Why the name “Cugini”?
Cugini means cousins in Italian and the founding families are cousins.
Cugini is a family operated business that has deep roots back to a small town known as Futani in the Campania region of Italy.
Founding partner Lina was born and raised in Futani and moved to Corning, NY in 1974 as a foreign exchange student to attend East High School. She met her late husband Lawrence in high school and remained in Corning ever since.
Founding partner Aniello was born in Corning, and moved to Futani in 1972. Aniello moved back to Corning in 1975 and is a graduate of East High School. He moved away briefly before coming back to Corning to raise two daughters with his wife Lisa.
Founding partner Marco is the son of Lina and second cousin of Aniello. He spent every summer with his grandparents and visiting his many aunts, uncles, and cousins in Futani. Marco and his wife Julia, both born and raised in Corning, continue to vacation to Futani as often as they can, as do all the partners.
How Cugini Came About
For years, Lina & Marco, wanted a store in the Corning area that would feature the many Italian and English style cheeses made daily at their factory, just 24 miles away, but could never quite find the perfect fit. One day in the fall of 2014 Marco and cousin Aniello found themselves traveling, once again, over 90 minutes to an Italian Market & Café to get lunch and some of their favorite imported Italian products. On their commute home, Marco said to Aniello, “Why don’t we bring an Italian Market to Corning, and feature a lot of Golden Age Cheeses?” Aniello simply replied “I was just about to ask you the same thing”… The rest is history and so the planning for Cugini began.
It’s All About the Cheese
Cheese was a major influence that brought the vision of Cugini to life, so we wanted to put a unique spin on our market & cafe that incorporated cheese in almost every aspect of our business. Sure, we sell over 75 different cheeses by the pound in our market, but we are far more than just your average cheese store… Many of our sandwiches, subs, and Panini feature Golden Age Cheese (GAC) cheeses. Our Cannoli are always filled to order, and we make the filling in house with preservative and additive free GAC hand-dipped Ricotta that is just hours old when it arrives in Corning. We dedicated some space in our market to Cugini Tasting Bar, so you may try a sampling of cheeses paired perfectly with hand selected beers and wines. We really want to share our knowledge of cheese with the world, so when our mezzanine level isn’t being used for cafe seating, it will serve as a classroom where we will lead over a dozen different classes, many focused on cheese, such as: Wine & Cheese Pairing 101, The Mozzarella Stretch, The Perfect Cannoli, and many more.
Our Investment in Corning
The founding partners of Cugini wanted to give back to a city that they’re so grateful for… So they turned a rather dated building into one that mirrors the beauty of Market St. Below are some before and after photos of 16 W. Market St… We promise it’s the same building!
Front of Building Before
Northwest Dining Area Before
Northwest Dining Area After
Northeast Dining Area Before
Northeast Corner After
Sub/Kitchen Area Before
Sub/Kitchen Area After
Southeast Dining Area Before
Southeast Dining Area After
Mezzanine Level Before
Mezzanine Level After