The ‘90s were not good to Vito’s. After a solid 40-year run under the management of Vito Santoro, the Italian restaurant tucked at the corner of 9th and Madison fell into disrepair. A dance floor was added, club nights were the norm, and the term “dive bar” became synonymous with what was once a gem of First Hill and a frequent watering hole for politicians, lawyers, and priests.

Enter Greg Lundgren and his business partner of 17 years, Jeff Scott, the duo behind close-by bar the Hideout. Lundgren and Scott have signed an 18-year lease on Vito’s, and consider it their long-term project to “bring back something Seattle had before.”

“What drew us in was the history here and how many people have come before us. It’s totally worthy of taking on as a project and restoring [Vito’s] to it’s former glory,” Lundgren said.

And quite a project it has become. Lundgren notes a lot of work has been done to “fix the mistakes of the ’80s and ’90s.”

With one week until the grand opening on September 16, the restaurant is still a work in progress. But, Lundgren assures us “a lot can happen in one week.”

Take a look at our slideshow and sneak a peek at the new and majorly improved Vito’s.

All photos by Alexandra Notman unless otherwise noted.

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