Located at 1398 Beacon St. in Brookline, Vittorio’s Grill has restarted its restaurant journey that began in the same building a decade ago.
Max Hassan, chef and owner of Vittorio’s Grill, re-opened the restaurant four months ago, intent on maintaining and expanding the grounds that his father, Vittorio Hassan, established. The concept Hassan aimed to preserve was simple: homemade food and a family-oriented atmosphere. With everything made in house, deliveries flying out the door, and a growing number of regulars stopping by, it is safe to say that Hassan has been successful in his mission.
Vittorio’s runs with the help of just four staff members—all friends and family. With a group this small, customers can be assured that their food will stay true to the cultural roots that run through the entirety of the staff, and that each item will be crafted with meticulous care
“We just do what we know to do I guess, it’s like a natural thing to us,” Hassan said. “That’s all there is to it.”
Hassan spent part of his life in Israel, and even served in the army before coming back to Boston. All the while, his father was proprietor of the family’s original restaurant, Vittorio’s Kosher Pizzeria, which closed its doors in 2003. This legacy inspired and motivated Hassan to open a restaurant when he returned to the U.S., and sure enough, he took over the exact same property.
The restaurant itself has not changed much since the space housed the pizzeria that Hassan’s father owned, a fact that Hassan takes pride in. Hassan explained that Vittorio’s still upholds certain aspects of his father’s menu, and that the staff focuses on treating their customers like family. While some additions have been made to the menu, the restaurant still continues to serve classic American dishes with Israeli flare, while also still maintaining Kosher regulations. The Kosher aspect of the menu is what sets Vittorio’s apart from other restaurants in the area, and Hassan hopes that Bostonians will gain a stronger understanding of what that term really means.
“Kosher meat is not only for Jewish people, it’s clean meat,” Hassan said. “Deeming something as Kosher means that it has to be of good quality.”
The beef that Vittorio’s uses for its dishes is grass-fed, which comes from cows that have been certified as humanely treated. This certainty in where one’s food is coming ensures not only a happier eating experience, Hassan said, but a tastier one as well. And just as diners can be certain that the food coming from Vittorio’s kitchen is fresh, they can also rest assured that meal options are full of variety, for Vittorio’s boasts an extensive menu that is sure to please any crowd.
With its burger options, Vittorio’s is revamping typical American fare. It offers everything from the double-beef Kebaburger topped with tahini and seasoned with Middle Eastern spices to portobello burgers which also feature caramelized onions and spicy chili. But this grill goes beyond innovative burgers, and also offers customers chicken and beef sandwiches that include more traditional Israeli ingredients like spicy shug and hummus.To top it all off, customers can choose from 16 different dressings to top any of their meals, all made in-house.
Although Hassan believes the food should be the focal point of any good restaurants, he notes that the environment is almost as important. With a compact seating arrangement, Vittorio’s creates an intimate setting for customers. Hassan noted that this is the atmosphere his father curated, and it has always been a pleasure to come into work because of it.
“People come in and have a good time,” Hassan said. “When you come to eat, you don’t only come for the food—even if the food is good, you still need the atmosphere, the environment.”
Having lived in Boston for most of his life, Hassan knows what Bostonians look for in their culinary lives, and what is missing. With this knowledge, he was able to create Vittorio’s open atmosphere which customers have found so appealing thus far. Although Hassan faced a few minor challenges, such as the strict requirements on how many seats the restaurant could have, he easily adapted, and has put Vittorio’s on the road to greater growth and success. Of course, Hassan pays homage to his father, as he feels that his father’s role is still integral to the restaurant.
“I always have my father here to help me, God bless him,” said Hassan. “He makes the bread fresh every day, everything is made with love and care.”
Vittorio’s is on a path of seemingly unstoppable growth. Hassan and his entire family have put their efforts into making sure that this restaurant matches up to the respected establishment founded by Vittorio. With such a focus on sharing Israeli and Kosher cuisine, one can easily forget the importance of a genuine atmosphere, and how it can better one’s dining experience as a whole. But Hassan ensures that customers feel at home in the restaurant, a feature that plays a big role in bringing them back and making them regulars.
“When it comes down to it, customers come to a restaurant looking for three things: good food, good service, and good conversation,” Hassan said. “And so that’s what we try to give them every time.”
Featured Image by Michael Brue