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Vitello's

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After flirting with local hipsters Aroma and Alcove, I thought maybe what I needed was someone older, more distinguished. A real gentleman. Someone who would pay for my valet parking and make sure my glass was never empty. Someone who would ply me with wine and sing to me. I wouldn’t have far to look since Vitello's was right there, waiting across the street for me to wise up.

Yes, I'm talking about THAT Vitello's. Sadly, its name will forever be linked to the murder of Bonnie Lee Bakley. The sensationalism could have felled a lesser restaurant. Look what happened to poor Mezzaluna. But Vitello's rode out the storm. Even a change in ownership two years ago has not affected Vitello's service or quality. Vitello's is all about making the customer feel welcome. The second time I went there they remembered my name, and while I wait for takeout orders they always bring me an iced tea to sip while I wait - on the house.

The ambiance is very central casting Italian with comfy pleather booths. But it's classy - one step up from the checkered tablecloths and chianti bottles. I like to sit in the back, in the piano bar. I especially like the crazy Toulouse-Lautrec-inspired paintings. It's like what he would have been painting if he had somehow been even more wormwood-addled. I also like the entertainment. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday nights are opera nights, with various regulars coming up to sing opera and show tunes. Thursdays are piano nights with Robert, who sings everything from Phantom of the Opera to Avril Lavigne.