Vittorio’s Ristorante, which has been on Marquez Avenue since 1984, continued its giving ways by donating 40 individually-packed lunches to the ER staff at Saint John’s Hospital.
“We took lasagna, chopped salads, chicken Caesar salads and farfalle broccoli with tomatoes, all packed with our famous garlic rolls,” co-owner Vanessa Pellegrini wrote Circling the News on March 9.
“My mom and I are constantly saying how blessed we are, and this was just another one of those things we felt that we needed to do to help those on the front lines,” she said. “These people are putting themselves at risk for our safety…a nice hot lunch was the least we could do.”
Vanessa and mom Mercedes contacted a longtime customer, Dr. Tom Knapp, and asked if he could find a contact person at the hospital, and he did.
If someone would like to donate towards personal meals for medical staff at St. John’s, the Pellegrinis are planning another drop-off next week for the night shift.
Every December, Vittorio’s hosts a luncheon for homeless children living in shelters. This celebration came out of pain, after Vanessa was diagnosed with CNS (central nervous system) lupus in December 2010 and hospitalized for two weeks.
“We weren’t sure I was going to pull through, since the disease was attacking the blood vessels in my brain,” Vanessa said. “My mother, being a devout Catholic, prayed to Nossa Senhora de Aparecida in Brazil. She performs miracles, according to local legend, and so my mother prayed.”
The prayers were answered and after a few weeks of intensive care in the hospital, Vanessa was sent home, well on the way to recovery.
“As an offering, we both promised to give back to the less fortunate children, who are innocent and oftentimes are the victims of circumstance,” Vanessa said.
And now Vittorio’s is continuing its giving ways by providing food to medical staff.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner take-out from Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. “We are offering curbside service also,” said Vanessa, who noted that “we have a limited staff working right now. We had to temporarily lay off some servers and cleaning staff, but we will bring them back once we are operating normally.”
If you have not tried the garlic rolls, there is a warning: once you try one, the yummy factor is so high, it is hard to stop eating them.
The Italian chopped salad ($17) with garbanzo beans, tomatoes, salami, mozzarella and pepperoncini, is beyond tasty—and I must admit, even though there are about 17 salads on the menu, I always choose the same one. The salad with fresh sliced tomato, Buffalo mozzarella cheese and basil topped with vinaigrette pesto dressing ($13.50) may be the next one I try or maybe the spinach salad with Gorgonzola cheese ($9).
The pastas are all excellent, and at a luncheon with the firefighters from Station 69, hosted by the Palisades Rotary Club, the lasagna ($13) received rave reviews. There’s cheese ravioli ($17), mushroom ravioli ($19.50) and linguini with either shelled clams, calamari or mussels ($25). I usually opt for pizza, but my next dish may be shrimp fra diavolo ($26.50).
There are some great specials such as the pumpkin ravioli with sage butter sauce, or risotto verde (fresh chopped asparagus and crumbled goat cheese) or prosciutto burrata ravioli (homemade pasta stuffed with thinly sliced prosciutto and burrata cheese made with a light fresh tomato, thinly sliced red peppers and kalamata sauce).
Entrees include chicken and veal dishes, such as piccata, parmigiana and marsala.
If it all becomes too overwhelming to decide, go with the pizzas. The firefighters pronounced the variety they were served for lunch all excellent!
And don’t forget your vegetables ($10) that include a choice of sautéed broccoli, sautéed French green beans, asparagus, sautéed fresh spinach and roasted peppers.
Vanessa wrote: “We are so blessed to be part of a community that has continued to support us time and time again.”
Visit: vittoriosla.com or call (310) 459-9316 or (310) 459-3755.