Ann Maffucci's legendary Sicilian recipes have come to Berlin in hands of her son at Vito's Pizza

Published on Wednesday, 19 January 2022 14:56
Written by Erica Drzewiecki


BERLIN – Ann Maffucci’s legendary Sicilian recipes have come to town in the hands of her son.

Rob Maffucci opened Vito’s Pizza at 1863 Berlin Tpke. the second week of January, offering Italian classics to-go.

“We got swamped last weekend; we had to take the phone off the hook,” Maffucci said inside his kitchen before opening Wednesday. “Saturday we sold a lot of food.”

His parents, Bill “Vito” and Ann Maffucci, opened the first Vito’s Restaurant in 1978 in Wethersfield. Vito’s Restaurant Group went on to open several more restaurants in Hartford, including Vito’s on the Park and V’s Trattoria, as well as a Windsor eatery - Vito’s by the Water.

“In Hartford we were wiped out due to covid,” said Maffucci, who took some time off last year to regroup and come up with a new business plan. “I took a look at things, saw what was working, what wasn’t and considered all the different variables. I decided that take-out is the only safe bet right now. With the cost of goods and labor it was the only way I could see opening a new venture.”

While there is no sit-down service at Vito’s in Berlin, the counter is large and below it are prepared foods, almost like an Italian market. Homemade sauces and fresh pasta are available in the cooler to take home for those cooking up their own feast. Maffucci also has an extensive catering business, serving large banquets, luncheons and private dinner parties.

“This gives me an opportunity to take what I’ve learned over the last 40-some years and get back to the simple things that work the best,” he said. “Great comfort food that is time-tested and that everyone enjoys…I still hear my mother’s voice in my head telling me to keep it simple.”

Many of the recipes on Vito’s menu were those she passed along to her son and daughters.

Vito’s famous Bolognese sauce is made from Lamberti’s Italian sausage and ground beef and finished off with orange zest. Maffucci makes a 10-gallon batch every morning.

“Sicilian cooking has a lot to do with citrus,” he said. “When you’re driving through Sicily you can smell the orange groves. It’s intoxicating.”

Gourmet pizzas include one called “The Berlin Fare” - featuring white garlic sausage, peppers and onions. There’s also fried dough for sale, a favorite from Vito’s in Hartford.

“This restaurant is so well-equipped it can handle not only takeout but also my catering business,” Maffucci said of his new spot in Berlin, adding, “Because it is so centrally located in the state it’s a good jumping-off point for me. I think there’s definitely a pent-up demand for really good Italian food in this area. I hope I fill that need.”

Vito’s Pizza is closed Mon., open Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 12-8 p.m. Call 860-505-7466.

Posted in The Bristol Press, General News on Wednesday, 19 January 2022 14:56. Updated: Wednesday, 19 January 2022 14:58.