Monday, March 25th, 2019

Vino Italian Bistro Story


VINO ITALIAN BISTRO

Tantalizing dishes for any appetite

by Angela Slevin


Chef Joshua Rogers

Chef Joshua Rogers

Dining at Vino begins even before one enters. The scent of wood burning in the brick oven from Italy excites the senses immediately. The identifiable, yet still unique aroma, is a fitting preface to the feast that awaits inside.

Owner Dustin Hughes describes this restaurant as polished casual. The gleaming bar in the center of the dining room, the plush booths, and the soft lighting set the scene for a memorable visit. The broad range of dining options puts Vino well within reach of any budget, and everyone is welcomed and treated like family, whether in board shorts or business suits.


“My favorite part of this business
is talking with guests face to face.
It’s the best part of my day.”

— Owner Dustin Hughes


“We really strive to make people happy,” Dustin says. “The utmost care and respect go into every dish we serve. Our pasta is homemade and our bread is baked fresh every day.”

Dustin has made many friends since the restaurant opened about three years ago. It’s not unusual for him to arrive for work and find several tables of regulars to visit. “My favorite part of this business is talking with guests face to face. It’s the best part of my day,” Dustin smiles, “except for when my 1-year-old squeals when I get home!”

The restaurant opens at 4 p.m. for dinner on weeknights. A wide variety of hot and cold appetizers are offered, as well as several salads, including caprese salad. Pasta dishes such as rigatoni abruzzesse, a hearty meaty pasta, gnocchi with spinach, plum tomatoes, smoked mozzarella and gremolata, fetuccini Alfredo, linguine con vongole, and lasagna are waiting for one’s evening out. Chef Joshua’s favorite dish to cook among the offerings is tortellini carbonara, starring cheese stuffed tortellini with a velvety cream sauce accented with pancetta, mushrooms and tiny green peas. Chicken Marsala, and eggplant or chicken parmesan are available as well.


Tortellini carbonara

Tortellini carbonara


The menu also includes specialty pizzas like the Popeye with spinach, feta cheese and roasted garlic, the Mediterranean with roasted artichokes, garlic and herbed goat cheese, and pizza Margherita, with sliced tomato, fresh mozarella and basil.

The bistro opens at 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for lunch.

Chef Joshua started cooking at the knee of his great grandmother. His first restaurant job was at the age of 15 in a pizzeria. By 16 he was the manager, and he has even studied in the fine cafes of Naples, Italy. Over the last 20 years Joshua has cooked all kinds of cuisine, having been chef at top restaurants in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. His recipes really have substance; the marinara sauce he makes at Vino is a family recipe that is at least 200 years old.

Guests have praised the attentive wait staff. Chef Joshua insists it’s all about the teamwork from everyone working in the kitchen to those working directly with their clientele. They are all a family.


Seared scallops with honey bee pollen over polenta cakes and grilled watermelon

Seared scallops with honey bee pollen over polenta cakes and grilled watermelon

Locally sourced ingredients are used as much as possible. “Our style of elegant simplicity and use of fresh, local vegetables and fruits allow the flavors to come through,” Chef Joshua notes.

Even the scallops right now are locally sourced, coming from the Outer Banks, and Chef Joshua has created something unconventional – seared scallops with honey bee pollen. “As the bees return to their hives, the pollen falls from their legs onto a soft plastic landing mat. Its flavor varies - earthy when vegetables are coming in, and flowery in the spring and summer when flowers are the source,” he explains. It resembles tiny gold pebbles and has a pleasant green tea-like flavor.


“Our style of elegant simplicity
and use of fresh, local vegetables and fruits
allow the flavors to come through.”

— Chef Joshua Rogers


If a craving hits for Vino fare but leaving the house is off the table, orders can be delivered by Order Up.

In the mood for something different? The wildly popular monthly wine dinners may be just the thing. Once a month, the restaurant closes to the general public for an evening and hosts a unique five course dinner designed around five courses of wine for $50 per person. The next one will be on Wednesday, August 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. and will feature French wines. The wines are available for purchase by the bottle (that evening only) at deeply discounted rates. Reservations are required, and the spaces fill up very quickly. Details are posted on Facebook.

“Being a bistro gives us an opportunity to practice gastronomy and give people new experiences,” Chef Joshua continues. “We might serve caviar pearls made with balsamic vinegar, or we might have rabbit or quail. It’s a really fun opportunity to create new things, try new combinations, or put a twist on well known ingredients.”




Vino Italian Bistro

138 S. Battlefield Blvd.
Chesapeake, VA 23322

757-277-9081
http://www.vinoitalianbistro.com