2018, Todd & Mary Alexander, owners of Alexander Enterprises in Mendon, bought the mansion at public auction in November, reportedly for $1 million. With investing partners Larry & Elizabeth Mehlenbacher, owners of LMC Industrial Contractors in Avon, the two couples were well prepared for the renovations and upgrades Esperanza needed. Mary spoke of their great love for the house’s history, demonstrated by the new rose garden planted in honor of the Roses, planted below the Ionic-columned portico, adding to both the natural and man-made beauty of the estate.

Part of their business strategy involved hiring an executive chef as the general manager of the restaurant/hotel/banquet enterprise. Finger Lakes native Michael Gaudio is a classically trained chef who brings a wealth of experience from across the globe, from private family service to prestigious award events and Michelin-star restaurants. His stated desire is to bring finally a Michelin Star to a restaurant in the Finger Lakes. And with an entirely new kitchen and service facility, built to his own function & flow design, and with a well-trained staff backing him up, including Restaurant Manager Erika Guzman (formerly of Ports near Geneva), Gaudio is assembling the tools to achieve that admirable goal.  With that goal is a desire to bring joy and satisfaction to the weddings and other banquet events for which Esperanza is so perfectly suited in its facilities and hospitality, as well as its spectacular views and classical architecture.

From haute cuisine to the hearty and humble, Esperanza will also cater to more day-to-day dining in its meal choices, but always with Chef Michael’s commitment to quality.  The open house gave a foretaste of that quality. Live entertainment was provided by Artistic License, with local wine and beer tastings, generous portions of roast beef, excellent smoked ribs the size of turkey legs, cheeses, crudités, and dessert selections.

Reservations for the restaurant and hotel accommodation can be made by calling 315-694-9017.