At Jon & Vinny's in Los Angeles, customers can order a Supreme pizza, a Little Gem lettuce salad and a bottle of 2007 Hubert Lignier Nuits-St-Georges. For delivery. That this crackly, charred, wood-fired pie topped with mortadella, mozzarella, provolone piccante and mustard greens ever sees the inside of a delivery car is surprising. That customers can have it with premier cru Burgundy at home on their couch is basically madness.
Yet part of the fun of Jon & Vinny's, the new restaurant from chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, is actually being there, sitting at the counter, eating that pizza and drinking wine. Watching the two men at work is like witnessing a couple of kids playing pizza shop. Shook is cranking out pies from the Wood Stone oven every four and a half minutes; Dotolo is keeping an eye on the onions in the fryer. The F&W Best New Chefs 2009, known for their hyper-creative food at Animal and Son of a Gun, really, really want everyone to believe that Jon & Vinny's is your basic neighborhood joint. There are meatballs cooking in sauce all day, diner-style plates on paper placemats and special dipping sauces for pizza crusts. "Vinny and I grew up in Florida, and we both remember, after baseball games, going to restaurants with names like Giuseppe's or Manny's," Shook says. "We made this place for our kids."
They also made this place for their neighborhood. That's why Jon & Vinny's opens its doors at 8 a.m. to serve breakfast: great coffee, date scones with salted butter, incredible filled Italian doughnuts called bomboloni. People come from all over for lunch and dinner, and not just for the pizza. There are starters like a tuna conserva salad with shishito peppers, pasta dishes made with fresh bucatini and fusilli from the kitchen's hard-working extruder, and other mains like a massive grilled rib eye.