When it comes to pizza, I am a big fan. It’s safe to say that pizza is on the menu at my house at least once a week. So when I found out that Vinny’s East Coast Pizzeria was near me and I hadn’t tried it yet, I decided to treat myself.
The particular day that I decided to visit Vinny’s East Coast Pizzeria was a busy one for me. I had to work at both of my jobsand only had a two hour window in between them. Vinny’s is very prominent on food delivery websites such as Order Up and GrubHub, so I decided that ordering my meal for pick up would be the best option due to my schedule. I was having issues with the GrubHub website when I tried to place my order, so I chose to do it the old-fashion way and order by calling on my telephone. The man who took my order was very nice and efficient with placing my order. I was a little disappointed when he told me that they were out of avocado, and therefore, I could not order the avocado quesadilla pizza that I had planned on ordering. Instead, I went with the spicy chicken taco pizza ($11.23). I knew if I came home with pizza for only myself, my boyfriend would be pretty upset, so I ordered him a chicken fiesta calzone ($12.35). I had also read reviews on GrubHub that their garlic knots were good, so I ordered some of those for us to share as well ($3.68).
When I arrived at the restaurant, I was the only one there. It was noon on a Saturday, so I was not expecting to be the only customer. I found out that even though I had ordered 40 minutes before, my order was still not completely ready for me to pick up. This was a little irritating to me since I was under a time constraint, but luckily, it only took about 5 more minutes for my full order to be completed. While I was waiting, I noticed that Vinny’s has daily pizza specials and combo deals that were not listed on their website, which directs you straight to GrubHub when you click on their menu. This was a little disappointing to me, because the combo deals included pizza by the slice, garlic knots and a drink, all for around $6. That seemed like a much better deal than what I ordered, which honestly seemed a bit overpriced.
When I received my food, it was hot and smelled incredible. I could tell that Vinny’s took their time to make sure it was as hot and fresh as possible for me when I picked it up. I went home and got ready to eat my pizza. But first I wanted to try one of these garlic knots that received some good reviews. I was impressed with how the knots looked. They were buttered and seasoned so well that you could tell they were homemade and not just a regular ol’ breadstick that you see at most other pizzerias. It came with a side of cheese sauce that I honestly wished was marinara sauce. The cheese was just your standard artificial cheese sauce, but the garlic knots were worth it.
I opened my box of pizza and was surprised at how big the slices of pizza were. The pizza was cut into four slices and were huge. Even though it was the smallest size of pizza to order at 10 inches, it was A LOT of food. My spicy chicken taco pizza was topped with spicy chicken, onions, peppers and loads of cheddar cheese, with a side of marinara sauce. I loved that the pizza had plenty of toppings and cheese, but the crust was something that I had never experienced on any previous pizza. It was a Sicilian style crust that was thick but not doughy like I would have expected. It was crunchy and had air pockets in it that made it fall apart easily when eating it. I used the marinara sauce to dip in the extra crust that wasn’t covered in toppings, but if it wasn’t for the sauce, I probably would not have eaten it.
My boyfriend enjoyed his calzone, even though it was falling apart pretty easily just from picking up one half of it. The crust on the calzone was thick and didn’t have a doughy texture, which he liked. And it was more visually appealing than other calzones that we have had with its golden brown color and sesame seed sprinkles. His chicken fiesta calzone contained spicy chicken, sausage, pepperoni, and jalapeños. There was a good amount of toppings inside the calzone; they used ricotta and mozzarella cheese to stuff it.
Over all, both of our meals from Vinny’s Pizzeria were very good. Though it is on the pricier side, we both received huge portions for our meals and were only able to eat half of our meals. If I were to order my pizza again, I would try the thin crust option instead of the Sicilian crust, but that is my own personal preference. Vinny’s also serves salads, subs and pasta, there are plenty of different options to try. I will definitely be going back to Vinny’s in the future, preferably during lunch so I can order one of the combo deals.
Vinny’s East Coast Pizzeria is located at 401 W. Kirby Ave. in Champaign, and open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. and Satuday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.
Photos by Brittany Busboom.