Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Road Trip: Savannah - Vinnie Van GoGo's

317 W. Bryan St., Savannah, GA www.vinnievangogo.com

You didn't think I was going to take you all the way to Savannah and just leave you with one post, did you?

Kyle, Ben, Danielle and I also had dinner at Vinnie Van GoGo's. This place has been in City Market for a while, and is a favorite of the locals. If you aren't familiar with Savannah, City Market is a very central area full of arts and crafts galleries, stores carrying Southern-made jams, wines, handmade quilts, and an excellent candy shop that I can't blog about because it's a chain - but I'd definitely recommend picking up some fudge there once you've had dinner at Vinnie's.

Vinnie's was my sister's favorite restaurant in-town back when she was a SCAD student living in Savannah, and Danielle and Ben like it a lot, too. I really wish I could get on the bandwagon and become a big fan of Vinnie's, but I just can't. I've eaten there at least 3 times over the past 7 years and I've never left feeling super impressed.

That doesn't mean the pizza is bad. It's not. In fact, it's probably above average. A little above average. There just isn't anything that stands out as fantastic about the pizza. When I see my pie coming to the table, I perk up my nose, but I don't close my eyes in near ecstasy when I smell the aroma the way I do at Blue Moon in Marietta. The restaurant doesn't offer particularly interesting or premium ingredients, the service is so-so, the dining areas (both indoor and out) are crowded, the chairs are somewhat uncomfortable, and I've always waited a decent period of time before receiving my order.

Part of the reason for that last comment is because Vinnie Van GoGo's is always packed - always. As I said, it's in a great location, a very pleasant area of town with a nice view of one of the squares. And the pizza IS notably better than the chains (e.g. Domino's, Pizza Hut). The ingredients, while not particularly exciting, are fresh, and the thin crust tastes like it's made from scratch. Which the website claims it is, so there you go.

Also, Vinnie Van GoGo's is a cash only establishment. No cash only restaurant is every going to get a perfect 10 review on my blog. Most of us under the age of 55 just don't carry a wad of cash around nowadays. I'll give Vinnie's this much - they've posted Cash Only notices on both the inside and outside of the restaurant, as well as on the website, so anyone who approaches the host stand (which is inevitable, considering you've got a snowball's chance in hell of waiting for less than half an hour for a table here) has any excuse when they receive their check, which also proclaims CASH ONLY!!!!! at the bottom.

On a positive note, the pizza isn't overpriced. $2.50/slice for most of it. $.50 extra for toppings, and $.75 for the better ones like pesto, artichoke hearts or spicy Italian sausage. For some reason basic tomatoes and mushrooms are considered premium toppings. See what I mean?

The restaurant also serves calzones and salads.

Verdict: An apparent old favorite of the locals, but not on my hot list of places to dine in downtown Savannah.

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