I can honestly look my daughters in the eye and tell them “this isn’t your father’s Vito’s.”
Actually, their father’s Vito’s doesn’t even exist anymore, its original location at 3559 Lindell Boulevard having been demolished about a decade ago. (If memory serves, the charming but deteriorating Marina building that housed Vito’s is now a sculpture park or a dog park, the polite names for a vacant, albeit well-maintained, lot. That’s a further bit of context for Jeannette Cooperman’s excellent retrospective of the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, SLM’s cover story in October.
So what most people think of as the “original” Vito’s at 3515 Lindell is actually V1.1. And now there’s a V2.0, Vito’s in the Valley, which is about the twentieth or so restaurant to occupy 138 Chesterfield Towne Centre, just off the corner of Edison and Long roads.
The new place took the space that was most recently Picasso’s Bistro and sleekified it with polished concrete floors, vividly colored walls and Italian-themed photographs and artwork.
The pizza (original hand-tossed, Sicilian, whole wheat and calzone) and pasta menus in the Valley are very parallel if not identical to the Lindell location (including prices), but the entrée menu stretches out and up quite a bit (Vitello Tonnato at right), topping out with a couple of steaks and a seafood mixed grill in the $25 range.
Gio(vanni) La Fata runs the Chesterfield location; his brother Vito is on Lindell. The original (now demolished) Vito’s opened in 1996, but the La Fata pizza pedigree goes all the way back to 1964, when Gio and Vito’s father opened Pino’s Pizza in Gaslight Square.
Can Gio succeed where Gabrielle’s, KoBa, Trattoria Branica, and Picasso’s Bistro (and maybe more, I can’t remember) have failed? Well, the place was almost packed when we were there during its first week. And if they deliver some menus across the parking lot to iTap (the International Tap House, which has no food but allows it to be ordered or carried in), they’ll add on a heck of a carryout business.
Read the original article here.