This article appears in the October issue of 400 Life.
Nestled in quaint Vickery Village, among the charming shops, park benches and ice cream parlor, Village Italian Bar and Grille waits with comforting aromas: freshly baked bread, roasted garlic, basil.
Choose to sit under the lights in the outdoor seating area and experience a beautiful north Georgia evening while you munch on bruschetta and gourmet pizzas, or relax in the cushioned bankhead seating inside the restaurant’s intimate dining room and enjoy one of their signature dishes with a glass of wine from their comprehensive wine list. On Saturdays, you can sidle up to the bar for an IPA and cheer on your favorite teams.
David Datlof and his wife, Nancy, opened Village Italian Bar and Grille in 2016. Although he is originally from New York, Datlof found himself living in south Florida when he traveled to north Georgia to visit friends and fell in love with the natural beauty of Forsyth County. He and his wife easily decided to move their family north and, with their unique blend of north and south, open a new Italian eatery.
With 25 years in the restaurant business, Datlof envisioned creating a dining experience that focused on family, friends and community while providing quality Italian food, and Village Italian was born.
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The menu is a combination of the classic Italian dishes — spaghetti with meatballs in marinara sauce, lasagna, and baked ziti — and interesting and delicious entrees with a new twist on Italian flavors. Datlof recommends that diners start with the classic cheese pizza and go from there, but a meal should definitely end with one of the eatery’s signature desserts. Datlof’s personal favorite is the zeppole, lightly-fried dough bites sprinkled with sugar with sides of ice cream and chocolate and caramel sauces.
The foundation of Village Italian is the dough. Made fresh daily, the same dough is used in the pizza crust, breads and zeppole. Nothing says “welcome home” quite like freshly-baked bread. Around the dining room, patrons can be witnessed taking that first bite into their pizza. Invariably, their eyes will close, and they will let out a sigh. Despite being a newer presence in Forsyth, Village Italian offers a feeling of familiarity and comfort — like you’re being cared for by an Italian grandmother who spent hours at her stove pouring love and spices into her sauces.
The strongly held belief that life is “all about family and community,” Datlof’s commitment to his adopted hometown of Forsyth County is apparent with his regular “Dough Raising” school fundraisers.Typically held on a weeknight, Village Italian opens its doors for families of a local school to gather and enjoy a nice evening out. While offering an opportunity for local families to unwind in a neighborly setting, these “Dough Raisers” support the community by donating a percentage of customers’ bills back to support the school.
In addition to hosting fundraisers, patrons can enjoy weekly specials such as the family-friendly $10 pizza night or $5 martini night for a special date night. On weekends, there is often live music. Soon, Village Italian will be set up for delivery, adding yet another dining option to its patrons.
Appealing to a wide variety of customers, this unassuming gem is a welcome addition to Forsyth County.
For more information, visit villageitalian.com or call (770) 886-8999.
Story by Erin Collins for 400 Life.