Entertainment tips from a ‘traditional, traditional’ Italian professional
Written by JOSHUA BYERS
It didn’t take long for Vince Vaccarro to learn his calling.
“Being born Sicilian, you almost already know how to cook,” he laughs. “But my mom and dad were great entertainers and I learned from them.”
Vince, owner of the popular Lorenzo’s Italian Restaurant at 1753 E. University, was born into a ‘traditional, traditional’ Italian family. He remembers Saturday afternoon dinner parties that would start at 4 p.m. with appetizers and more to come.
Vince was involved as early as 10-years-old, helping prep the sauce and serving drinks.
Dinner would start around 7pm and end no earlier than 10–it was then that the double-deck pinnacle games would begin.
Sometime around 1am, a second dinner would be prepared by the men after the game.
“The parties wouldn’t end until 5am. I didn’t know it then, but … those were the days,” Vince mused.
It was 1995 when Vince opened the original Lorenzo’s in Mesilla in the building that is currently Andele’s Dog House. He had a successful restaurant in California before deciding to sell and get out of the “Cali-grind.” He and his then-partner began looking for potential locations and Las Cruces came on the radar aft exploring Albuquerque.
“The people were so nice and I loved it here,” he says. “The culture and the atmosphere were hard to ignore. Las Cruces is different. The people make a town.”
Vince says he’d much rather have a group of friends over to his house than have a party ‘on the town.’
“The ambiance to me is the most important, depending on what the dinner party is,” Vince says. “If it’s casual with a bunch of guys, we’d just sit back with some beers and chips to kick off the night and then play a game like cornhole and smoke cigars. If it’s more of a dinner party, then we might start with some mixed drinks and maybe a fire in the fireplace and some light music and appropriate mood lighting.”
Vince says the benefit of living winter months in Las Cruces is obvious—the weather.
Vince tends to stay away from themed parties.
“To me it is far more enjoyable to tell stories back and forth and laugh, this can go on for hours,” he says. “Although I did have a Godfather Trilogy party, but we ended telling stories through the movie.”
Vince says the focal point at any of his parties is the food.
“People are expecting something other than boiled hot dogs,” he laughs. “And I’ll admit, I like to show off a little bit.”
He says changing up food during the winter months brings in a lot more choices—think Squash—but summer is still his favorite.
“One of my favorite things to make is a white fish on the grill,” he says. “It’s real fun to do, with some basic sides like red potatoes — Italian style of course — and maybe some mixed vegetables, to finish the dish.”