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Originally published December 24, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified December 24, 2008 at 5:52 AM

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Nancy Leson

Vince's offshoot on Rainier

Excerpts from her blog, All You Can Eat If you live in South Seattle, chances are you're familiar with Vince's Italian Restaurant ...

Seattle Times food writer

Nancy Leson on KPLU

THE SEATTLE TIMES writer's commentaries on food and restaurants can be heard on KPLU-FM (88.5) at 5:30 a.m., 7:35 a.m. and 4:44 p.m. Wednesdays, and 8:30 a.m. Saturdays.

Excerpts from her blog,

All You Can Eat

If you live in South Seattle, chances are you're familiar with Vince's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria, founded in 1957 by Vince and Ada Mottola. Since 1983, the business has been run by their son, Vince Mottola Jr. and Fred Martichuski — owners of Vince's restaurants in South Seattle, Burien, Federal Way and the Renton Highlands ( Dec. 15 marked the debut of their latest venture, Pizzeria Pulcinella (10003 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle; 206-772-6861 or and a new business partnership — with David Dorough, who runs the commissary kitchen for all four Vince's restaurants.

"I wish my dad were here to see this," says Vince Jr., speaking of his late father from the Rainier Beach restaurant. "I'm proud of what we do at Vince's — which is very family-oriented. But with this project, it was such a cool space, such an old space. He would have loved this!"

"This" is a cozy 58-seat pizzeria created in the husk of a building that's been around since 1911. "It was the old Lakeside Tavern for about 50 years but has been vacant for the last nine," explains Mottola, who's resurrected and restored the tavern's back-bar, adding a decorative touch to one of two counter-seating areas. But the most coveted seats in the house are those fronting Pulcinella's Valoriani wood-fired pizza oven and its pizzaioli, whose pizzas are in and out of that Italian import in 90 seconds.

Despite the recent spate of snow and icy weather, "we've had a waiting list basically every night," says Mottola, whose pizza-makers have been churning out Neapolitan classics like the thin-crusted pizza Margherita and pizza marinara. As for Pulcinella's best-sella? That would be the pizza Forcella, topped with pepperoni, ham and pepperoncini, "named after the neighborhood in Naples my parents grew up in."

In addition to cannelloni, lasagna, spumoni, cannoli and other Southern Italian favorites, they're offering Peroni on tap, a full Italian wine list and "il Segreto di Pulcinella." (Translation: the secret of Pulcinella, a caramelized, oven-baked cross between tiramisu and a pizza.) Pulcinella is open 4:30-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and till 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Pizza item No. 2:

Cafe Mia

Another trio of business partners are jumping into the Italian-food scene: Troy Christian, Sean Quinn and Rich Troiani, who expect to open Cafe Mia in Normandy Park Towne Center in early January. The 2,500-square-foot Italian-accented bakery, cafe and retail wine shop will seat 30, with an additional 40 seats on the patio in warmer weather, says the peripatetic Troiani (whose name remains associated with a fancy-pants Italian restaurant and grill owned and operated by the Mackay Restaurant Group — though Troiani himself does not).

Troiani notes that his pal Christian (with whom he's been working at Maxwell's in Tacoma) will manage the cafe while Troiani heads down to Scottsdale, Ariz. (in this weather, who can blame him?). There, he says, the partners plan to open an Argentinean steakhouse. Interesting. Cafe Mia will be open daily from 7 a.m. till 7 p.m.

Pizza item No. 3:

The freebie

To celebrate the grand opening of their third store — now open in Ballard (5458 Leary Ave. N.W.; 206-297-1334) — the guys at 'Zaw (, who've been selling "artisan pizza in the raw" on Capitol Hill (1424 E. Pine St., 206-325-5528) and in South Lake Union (434 Yale Ave. N., 206-623-0299), offered a free half-size pie and a Jones Soda to the first 100 visitors at their Ballard location early this week. 'Zaw is all about to-go food and includes their version of take-and-bake pie (though they suggest you consider grilling it on the barbecue ... though maybe not this week). Their pies are said to have a special ingredient: SOUL (their acronym for Seasonal, Organic, Unique and Local). 'Zaw is open daily and offers delivery-by-bikes. Yikes!

Pizza item No 4:

All Purpose Pizza

Kedra Reisinger, owner of All Purpose Pizza (2901 S. Jackson St., Seattle; 206-324-TOGO or, is a hardworking gal who loves her job, her restaurant and the community in which she does business. She is not a fan of Neapolitan-style pizza, nor big corporate chains (soulless, says she) and she wants me to remind you that her Central District pizza-and-pint joint is just about one of the most kid-friendly places around, what with their little self-contained kid's kitchen where young'uns can get jiggy with fresh pizza dough (who needs Play-Doh?), cavorting with their kiddie-cohort while you get down with a pizza and a beer. So go to All Purpose. Bring your kids. Eat pizza. Have a beer — or two. And before you leave, please find Reisinger and tell her, "Nancy sent me!"

This material has been edited for print publication.

Nancy Leson's blog excerpts appear Wednesdays. Reach her at 206-464-8838 or

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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About Nancy Leson
Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson serves up the best info and tips on Northwest food, cooking, dining and restaurants. Check her latest thoughts in her All You Can Eat blog. Her column appears each Wednesday. Her restaurant roundups appear monthly, on Fridays, in the Restaurants and Entertainment sections. | 206-464-8838 | Blog