Vincent W. Monarca, also known as “Vinny”, has been in the kitchen cooking with his Sicilian grandparents since he was old enough to grate cheese and knead dough. Vinny’s father and grandparents moved from Sicily to Hartford, CT, where they continued in the practice of sustainable production of food grown on the farm- from growing their own tomatoes to canning them as tomato sauce. Vinny continued his informal training throughout his high school years while cooking and waiting tables at a restaurant managed by his Aunt Philomena in Connecticut.
Vinny’s passion for food and cooking led him to get a culinary degree from Johnson and Whales in Providence, Rhode Island. After graduating in 1992, Vinny moved to the beautiful mountains of Summit County. Vincent was fortunate to find a sous chef position at Ski Tip Lodge in Keystone, where he was able to cultivate his fine dining skills. He has also run kitchens in several other high quality restaurants over the years. In 2000, Vinny decided to try his hand at preparing healthier cuisine at Alpine Natural Foods in Frisco. He was the chef in charge of the deli and catering there for 7 years. People from all over came year after year to sample his unique vegetarian food.
Vinny has created quite a reputation around the county for preparing creative, delicious food using the highest quality ingredients possible. This reputation led Vinny to finally pursue his dream of opening his own restaurant and making excellent food for his community and tourists alike.
In 2011, Vinny married his wife Sarah. Sarah has her own long history of a love for the art and responsibility of food. Her story begins with discovering a love for creating in the kitchen, and digestive issues (many of our customers also have to deal with such issues). Upon realizing that conventional medicine was not helping with her problems, Sarah turned to the local Naturopath who suggested she make some changes to her diet. These changes greatly improved her health! After discovering that food can heal and that there were so many other people dealing with similar problems, she decided that her contribution in this life could be making healthy food tasty and available to all! The first stop was to check out the Raw Food Movement at the Creative Health Institute in Union City Michigan, then on to the Living Light Institute if Fort Bragg, California. Both places educated her on the healing properties of whole foods, food combining, assimilation, organic farming, and the responsibility that goes along with producing food.
Her path later led to becoming a private chef, yoga instructor and personal trainer in Arizona; but her heart eventually led her back to Summit County. Upon returning to the area, Sarah began work as the Deli Manager and Cook at the local health food store… where a certain chef frequently shopped. Eventually, Sarah left the health food store and is currently the front of the house manager at Vinny’s.
Sarah and Vinny enjoy hiking, biking, cross country skiing, and downhill skiing together with their two dogs. They are both very passionate about their restaurant and strive every day to bring the best food, service, and comradery of locals and tourists alike in a place that is home to them and the rest of the Vinny’s family.
The “Family” that Vinny and Sarah refer to are not only actual family and long-time friends and members of the community, they are the individuals who daily give of themselves to personal aspiration as well as to the objective of Vinny’s. Each person is here because we want to be here. We live in Summit County because it’s a great place to live. And although there are plenty of restaurants around here, this is the place we want to spend our time and energy.
I’d like you to meet the “family”! More to come soon!