I chose to stick with the Italian cuisine this week as I headed over to Vinny Vanucchi’s on Main Street to see what they had to offer. The restaurant’s original location was across the Mississippi and can be found in Galena, IL. Now, there is a location in Dubuque on Main.
Deb Coulter, co-owner of the restaurant, grew up on Taylor Street in Chicago’s Little Italy and spent years living above her grandmother, “Nana Lu” Lucille. Deb speaks on having memories of “aromas” throughout Nana Lu’s Place which Deb incorporates into her business now. Deb recounts there hardly being a time when there wasn’t basil growing or red sauce simmering in a pot on the stove. These memories included Nana Lu talking about always using the freshest ingredients and never serving frozen food to their guests. Deb and her husband, Jack Coulter, began their restaurant using her grandmother’s recipes and lessons and has since brought them to Dubuque.
Vinny’s has three menus: a lunch menu, a dinner menu, and a Gluten Free menu. All menus include a variety of Italian classics made in a way Deb remembers Nana Lu’s liking. This week I would encourage you to try a little of everything such as: the Bruschetta off Vinny’s Things, Cousin Sal’s pizza off Vinny’s Thin Crust Pizza, Italian Meatball off Vinny’s Neighborhood Sandwiches, and Rocky’s Raviolis off Vinny’s Pasta and Plates.
The bruschetta comes with several warm, toasted pieces of bread topped with a thick slice of tomato, some fresh mozzarella cheese, and some basil with balsamic drizzled over it. Next on the itinerary is Cousin Sal’s pizza. I picked this one because I love pepperoni. Don’t like pepperoni? No worries, there are seven other pizzas on the menu. The meatball sandwich is a force to be reckoned with. Two to three large homemade meatballs are served on fresh baked bread, smothered in spaghetti sauce, and topped with sweet peppers. Like all of Vinny’s Sandwiches, this is served with your choice of french fries, side of penne or side salad. My fourth and final featured item is Rocky’s Raviolis. They describe them as a “pasta pillow” which can be filled with cheese or meat and then topped off with your choice of marinara or alfredo sauce. As an added bonus, all of Vinny’s entrees are served with Vinny’s Family style salad and of course, hot garlic bread. Make sure you eat the garlic bread. Who cares about all the carbs you already consumed, the garlic bread is SO WORTH IT.
“While dining at Vinny Vanucchi’s you are guaranteed a delicious “Taste of the Old Neighborhood,’” is definitely a promise kept by the owners.
Vinny Vanucchi’s is open all week long so you can get your Italian craving satisfied any day of the week. They are open on Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can find them at 180 Main Street in Dubuque, IA.