I’m telling you, there is something about Italy that brings out the inner Casanova in us all. Romance is not a chore or a pick-up line for Italians – it is in their blood, culture and especially their food.
After a quarter century in business, Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant is still going strong.
“It is solid proof of hard work,” said Agostino Gabriele, chef and co-owner with his brother, Vincenzo Gabriele. “From the quality of service to the food on your plate, I can honestly say we give 110 percent. We are true Italians, cooking Italian food. It’s probably the only restaurant in Louisville where you can talk in Italian.”
Vincenzo’s has won many accolades, including the 2005 Best of Louisville award, and it boasts celebrity clientele such as Tom Cruise, Frank Sinatra, Sylvester Stallone and Steven Spielberg.
“Our reputation has definitely allowed us to serve some of the most distinguished people. Which has in turn helped build our credibility in Louisville all these years,” Gabriele said.
And although the Rat Pack probably won’t be visiting any time soon, one thing still remains the same as when Ol’ Blue Eyes dined: “To this day we serve everything fresh -, no matter what time of day, lunch or dinner,” Gabriele said. “If you come to my place, you won’t find frozen anything.
“Everything is prepared, in-house. We cut our own meats, we bake our own bread – it’s the same exact process we did 26 years ago.”
Valentine’s Day is the busiest time of the year for Vincenzo’s.
“It’s the only time of year where we wish we had 2,000 tables to accommodate everybody,” Gabriele said.
And in true Italian fashion, I could sense his excitement in talking about the day of love.
That they do. Featured on the menu for this special occasion is heart-shaped lobster ravioli and a caprese salad with heart-shaped mozzarella. Most impressive might be the heart-shaped chocolate ganache cassata, a special for Valentine’s Day diners.
You can really sense the love and passion that goes into this family fare. Ambiance, a delicious menu and attention to detail is what keeps people coming back.
“When we started out it was just us, Kunz’s and The Bristol. Now there’s three restaurants to every one block,” Gabriele said. “So after this many years to still have regulars – that’s when you know you got something special, and there’s security in that. We’ll still be here today, tomorrow and the following day. When people come here, they get quality from start to finish.”
Its not like Italians to leave anything incomplete, and Vincenzo and Agostino work as a team.
“We are a combination,” Agostino Gabriele said. “If he’s in the dining room and I’m in the kitchen, one of us is constantly making sure everyone’s dining experience is top notch in both quality food and service.”
So think twice the next time you go to open a jar of pasta sauce because the time it will take you to get ready and drive downtown is well worth it. This isn’t your everyday spaghetti and meatballs. As my Nona would always say, “There’s some serious love in that food.”
150 S. Fifth St.
Open weekdays 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and, 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturdays 5 to 11p.m.
It’s not a gondola, thankfully for me since I get sea sick, but it’s got equal amounts of romantic appeal.
Valet or street parking. In better weather, you might even be able to snag a romantic carriage ride.
Three words: Stallone, Sinatra, Spielberg.
Dish everyone knows to order
Involtini di Vitello Sinatra: scaloppine of veal rolled around seasoned spinach, pine nuts and raisins with Barolo wine sauce ($29.95).
Chef Agostino’s favorite
Spaghetti All’Aragosta. Spaghetti with lobster, baby shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus tips, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and Italian parsley ($34.95).
Vincenzo’s also offers a theater menu served Monday through Saturday from 5 to 6:30 p.m., which includes three courses for $34.95 per person.
Category: Out & About
About the Author (Author Profile)
Voice-Tribune Staff Writer Lauren DePaso enjoys being a tourist in her own city, exploring the nightlife and cheering on the Cards. A Louisville native, she currently resides in St. Matthews.