Somerville, MA 02145
(617) 628 1921
Monday 11:30 am-3:00 pm
Tuesday-Friday 11:30 am-3:00 pm AND 4:30 pm-10:30 pm
Saturday 4:30 pm-10:30 pm
Sunday 2:00 pm-9:00 pm
*A YUM Participant*
In the event that you’re fishing for a reason to get out and enjoy a meal on the town, look no further. I’ve got five of ’em for you.
Five Reasons to Eat at Vinny’s
Situated on a stretch of Broadway that’s jam-packed with independently run and locally owned businesses, Vinny’s Ristorante brings something unique to East Somerville’s table. Amidst a variety of Brazilian, Salvadorian, and Haitian offerings, Vinny serves up authentic Sicilian cuisine. Vinny himself explains Sicilian cuisine as fresher and more influenced by the Mediterranean than the heavier fare found in Northern Italy. Vinny certainly isn’t shy about his heritage; you can see Vinny’s red, white, and green storefront from about a mile away. Once inside, trinacrias (a Sicilian symbol) adorn almost every open wall space. If you decide to skip coffee and desert at Vinny’s but find yourself craving something sweet on the way out, don’t worry. There’s certainly no shortage of pastry shops, bakeries, and ice creameries along the tree lined sidewalks of Broadway.
2)Restaurant, Deli, AND Grocery
I’m not trying to sell the restaurant itself short, but Vinny’s Ristorante offers far more than just a sit-down experience. Walk into the restaurant and you’ll find a deli counter serving up hand-sliced hot subs and quick pasta dishes for meals on-the-go. Need a box of Italian cookies, some olive oil, or a pound of fresh prosciutto for imitating Vinny’s meals at home? No problem. The friendly staff will gladly ring up whatever grocery item you find displayed near the delicatessen. A small cooler up front houses Vinny’s number one most popular item. Which brings me to number three on the list…
3) The Sauce
“Get that Bobby Flay and tell him I want to do a throw down!” -Vinny
No questions asked, Vinny makes the best marinara in Boston. Food Network seems to agree with me, featuring Vinny and his pasta sauce on a special that aired this past summer. He makes every delicious batch from scratch using only fresh tomatoes. For years people have been telling Vinny that almost anything would taste good if covered in his pasta sauce. Still, Vinny sticks to his guns, making sure that what’s served under the sauce is just as delicious when served alone. The Braciole, a cut of beef wrapped around soft cheese, spinach, and spices and then pan fried, certainly lived up to this standard, tasty with or without any sauce. Still, I found myself asking for a little extra marinara just to eat by the spoonful. If you find yourself with a similar hankering, pick up a quart of sauce from the grocery on your way out.
Antipasto, meaning “before the meal” in Italian, is a course that starts off the typical Italian meal with a variety of meats, olives, cheeses, and vegetables. Vinny’s Ristorante goes above and beyond by offering a whole table of antipasto options. At less than 10 dollars per person, this all-you-can-eat visit to the antipasto table has got to be one of the best deals in the Boston area. The table features tender artichokes that have been marinated in spices and boiled to perfection, bell peppers stuffed with ground meat and cheese, marinated mushrooms and olives. Let’s not forget the sharp provolone cheese slices because, as Vinny says, “Every rat loves cheese.” But honestly, there are really two stars on this tabletop of deliciousness: arancini and chicken meatballs. Arancini are balls of soft Arborio rice that have been stuffed with cheese, tomato sauce, and peas and fried to perfection. Vinny considers these little guys to be the best example of Sicilian cuisine. Only recently added to the antipasto table, the chicken meatballs are somehow both taste bud-friendly and heart-healthy. Vinny’s love affair with “good food” began over 50 years ago when you could find him in the North End munching on celery and carrots. It’s no surprise that his menu reflects this healthy attitude.
“If you don’t eat here, we’ll both starve!” -Vinny
Perhaps the single best reason to come to Vinny’s Ristorante is Vinny himself. Vinny opened what was then a variety store and sub shop at 76 Broadway in 1969 and hasn’t budged since. The business transformed over the years to become a full restaurant and Vinny’s love for his work has only grown. As chef and owner, Vinny takes pride in getting to know his customers and offering them a welcoming and generous experience in line with Sicilian tradition. He wasted no time in making me feel like an old friend, joking about his surprisingly outgoing personality and love for life. If you make it to his restaurant, be sure to find the man behind the business. While you’ll certainly leave with a full stomach, you may also end up with a new friend.