If you’re a fan of the Red Sox and have a hankering for what East Coast neighborhood pizzerias used to be, look no further. You’re at home at the Eastside’s Bobby V’s. The small, unassuming family restaurant just marked its first anniversary and has kept busy in times when other Eastside restaurants were shutting their doors.
Owner Robert “Bobby V” Valenti built upon his memories growing up in Beantown and brought a little slice of it to Kaua’i.
“The menu is very traditional,” Valenti said, “similar to the many neighborhood Italian restaurants that I grew up around in Boston.”
Though he has been in the food industry 30-plus years, and even formally studied culinary arts, Valenti credits his culinary background to his family.
“I call myself a cook,” he said. “Even though I graduated from culinary school, every thing I know about the kitchen and what I cook I learned from my family growing up.” With a family from Boston by way of Salina, Sicily, that culture has a lot to do with Bobby V’s, he added.
Keeping the motto, “Vivi bene, ridi spesso, ama molto,” which means “live well, laugh often, love much,” it’s in homage to the tradition of ‘la famiglia’ that has meant an authentic Italian menu for Bobby V’s modest trattoria.
For those who may not know what neighborhood Italian restaurants are like in Boston, especially those tried and true that hail from the North End, one consistent thread runs throughout: Good food and an appreciation for eating it. Of course there’s also the pairing of such food with the occasional, lighthearted discussion about how well the Pats or Sox will fare this season to lend a further Bostonian authenticity.
For Valenti, it’s been about bringing all those elements to Kaua‘i, to share with locals and visitors, with a menu that boasts everything from antipasti to cheese manicotti to margherita pizza and homemade cannoli.
The former co-owner of Colenti’s pizzeria in Lihu‘e and later Kapa‘a, Valenti debuted his own recipes and specialty thin crust with the opening of Bobby V’s— and visitors and residents alike have been coming back for more ever since.
Brenda Kropf, of Ontario, Canada, made a habit of coming to the small pizza shop night after night. “This is the only restaurant we’ve returned to consistently in our week here,” she said.
Part of the draw for visitors besides the food itself is the hours of operation.
Though the pizzeria used to be open until 9 p.m., Valenti said it’s stayed open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays to help out those weary travelers who weren’t fed on the plane and are looking for some comfort food.
Those in search for something authentically Italian that isn’t pizza are in luck, with highlights such as the penne pesto, penne alfredo, and penne primavera, Valenti’s three favorites, about which he said, “I love pasta, and could eat it everyday.”
But pizza is their signature dish, Valenti added, noting the thin crust is what makes it.
“It’s unlike any other pizzeria on island.”
Though the menu stays mostly consistent, each week Valenti lines up specials, including specialty pizzas such as the chicken Florentine. Apres-meal items are switched up too, with desserts such as tiramisu, New York-style cheesecake, pineapple upside down cake and vanilla and chocolate chip cannoli, the latter of which stems from the Sicilian tradition of taking a pastry shell and stuffing it with ricotta and succade, a candied peel, then sprinkling the top with confectioner’s sugar.
However, a scoop of their gelato is simple and just as good.
Online: Go to www.bobbyvspizzeria.com
… Valenti debuted his own recipes and specialty thin crustwith the opening of Bobby V’s — and visitors and residents alikehave been coming back for more ever since.