You’ve probably had something from Vocci’s Italian Foods without knowing it. For fifty years, this little storefront in Columbus Park has been the secret to many a “homemade” manicotti, lasagna or ravioli.
“If you’ve been to an Italian restaurant in town that is not Olive Garden or that drive-thru place, you’ve had something we made,” says Chuk Lowry-Falzone. “They tell you, ‘We make our lasagna in the back!’ Yeah, we make your lasagna in the back.”
There’s no shame in that—everything is made by hand, with no preservatives and fifty years of experience. Vocci’s is an institution with area Italian families. Their cannoli are especially sought-after at Christmas and the St. Joseph’s Day Table in March. Lowry-Falzone personally makes sixty thousand cannoli between the two events.
“We’ve always been a family thing,” says Lowry-Falzone, a “quiet Scottish boy from Ohio” who married into the ownership through his husband, Greg Falzone. “Back in the day, this was the Italian neighborhood. People come in and say, ‘My nana brought me in here when I was five. My son needs me to get this, he won’t have anything else.’”
You can make it your family thing by getting a pan of frozen lasagna. It comes without sauce so that the restaurants that sell it can add their own spin.
“Every region has its own sauce, so we just decided we were never going to sauce the damned things,” says Lowry-Falzone. “We give you a good basic lasagna. You just put your sauce of choice on the bottom and ladle it on top.”
Vocci’s has a store-front, but it’s only open when they’re inside working—which can be eighteen hours a day during busy seasons. If not, just ring up Lowry-Falzone, who lives next door and posts his phone number on the shop’s front window. Bring cash.