While plans are moving ahead for the Midtown Row shopping district in Williamsburg, the Italian restaurant Sal’s By Victor remains open and as good as ever.
Sal’s By Victor, a Williamsburg fixture since 1974, is one of a handful of businesses still open in the shopping center during the construction and renovation phase. While business may have slowed down a bit, longtime owner Vittorio “Victor” Minichiello is optimistic about the future.
“We are still functioning beautifully,” he said. “The new owners of the shopping center have been very accommodating. We will be here and better than before. This will be a happening place in the near future.”
Minichiello, a native of Italy, has owned the popular restaurant known for its authentic Italian dishes and pizza since 1989. He also co-owns and co-operates two other restaurants in town, Fat Tuna Grill and Rocco’s Smokehouse Grill.
The menu at Sal’s By Victor features pizza, calzones, strombolis and subs as well as traditional Italian cuisine such as stuffed shells, baked ziti, manicotti and lasagna. There are also weekly specials including prime beef and seafood. Among the best sellers are the homemade Crespella, an Italian crepe filled with a blend of cheeses and spinach; the Pappardella al Ragu with braised veal, beef, pork and sausage in a red wine sauce; and the Chicken Cutlet Parmigiana.
“The Chicken Parmigiana is a classic,” Minichiello said. “We make it fresh every single day. Our pasta is also fresh. The pizza is also made with fresh dough and fresh tomato sauce. We believe that the ingredients are the base. It makes a difference. We offer healthy food made with the finest and most natural ingredients we can find. That has been the goal for the last 25 years.”
Minichiello travels frequently to larger cities like New York and Boston and to Italy in search of authentic Italian cheeses, meats, produce, herbs, olive oil and other ingredients for his dishes.
“I want to give people an experience when they are here from the wine to the food,” he said. “It’s all about giving the customers great food and great service. I like to feed them the way I feed my own family.”
The restaurant carries a variety of wines as well as desserts including homemade cannoli and carrot cake.
Sal’s By Victor also has musical entertainment on Friday evenings. When Midtown Row is complete, the restaurant will have an expanded bar area as well as a patio in the rear of the restaurant.
Minichiello employs roughly 150 people at his three restaurants, and he said it’s the staff and the patrons that keep him in the business after all these years.
“Our goal every day is to always find ways in which we can improve,” Minichiello said. “I like to keep the people I work with and the customers happy. When they come here, it’s like they are coming to my house. That’s what drives me every day.”
Check it out
Sal’s By Victor
1242 Richmond Road
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday