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THE DISH: Vinny's New York Pizza & Grill

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Staff Photos: Meghan Kotowski Vinny's serves, from top left clockwise, cheese pizza, chicken Parmigiana, a Green salad and classic spaghetti with meatballs.

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The restaurant recently received a face lift with new table tops and new decor.

ON THE MENU

• Mussel marinara — One pound of sauteed mussels in a spicy garlic white wine marinara sauce served with toasted bread, $11

• Sausage and pepper plate — Sauteed Italian sausage, peppers and onions in a white wine tomato sauce topped with mozzarella served over angel hair pasta, $13

• Chicken parmigiana sub — Lightly breaded and seasoned chicken breast oven baked and topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Served with fries or a side salad, $9

• The Greek pizza — Artichokes, banana peppers, onions, tomatoes, feta cheese and black and green olives, $19 for a medium

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Vinny's New York Pizza and Grill

Vinny's New York Pizza and Grill

6590 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 203, Duluth

770-476-0103

www.vinnyspizzasonline.com

Open since: Aug. 2005

Owners: Vincent and Giovanni Vitale

Location: Vinny's is located at the intersection of Sugarloaf Parkway and Meadow Church Road next to the Walgreens. The restaurant is next to the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 5 to 10 p.m. Saturdays, 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays

Atmosphere: From the outside, Vinny's looks like any other restaurant in a strip mall, but once you enter the front doors you know you've gone somewhere special.

The front foyer has a host stand, plus a window for pick-up and take-out orders -- pretty standard. But then you walk to the dining room, there is a comforting atmosphere with warm colors, art, old wine bottles and two murals on the wall.

The vibe is very easy going for anyone. Owner Vincent Vitale said that the restaurant has a wide range of clients, including teenagers, families, business men and women and professional athletes.

No matter who comes in to eat, Vitale wants them to feel at home.

"This is a place where people feel comfortable," he said. "We love to get to know our guests and call them by name."

Vinny's caters for local corporate businesses regularly, like UPS and Shumate. They also offer catering for weddings and more formal events.

"We've owned up-scale restaurants in the past, but we down-scaled for this venture," Vitale said. "We're very versed in other dishes that aren't on our current menu like seafood for those occasions."

Menu: The menu is comprised of family recipes and other recipes gathered along the way. Vinny's is best known for its calamari fritti and New York style pizza (and all of the dough is made fresh daily).

Another thing that makes this Italian eatery stand out is its attention to detail, quality and price. A majority of the menu is made from scratch and to order, which is difficult to find anywhere other than a high-end restaurant.

"It's really easy to do because we use fresh ingredients and send it out the door," Vitale said.

Some of the made-to-order dishes include tomato basil soup, penne alla vodka, fettuccini alfredo and chicken or veal Marsala.

To accompany your meal, the restaurant offers Italian wine, which can't be found at the grocery store or liquor store, and beer. The Vitales don't serve liquor because they want to keep the atmosphere family friendly.

Need a challenge? Vinny's has one -- the Big Slice Challenge. If you finish at 24-inch pizza slice with four toppings in under 30 minutes, it's yours for free and you receive a "I Conquered the Big Slice" T-shirt. If you can't eat it all, you have to pay for it. Since the Big Slice has started three months ago, only one person has conquered the pizza, so far.

The challenge is available 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays.

Things you might not know: The Vitales recently opened a second location of Vinny's in Midtown Atlanta.