SOUTHINGTON — Not as thin as New Haven style and not as thick as Greek style, a pie from Domenic’s & Vinnie’s Pizza reflects the three owners’ unique approach, one that’s built a loyal following over 70 years.
Owners Rick Trocchi, Mike Annenberg and Vin Crudele said fresh ingredients and a singular focus on pizza has kept customers coming back for decades.
“Our whole menu is pizza,” Trocchi said. “We focus on what we do well.”
The restaurant’s name incorporates two Waterbury pizza shops, the oldest of which started in 1949. Domenic’s & Vinnie’s is celebrating 70 years in business this year.
Trocchi’s relatives started Domenic’s, which was sold before being bought back by family members. Crudele and Annenberg opened Vinnie’s in 1993 and expanded with the Southington location on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike in 2004.
The two restaurants merged in 2004 to become Domenic’s & Vinnie’s.
Trocchi said the menu is intentionally focused: pizzas, salad, beer, wine and soda. Dough is rolled out each day in the early afternoon to handle the evening’s orders. Sausage for the restaurant’s top selling pie is also made in-house and the restaurant goes through 400 to 500 pounds of it per week.
“We cut it, season it, grind it,” Trocchi said.
The sausage has a kick.
While the shop sells thin, New York-style pizza in addition to its own style, Cruele said the slices are stiff and the bottom is protected from overcooking by cornmeal.
“You can still pick it up and it’s not floppy,” he said.
‘Damn good following’
The restaurant opens in the late afternoon and doesn’t sell pizza by the slice. Owners said there’s never been a strong weekday lunch crowd in their stretch of Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike but have started opening for lunch on the weekends.
“We opened over the weekends and that’s where it’s at,” Annenberg said.
Some dinnertime customers have been ordering the same pizzas at the same times for years.
“We have a damn good following,” Crudele said. “Our employees get to know our customers by name, by pizza.”
Domenic’s & Vinnie’s has locations in Southington, Waterbury and Middlebury. They’ve also opened a location in the Kinsmen Brewing Co. on Canal Street called Sauced.
Crudele said the partnership has worked out well and that the pizza shop would “grow with Kinsmen.”
Domenic’s and Vinnie’s, 868 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, opens at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and noon Saturday-Sunday. Prices for a one topping pizza range from $14.75 for a small, $20 for a medium and $25.50 for a large. Specialty pizzas range from $17.75 for a small, $23.25 for a medium and $29.50 for a large. To reach the restaurant call 860-621-9846.