Joey knows what's for dinner

| 02 Aug 2012 | 12:10

HEWITT — In the mood for something different for dinner tonight? What about an Italian classic? Or just want to run out for a brick oven pizza with the kids? Now you can do it all at one local restaurant - Joey's Vito and Michael's.

For the past 17 years, West Milford has flocked to Vito and Michael's for great pizza and Italian favorites in a family-friendly environment. Owner Joe Giovinazzo, who also owned Joey's Casa Italiana just across the street at 9 Lakeside Road, decided to combine his two popular eateries. He calls it Joey's Vito and Michael's and it's open for business.

Giovinazzo said he knows the patrons of Vito and Michael's will embrace the change. The new location is warm and inviting, he said, and has a huge parking lot. He has also added a quick take out area for those who want to pick something up on the way home to the family.

Giovinazzo is a chef, and a creative one at that. In addition to the family-friendly menu from Vito and Michael's, the new location will also focus on dinners you might find in a five-star restaurant.

"I am very creative," said Giovinazzo. "I have dishes you can't find in any other place."

Like his very own Seafood Del-Porto. Giovinazzo described the dish as scallops, shrimp and Little-neck clams in a creamy crabmeat sauce over angel hair pasta. Or his Eggplant Rollatini Ambrosia which has eggplant stuffed with spinach, wild mushrooms and mozzarella cheese served with fresh mozzarella and asparagus ravioli in a vodka sauce.

There is a list of gourmet pizza, both thick crust and thin crust, to meet everyone's taste. There is a Healthy Corner on the menu as well as a kid's menu.

Hungry yet? Giovinazzo has a vast collection of wine and liquor that he said he offers at wine store prices, so patrons do not have to bring their own.

"I wanted to keep it affordable," he said.

And the building itself brings something special to the experience. Giovinazzo points out the wall painting in the dining room depicting what Greenwood Lake used to look like in the 1920s. But the heart of this restaurant, of course, is the food. Giovinazzo said he uses quality food and fresh ingredients. He makes his own sauce with fresh tomatoes, not canned, and everything is cooked to order.

"There are no shortcuts here," he said.

Joey's Vito and Michael's can accommodate parties too, with a separate banquet room.

Stop by and see what Giovinazzo is talking about. Joey's Vito and Michael's is located at 9 Lakeside Road in Hewitt. They are open weekdays and Sunday from 1 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 1 to 11 p.m. To take a look at the menu, go to