Now that Vito’s has resurrected the Tom and Jerry, the First Hill institution is endeavoring to bring back the heady days when our civic power brokers swilled multiple lunchtime martinis before staggering back to the office, presumably to nap.
Vito’s is now open for lunch on the first Friday of each month. The meals are known as the “two-martini lunch,” though you are unlikely to be met with resistance should you stick to one. Or you can slug down three, as long as you’re not driving. That whole nostalgia thing only goes so far.
The lunch menu runs from 11:30 to 3 and includes salads, cannelloni, sauteed clams, a burger, and a grinder. The most expensive thing on the menu, a braised lamb shank, is $15. Perhaps most importantly, vodka and gin martinis will run you $7.
According to bar manager Justin Gerardy, a nephew of original owner Vito Santoro recalls prepping giant vats of chilled, cheap vodka before the lunch rush. With the Hideout ownership now running the 58-year-old restaurant, the martinis are likely crafted with a bit more care than their 1960s counterparts. And in this haven of dry, non-cloying cocktails, Friday lunchers can also jettison the martinis for, say, a Waldorf and Stadler (made with gin, lime, Falernum, Fernet, and muddled cucumber) or a Six Cylinder (a blend of gin, Dubonnet, both sweet and dry vermouth, Cherry Heering, and Campari). Says Gerardy, “Both are light enough to take early on in the day and complex enough to give you something to think about.”
Well what do you know…the next two-martini lunch is happening this Friday. Cancel your afternoon meetings and venture back to the Mad Men-ish days of lunchtime imbibement. Minus the chain smoking, philandering, secretary-ogling, and inebriated pants-wetting, of course.