24504 Lyons Avenue
Newhall, CA 91321
I really love Katie's extended family. Coming from such a small family myself, I never really had a ton of cousins, aunts, and uncles around. Our holiday dinners usually consisted of the four of us, plus my one uncle and his family. We didn't even have to break out the dreaded kid's table until my sister had kids. This was not the case for Katie.
An unofficial count on my hands, and not including spouses, Katie has five aunts and uncles, eight first cousins, and countless second cousins. With a family this large, there's always something going on, and on this weekend it was her cousins Steve and Kevin's Eagles tribute band, Dark Desert Highway which was performing. After getting off work on Saturday afternoon, we took the long drive up the 5 Freeway and made it to Vincenzo's just as the first chords of Hotel California were being strummed. Impeccable timing as always.
Of course, this gave us a chance to try out a new restaurant. That's probably the only time that Vincenzo's has been called new recently. They have been in business at this address since 1979, and in those 38 years, they have expanded to four times their original size. The business was started by a former Pittsburgh resident, Vincenzo, who could not find a quality pizza in Santa Clarita like the ones back home in the Steel City. He got a friend to show him how to make pizza, and like they say, the rest is history. Vincenzo is unfortunately no longer with us, but his restaurant lives on with the latest owner, Steven Katz, who is passionate about keeping the originality and quality of the food from back in the day. Let's see if he has succeeded.
Vincenzo's is located right near the 5 Freeway and Lyons Avenue but is set back from the street, and easy to miss if you are not familiar with this area. Just look for the driveway between the Chevron and Shell Station, and you'll find it. Vincenzo's is laid out with two dining areas and the registers in the middle. The ordering process here is not very practical, as the lines get backed up very quickly. Maybe a line dedicated to beverages only would help alleviate the gridlock here. After about fifteen minutes of waiting in line, we finally got back to our seat and enjoyed some Dark Desert Highway. Let's see if the food at Vincenzo's will give us a Peaceful Easy Feeling, or will it be a Heartache Tonight?
Our good friend Rosanna got the Individual Pizza Special ($10.50), which come with a large drink and this Small Green Salad. This salad was pretty good sized for a small salad and came with fresh greens, olives, plenty of mozzarella cheese, and some croutons. I'm not sure if she asked for both Italian and ranch dressing, but I like that combo.
Here's a shot of the Individual One Topping Pizza that belonged to Rosanna. She went the traditional route, opting for pepperoni. What struck me most about this pizza was the thick and puffy crust. There were no complaints from Rosanna about this pizza, but with Dark Desert Highway blaring over the sound system, it would have been hard for me to have heard her anyway.
The menu at Vincenzo's says that a Small Pizza ($18.95) feeds two to three people and since Katie and I could only polish off three-quarters of this pizza, I totally believe them. Since Katie let me pick the toppings, I got onions, pepperoni, and sausage, which are my go-to items on any pizza that I get to choose the toppings for. This was a pretty solid, old school pizza. Kind of reminded me of a less oily Barro's pizza that I had as a kid. It was not overly cheesy, but there was plenty of meat and onions to pick up the slack here. The crust was very prominent and was a great vessel for the toppings. I'm not one for eating the crust of a pizza, but Katie does, and she liked this one.
Vincenzo's is not earth shattering pizza, but a very solid choice if you happen to be in the area. The setup here is very old school, and I imagine a bunch of people from around this area grew up coming here after Little League games, having birthday parties and also made this a Friday night tradition giving the cook at home a night off. It was packed on this evening, filled with what I assume were big fans of Eagles music. Dark Desert Highway did not disappoint on this evening and this was also a great chance for Katie and me to catch up with her family.
Out of five horses, (because near this restaurant was Gene Autry's, Melody Ranch, which was the setting for many movies, most of which featured cowboys on horses), five being best to zero being worst, Vincenzo's gets 3 horses.
For more information about Vincenzo's, head to their website here: http://vincenzosnewhall.com/