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After operating his restaurant for the past five years in a relatively low-traffic residential area on West Orchard Street, Larry Oakes has moved to one of the busiest intersections in Vandalia.
His Italian restaurant – Lorenzo’s Pizza & Pasta – reopened on Tuesday at the intersection of Kennedy Boulevard and Gallatin Street, just east of the Vandalia Statehouse. The building that now houses the restaurant had been a convenience store years ago. It had been vacant for nearly 20 years until it was purchased and renovated by Dennis Grubaugh in recent months.
“I’m hoping the new location will give us more traffic,” Oakes said. “And the building itself is laid out better than the old one, so it should be more efficient.”
Among the features of the new store are a much larger parking area (which will be paved in the next few months), more elbow room in the dining area and an additional waiting area by the front door for carry-out customers.
The menu, Oakes said, will be very similar to the old one. “It’s been streamlined a bit, so we can focus on the most popular items.”
Inside, the restaurant is a mixture of old and new. Oakes brought his pizza oven from the old location, but has a new refrigerator unit and a new fryer.
Wall murals depicting Italian landscapes give the dining area a pleasant and authentic feel. Tables are a mixture of round and rectangular shapes, as well as a few booths, with a seating capacity of about 60.
Heading the staff of seven are Oakes and Tim Smith, who is the chef and manager. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The business is closed on Sundays.
The telephone number is 283-9809.