Late Night At Vinny's

"A slice is nice" at Vinny's.
"A slice is nice" at Vinny's.
Photo by Kate McLean

Not ready to call it quits at 9 p.m. every day? We're looking at the best places Houston has for late-night sustenance. 

“U-S-H-E-R R-A-Y-M-O-N-D, now baby tell me what you wanna to do with me.“

Swaying to slow jams and crushing pizza at 2:30 a.m. is kind of the best. Vinny’s, the late-night child of Agricole Hospitality’s new triplet operation in EaDo, now fills the Pizza al taglio, pizza by the cut, void in this city. Open till 3 a.m. on the weekends, Vinny’s serves pizza pie by the slice as well as salads, sandwiches, and tasty beverages.

Plenty to choose from behind the glass, the pizza slats are strategically eye-level so by the time you’ve made it to the register, it’s all you can do to keep from drooling. Remember, it’s the wee hours and you’re starving. Choose a slice or three—they are moderately priced at $3 and $4, and hopefully you came with people who are down to “pizza switch,” because it’s hard to settle on just one combination.

The Sungold— “blistered” yellow grape tomatoes, basil, Wisconsin Brick cheese. The Green Machine—Kale, caramelized onion, sweet onion puree, French Feta. The Rocket Pie—arugala, Wisconsin brick, Fat Back Bacon, Roasted Garlic Puree. Mouthwatering ingredients are a great place to start, while diving headfirst into The Cheesus, a simple, cheese pizza isn't a bad idea either. The pie itself is thick and airy. Slices are cut, and slid back into the dual gas/post oak deck oven, yay. Names are called out over a roller rink reminiscent microphone and picked up on a cafeteria tray, both fun throw backs.

Dough acrobatics and a generous sprinkle of semolina hitting the wooden board are important visuals to the late-night pizza joint. It’s good to see the staff having as much fun flipping the pie as civilians do watching.

On the subject of salad, The Lil’ Gem is badass—the type of salad you would crave at 2 a.m. In a world of underdressed, under-croutoned salads, Vinny’s responds with just because you’re ordering a salad, doesn’t mean it has to be painful. The croutons, crunchy and well-sauced, are littered throughout the wet baby gem, kale and endive lettuces. It’s like they say, people who love sandwiches, make the best sandwiches—the same sentiment is felt with The Lil’ Gem.

There are plenty of places to catch a stiff drink nearby— like right next door at Miss Carousel, their cocktail bar extension. The drink selection at Vinny’s, wine especially, is geared to be "extremely drinkable and delicious." Sancerre, check. Lambrusco, check. Vinho Verde, check. And yep, they have a few natural selections as well. Bottles of beer on the wall include local craft selections and the gulp-able PBR. Old-timey sody-pops like orange soda and Coca-cola, too.

Ryan Pera, chef and partner of Agricole Hospitality adds, “The neighborhood is still buzzing post 2 a.m. on the weekends. I was young once, who the hell doesn’t want a great slice of pie after a fun night on the town?” Pretty much, yes.

Didn’t get a chance to try the sandwiches, but hey, Rome wasn’t eaten in a day.

1201 St. Emanuel
Open Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight. Friday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.

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