Vitale’s Grill & Sports Lounge
The worst thing about working so far from home is that I don’t get a chance to be social outside of work very often. Normally, I get off around midnight and have to be back in fairly early in the morning. That combined with the fact I’m not going to drink and drive makes it difficult for me to hang out with co-workers outside of the workplace.
This past weekend, I was invited out for a little bit of a victory celebration and decided I could do a “pop-in.” When I found out there’d be pizza, I ended up staying a little longer than I had expected.
Vitale’s Grill & Sports Lounge is on the northeast side of Grand Rapids on Leonard Street between Emerald and Eastern Avenues. There’s actually three Vitale’s businesses in this location. There’s an Italian Restaurant, a Take-Out, and the sports bar. This complex is the original of the Vitale’s locations and has been open since 1966. The chain of restaurants also includes stores in Ada, Comstock Park, Zeeland, Hudsonville, and Kentwood.
The parking lot for the sports bar in between that building and the take-out building. I found parking near the take-out building and walked back across the lot, past the outdoor beer garden, and found the door along the side of the building that takes you into the bar. The set-up is that of a typical bar. The space is dominated by a circle shaped bar in the middle and cheap tables fill in the rest of the space with video games and TV screens making up the rest of the decor.
There was already a few of my co-workers there and they had claimed a couple tables and got some pitchers of beer and pizza to get started. As much as I wanted to dig in, I held back until some was offered. Don’t want to look like “that guy” although I’m pretty sure I did a good job of becoming “that guy” once I got a taste of the pizza.
At the time, there were two pizzas already on the table and there were two more being cooked. I started snacking on popcorn, but the pizza was too tempting.
I grabbed a slice of sausage and couldn’t decide how I should eat it. The pizza isn’t the typical soggy in-between crust. The crust actually had a pretty good snap to it and I liked the idea of picking it up and folding it over like a NY slice. It’s hand tossed and topped with what the menu calls an award winning sauce.
The toppings were overflowing on each piece of the pizza. They were trying to slide off, but folding the pizza over did a good job of keeping them on. The Italian sausage on the pizza was incredibly delicious. I would take a guess that it was home made. It had a very sweet, yet still spicy flavor. I thought at first it was the sauce, but when I tried a slice of pepperoni later, I realized it was the sausage that made the pizza so good and I’m not usually a fan of sausage pizza.
I never got a look at the bill because it was being picked up by my boss, but a large pizza with one topping goes for about $15. Vitale’s is the kind of pizza I would usually say is not quite my thing, but it was actually very delicious. You know from reading past pizza blog posts that I prefer either Chicago deep dish (which Vitale’s does) or a thin crust. This pizza is somewhere in between yet it’s got so much flavor, I looked past the slightly thicker crust and focused on great ingredients.