It’s not every well-established restaurant that continues to make changes after almost two decades in business. After all, when you’re already a success, why rock the boat?
But for Vincenzo “Vince” Sanzone, owner of Vincenzo’s Little Italy II in North Cape May, there’s always room for change. And this one comes in the form of breakfast.
Located in the corner of the Cape May Shopping Center, Vincenzo’s Little Italy II has a loyal clientele. Patrons have been coming for years for the authentic Italian cuisine. Now they can come for eggs as well.
“It’s just two days a week,” says Sanzone of his decision to incorporate a weekend breakfast menu into his already expansive offerings for lunch and dinner. And for those preferring a more casual meal or something for takeout, his pizzeria — attached to the restaurant — has extensive options.
Breakfast options include the usual fare — think eggs and pancakes — along with homemade breads such strawberry, kiwi, banana or blueberry, fresh smoothies and juices that, in keeping with their BYOB status, can be used as mixers for Bloody Marys, mimosas or sangria.
This change comes right on the heels of another development at Vincenzo’s. The restaurant was closed briefly this winter to undergo substantial renovations and re-opened after a few weeks — in a virtually unrecognizable space — to the satisfaction of Sanzone and his customers.
“Everyone loves it,” explains Sanzone of the renovation, which included the addition of columns, an awning and a pergola, meant to give customers the feel of being outside.
And while the decor strives to have you feeling more like you’re in the Italian countryside rather than a shopping center in South Jersey, the food is what really keeps customers coming back. A truly family-friendly restaurant, Vincenzo’s Little Italy really does seem to have something for everyone. From Italian staples such as spaghetti and meatballs ($16.99), lasagna ($18.99) and stuffed shells ($16.59) to specialty items such as veal alla Vincenzo ($24.09) — a favorite of Sanzone, naturally — which is veal sauteed in butter with fresh tomatoes, lump crabmeat, mushrooms, fresh basil and mixed herbs in wine sauce and seafood pescatore ($22.95), a combination of mussels, shrimp, scallops, clams and calamari in red sauce with pasta, there are plenty of Italian and seafood options from which to choose.
If pasta and seafood aren’t your thing, there is a decent selection of dishes focusing on meat or poultry. Filet mignon ($27.99), center cut pork chops ($17.95) and New York strip steak ($27.99) cover the basics, while an Italian surf and surf, complete with a 6-ounce filet served with shrimp scampi ($26.99), takes things up a notch, as do the veal saltimbocca alla Romana ($22.99), veal sauteed in butter, topped with ham and melted mozzarella in a light brown sauce, and the chicken Portofino ($22.59), chicken sauteed in butter with lump crabmeat, fresh tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, capers, marinated artichokes and fresh herbs in lemon and wine sauce.
Appetizers and salads include vongole alla casino — clams casino — ($9.99), bruschetta ($7.90) and antipasto alla Vincenzo ($24.09), another of Sanzone’s favorites, which includes onion, tomato, giardiniera, imported ham and salami, provolone cheese, olives, egg, roasted peppers, artichokes and prosciutto served on a bed of lettuce. Soups include lobster bisque, New England clam chowder, and escarole all priced at $3.59 per cup and $4.79 per bowl.
Gourmet pizzas range from a simple 12-inch Margherita ($9.99) with fresh mozzarella cheese, plum tomato sauce and basil, to Giovanna’s Favorite ($12.99 small, $18.99 large), a pizza topped with hot dog, artichokes, ham and mushrooms.
A family favorite, Vincenzo’s wouldn’t be complete without a children’s menu. All kids’ selections are $6.99 to $8.50 and are served with ice cream. Choices include basic kids’ menu fare — pizza, chicken fingers, hamburger with fries — but also include options such as gnocchi with one meatball or sausage and a fried shrimp platter. There is literally something for everyone.
And while Vincenzo’s Little Italy II is a BYOB, don’t worry if you forget to bring your vino. They also hold a provisional license for selling wine from Turdo Vineyard.