For the LaMonica’s, every night is like a family reunion.
“So my entire family works here.”
“Stephen’s right front and center. Checking every dish that comes out.”
“My father’s here. My mother runs the front door.”
“My son Joseph, he is the manager of the bar and all of the recipes behind the bar are all his.”
“My youngest brother Nicholas helps out behind the bar.”
“Michaels always making sure that it comes out right. It feels like you’re coming home.”
And there really is no place like home, when you’re at Vuolo’s.
Located in the site of a former train depot, Vuolo’s is a dream turned reality for the LaMonica family, who wanted to bring that feeling of family, along with some time tested recipes to Winthrop.
“Vuolo’s is a family owned and run restaurant. We specialize in Italian cuisine that we grew up eating. Vuolo is my grandparents last name. This restaurant is kind of a tribute to them, my dad’s side as well. We have pictures of all of our family up on the wall because..We want people to come in and feel like they’re having dinner with their family.”
And you know they mean business when it comes to hospitality, when you get a warm welcome from Lisa at the door.
“So many times people will be like, are you here every day? And you know what, it’s not even just a job for me. It’s I like to be here every day. I’m with my kids every day. And I meet a lot of new people, So I enjoy being here all the time.”
And while you can spot Stephen from time to time in the dining room, you’ll mostly find him back in the kitchen, making fresh pasta and firing up modern takes on Italian classics.
“I’m predominantly in the back of the house. I’ll come out on the floor. And it’s like all these people that I know, trying to get my attention to say hi, which is wonderful. And I’m like I gotta get back to the kitchen. I gotta make your food.”
With so many tasty dishes to choose from, deciding between Vuolo’s appetizers can be difficult.
There are big boards of antipasto, stacks of crispy eggplant layered with cream herb ricotta and plum tomato sauce and Mimi’s Meatballs- an app Stephen is particularly proud of.
“Mimi’s meatballs is a must have because it feels like you know your gravy Sunday sort of a thing. And they’re delicious. What do you want me to tell you?”
He’s so proud of the meatballs, he takes it personally when a table doesn’t order some.
“I think I would be offended if you came in and didn’t get the Mimi’s meatballs. You kind of gotta get them. You know?”
He also may be offended if you don’t try his Lobster Arancini-loaded with lots sweet, fresh-shucked meat.
“I don’t know about you but when I go out I want to see a nice piece of claw I want to see lobster meat in the sauce so that’s there’s always a good amount of meat not sauce.”
There are big bowls of mussels and the shareable Fig and Arugula Flatbread.
“We make our dough here. And it’s grilled on the open fire. It’s topped with a wonderful fig jam. It’s got prosciutto, some goat cheese. It’s baked nice and crispy. And then it has arugula. That is one of my favorite things on the menu.”
Since the pasta is all made fresh onsite, a big bowl of Caccio Pepe topped with shaved truffles is a must.
“It’s creamy. It’s peppery. It’s got that beautiful earthiness of the fresh black truffle. It’s a little elevated adult mac and cheese that you can feel good about ordering.”
There are pillowy lobster ravioli smothered in a white wine cream sauce with spinach and tomatoes and Michael’s hearty ragu.
“So the Ragu was my brother Michaels recipe so Michael slow cooks brisket for a minimum of five hours until it’s tender, and it’s falling apart and really, really delicious. And then he makes it into a creamy Ragu sauce that he tops with over pappardelle fresh Pappardelle. And it just blends together so beautifully.”
Entrees run the gamut with a 16 ounce bone in pork chop, topped with a mushroom fig balsamic reduction over creamy risotto to plate tipping-portions of chicken parm.
But if you’re a seafood lover, you’ll simply need to try the cioppino.
“We have mussels in it. We have clams in it, scallops, calamari, shrimp, so you’re getting all the tastes of the ocean. And then we cook it down in a lobster broth with a little bit of marinara. When the cioppino goes out. It’s one of those things that hit the table and everyone’s like, Oh, I should have gotten that one.”
And you’ll want to save room to get one of Vuolo’s desserts, like this Brownie Sundae topped with salted caramel gelato or the ultra decadent White Chocolate Bread Pudding.
It’s unbelievable. It’s a white chocolate bread pudding with a bourbon white chocolate sauce that tops it so it’s nice and warm. And then we top it with a gelato and some fresh whipped cream. It is absolutely the best dessert you’ll ever have.”
And from the time you arrive until you bid the Lamonicas farewell, you too will feel like you’re part of the family at Vuolo’s.
“That’s the first thing that people say when they walk through the door is that it. They feel like their family even their first time coming here, which is really special.”