Vito's In the Valley 4

Vito’s in the Valley is a gastronome’s jewel in Chesterfield Valley, a place where new customers quickly become old friends.

The Sicilian restaurant and gourmet pizzeria located at 138 Chesterfield Towne Centre. Owners Giovanni LaFata and his wife of five years, Jessica LaFata, who live in Wildwood and are parents to Luca (born Sept. 14) and Giovanni Andrea, 3, operate the facility—which opened in October 2013—in keeping with the family’s 20-year tradition in the restaurant business.

Giovanni and his mom, Caterina Maltese, as well as his brothers Vito and Marco LaFata, in 1996, opened Vito’s Sicilian Pizzeria at 3515 Lindell Blvd. in St. Louis.

But the restaurant bug bit even earlier than that. Giovanni’s dad, Vito LaFata, had opened a pizzeria in the old Gaslight Square neighborhood in St. Louis in 1966, “and none of us kids was much older than 4 or 5 when we knew we were destined to be restaurateurs.”

“We watched our dad and mom do something so passionately—my mom had a strong passion for cooking—and it was always a race to the dinner table for all of us,” Giovanni says.

“Even now, all our recipes at both the restaurants are based on our mom’s cooking.”

Vito’s in Midtown originally opened as St. Louis University’s campus expanded and the theater district in that area strengthened, providing a great base of customers.

“I saw what’s now the Vito’s in the Valley location by a friend in real estate, and I didn’t make it ten steps into the building when I decided I wanted to open a restaurant here,” Giovanni says.

“Jessica was seven months pregnant at the time, and, when she gave me a thumbs up, it was a go. She fully designed the interior, and I did all the design of the kitchen layout and did all of the operations.”

Caterina also helps out at the Valley site, “and she and our chef Bryan Srantz meet a lot,” he says.

Vito’s in the Valley offers made-from-scratch Sicilian food for lunch and dinner, private events and catering. They just started opening for lunch on Oct. 1.

“We locally source our food as much as possible,” LaFata said, adding vegetable change seasonally. “We just found a farm we’re starting to negotiate with—about 40 minutes outside St. Louis—to get all the meat. And I make the pizza dough fresh every day.”

The restaurant’s full-service catering targets everything from small homes to offices to large facilities like hospitals.

Both the main dining room and bar have large outdoor patios.

“I believe the Long Road end of Chesterfield Valley is extremely family oriented regarding the neighborhoods that surround us,” LaFata said. “A lot of times, neighbors living close by run into each other when they come here. We have a very local feel though we  attract customers from all over, even O’Fallon and St. Louis city.”

Kids eat free Sundays through Wednesdays for dinner, and starting in November, LaFata’s mother in law Debbie Muschany decks out the restaurant in holiday finery, “better than Times Square,” he says.

“My staff and I get to know customers on a personal basis to where they feel they’re at home not just at another restaurant,” LaFata says. “Our goal for the restaurant is for it to be a local favorite for all people in the area. We want people in West County to fall in love with us as much as we’ve fallen in love with the area.”

For more information, call 636.536.3788 or visit VitosInTheValley.com.