BITE-SIZED

Slice of HEAVEN

Gluttony is no sin at Vino's Pizza & Grill in San Marco

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Craving fast, easy Italian? Vino’s Pizza is the answer. Vino’s, an intimate, unassuming lunch and dinner spot in San Marco, is easily overlooked because it’s in the same neighborhood as Bistro AIX and Kitchen on San Marco. Vino’s, with more of an on-the-go hustle vibe, lets you off the hook to cook after a long day of trucking the kids to soccer games, ballet and band practice.

Sure, the pizza at Vino’s Pizza is good, but let’s talk about other menu options. The first time I went, they were out of Eggplant Parmigiana ($9.99) (if that’s your dish of choice, make sure you call ahead), but that didn’t deter me–Chicken Cacciatore is always a good second choice. The Cacciatore ($10.99) is pasta topped with two nice chicken medallions, all doused in a thin tomato sauce with mushrooms, green peppers and onions.

For my next visit, I chose the Meatball Sub ($6.99), a hungry man meal. You can tell the meatballs are housemade–they’re huuuge. Nestled in a toasted bun with tomato sauce ladled on top, covered in cheese, a hot sub like this can’t go wrong. It was so big, I had leftovers.

Another thing on the menu caught my eye (and palate) … garlic knots. Lots of restaurants in Northeast Florida serve “garlic bread,” but not all bread with garlic is created equal. The garlic knots at Vino’s are a nice option, great for sopping up extra marinara.

Pasta entrées–Shrimp Primavera ($13.99) and Sausage & Peppers ($10.99) include traditional Italian recipes, served over pasta. A little advice: Keep your eye on the carbs. Vino’s serves only the long, skinny pasta varieties like fettuccine, spaghetti and linguine. I was a little bummed rigatoni wasn’t a choice. The wider, ribbed, penne-like noodle is the perfect vehicle for sauce. It’s also my favorite, so I’ll admit I’m a bit biased.

Let the record show that Vino’s creates a balanced meal, with each section of the Nutrition Plate represented. In addition to pasta, you get a nice side salad, too. Choose a salad dressing from the usual regular options like bleu cheese, Caesar, Greek, ranch, oil and vinegar and … you know what’s coming … Italian!

To sharpen any cool cred crushed by knowing what the Nutrition Plate guide is, get dessert. Choose two cannolis ($3.99) in one order or try Zeppoli’s ($3.99), the Italian take on a doughnut covered in powdered sugar.

Vino’s Pizza is a shining beacon of hope when you’re way hungry but can’t summon the energy to cook or even leave the house. They have a rather easy ordering system online, for all you introverts–you won’t even have to talk to a real person.

The staff at the pleasant, no-frills pizza joint is affable and accommodating, so bring the family and manga on down!

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