So, after a brief stopover…and thanks to Laurie keeping an eye on me…we departed Tunica with a few extra dollars in our pockets. The problem was that the map wasn’t clear…or even correct…as we tried to stay on the back roads to Tupelo on the east side of the state. After a lot of zigzagging and finally resorting to a bit of freeway time, we got to Tupelo.
Then the question was indeed, “Where to eat in Tupelo Mississippi?” Our desk clerk told us that one of the most popular places in the area was just up the road a little…
This is Vanelli’s, a Greek and Italian restaurant that has been operating in Tupelo since 1975. (A 37 year run is pretty impressive for any restaurant!) Vanelli’s was founded by Demetrios Kapenekas…who named it Vanelli’s because he figured that no one would want to buy a pizza from a Greek! The current restaurant was built by Papa Vanelli and his sons back in 1991.
This is an interior photo at Vanelli’s… The colors aren’t exactly subtle, that’s for sure! From their website, it appears that, at least from time to time, Vanelli’s has had live entertainment at this location…but the calendar for this summer is blank at this point in time.
Our meal came with the salad bar. While there was enough variety and the ingredients were fresh enough, this certainly wasn’t the most extensive, (nor the smallest), salad bar we’ve experienced.
Laurie had an opportunity to have beets and pasta salad as a portion of her trip to the salad bar. These are items we wouldn’t normally have with a salad at home as they aren’t on my ‘likes’ list.
I have the same problem with a salad bar that I have with "an all you can eat buffet". I look at either of them as a gastronomical challenge! In addition to the healthier ingredients, I loaded this plate with cheese and pepperoni…and then smothered the whole thing with bleu cheese dressing!
Then, for my entrée, I followed up with this healthy plate of Chicken Alfredo. ($12.99) I felt like there should have been a little more chicken and they laid the garlic toast on the Alfredo sauce…making the underside a little soggy. The Alfredo sauce itself was OK…but not distinctive.
Pizza occupies a full page of Vanelli’s menu. You could design your own…but I thought that a couple of the more interesting pizzas were the Athenian with fresh spinach and tomatoes layered with mozzarella and feta cheese ($20.99 for a large 14”), and; the Masterpiece with Canadian bacon, sausage, pepperoni, ham and mozzarella with double cheese. ($21.95 for the large pizza)
There are 12 pasta dishes on the menu ranging in price from $10.99 for Spaghetti with Meat Sauce to $15.95 for the Pasta Platter. (Lasagna, Tetrazzini and Fettuccini Alfredo) In addition, the menu has a section labeled Entrees that includes fish, shrimp, chicken and Veal Parmesan. (The Veal Parmesan is priced at $16.95)
Laurie went for the Greek portion of the menu for her entrée. She had the Vegitarian Spanakopita…spinach, onion, feta and romano cheese layered in Phyllo crust. ($10.99) Although she wouldn’t rate it as outstanding, it was a satisfying meal.
Other Mediterranean items on the menu include: Athenian Lasagna ($11.99); Beef Stroganoff ($15.99) and a Grecian Platter with the lasagna, stuffed grape leaves, spanakopita and Greek meatballs ($15.99) A large Greek Dinner Salad, ($10.99), was one of the Salad options.
There are 9 sandwiches listed including Gyros Pita. ($9.99) This is normally one of our favorites but we felt more like a dinner entrée. One of the 8 appetizers, Toasted Ravioli ($7.49), is something that we’ve rarely seen outside of St. Louis Missouri.
If you’re passing through Tupelo and you’re looking for a safe place to eat, Vanelli’s is a good bet. The food and the service was OK. We would want to try the gyros and/or the pizza if we were to visit again. Vanelli’s Greek and Italian Restaurant, (and Papa’s Place Lounge), is located at 1302 North Gloster Street in Tupelo Mississippi. They are open daily. Phone: 662-844-4410. Website: www.vanellis.com.
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by to share another meal with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave