By September 28, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Vito’s – Modesto’s Hidden Dining Gem!

By Dana Johnson

Right there on 13th Street in downtown Modesto between I & J Streets you will find Vito’s, a hidden dining gem! For the past 14 months it has been under new ownership under the guidance of May and Ray Ashak. The couple is very grateful to the previous owner Mr. Lazar Piro for the incredible opportunity to continue the success he built with Vito’s. The Ashak’s moved here from Chicago where other culinary wonders are abundant and very welcome here. The Ashak’s bring with them their Mediterranean, traditional Italian, and Chicago style experience. The Ashak’s have May’s close family ties here and a 5 year old son, reason enough to relocate their lives to Modesto.  Ray has plenty of restaurant history from working with his father, uncle, and brother throughout Chicago’s restaurants and nightclubs, including Lil’ Italy.

Vito’s lead chef, Ricardo Alvarado, at the exciting age of 22, has worked at Vito’s for the past 2 ½ years. He attended the CA Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Chef Ricardo received his inspiration from his Great Aunt Aleja from Mexico as a young boy. She made a memorable dish with beef and a dried chili sauce that he still tries to recreate as she sadly passed away without knowing her recipe. His first hands-on kitchen experience happened when Chef Ricardo wanted to get out of helping his Dad working on a car, he asked his Mom to tell him he was busy helping her in the kitchen. So his honest Mom put him to work in the kitchen and he ended up really getting into it!

Chef Ricardo was born in Mexico, lived in LA until he was 7, in Modesto for the past 15 years, and graduated from Davis High. He likes to go to punk and ska concerts (he wants to go checkout The Fat Cat), shopping in the mall, and reading chef biographies. He loves his Mom’s boiled bean recipe, black cherry soda, and Sierra Nevada beer. Ray, owner/general manager told me he is very impressed not only with Chef Ricardo’s culinary talents, but with his loyalty to Vito’s.

Vito’s has an upscale flare with a presence of family fare. Vito’s has a full bar, features a lunch, dinner, wine, and dessert menu with numerous selections to choose from. I dined on asparagus stuffed chicken breast with a rich and creamy basil sauce, brown rice, and sautéed veggies, it was fabulous! The chocolate fondant cake was nothing short of Dana-licious!!! Please know Vito’s also has gluten free entrees upon request.  I’m thrilled to report Vito’s will be participating on August 11-17th for the downtown dining event featuring signature specials, bigger portions, and lower prices! Vito’s is another generous supporter of local charities and fundraisers in our Modesto community as well. Vito’s is a must on Dana’s Destination list!

Chef Ricardo, Beatles or Stones… Stones cause they are “grimy!” Really? Excellent answer, but for all the wrong reasons! I screamed in my head! To be 22 again!

See for live band entertainment, special wine dinners, and future scheduled events.

918 13th Street
Modesto, CA 95354

Hours: M-Thurs. 11am to 9pm
Fri. 11am to 9:30pm
Bar open til 11pm-ish
Sat. 5pm to 9:30pm
Wednesdays get all you can eat pasta and addicting bread for just $9.95.
Tues., Wed., Thurs 1/2 off selected wines (Rombauer Cab for only $27!)
Happy Hour: 4-7pm with select $5 appetizers
$3 drafts, $5 Martinis, & $5 well drinks
Now that’s some to get happy about!!!
10% discounts with same day Gallo Center or State Theater ticket stubs
10% for Stanislaus County employees with ID card  

Vito’s Recipe
Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breast
3 button mushrooms sliced thin
3 leaves of basil sliced thin
1/2 Roma tomato diced
Tablespoon of goat cheese
3 asparagus spears
1 chicken breast
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup olive oil 

Sauté mushroom basil tomato with salt and pepper until soft then add goat cheese and put in the fridge to cool while it’s cooling blanch asparagus in salted water until bright green then shock in ice water and cut the top of the spears so they are 3 inches long save the rest of the body for sauce butterfly the breast for the stuffing process stuff and roll chicken add skewer to hold the chicken after you place the asparagus inside dredge in flour and place hit sauté pan with olive oil sear both sides and place in 5oo degree oven fir 7-10 minutes for completion

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