For the hundreds of you who bemoan the fact that Vic Perdue closed his namesake restaurant, Vic's on Main, in Crete, Ill., weep no more. He is alive and well and working his executive chef magic at Venice Italian Steakhouse in Dyer, Ind. I wrote about their lunch menu last year when the kitchen was helmed by a different chef. Be advised, the restaurant is now open for dinner only. Still, a gander at that article will lead you to some great shots of the interior of this urbane eatery.
After closing Vic's on Main, chef Perdue became executive chef at Viaggio on Madison Street in Chicago. While there, his food was given three unanimous "yes" recommendations by "Check Please" TV show reviewers. "Chicago's Best" voted his meatballs as the best in Chicago, Perdue has been featured on Chicago-based shows for his Meatball Salad and Lobster Ravioli, and the accolades go on and on.
His plans for Venice Italian Steakhouse are to bring back authentic Italian cuisine, fusing northern dishes with southern dishes. He espouses the concept of fresh in every entrée so all the menu items as well as specialty dishes will be made from scratch. His motto at Venice is to provide a unique, memorable, dining experience by satisfying three essential must-haves: superior food-quality, a beautiful comfortable atmosphere, and a service staff that makes you feel like family.
Vic Giannotti, the owner of Giannotti's in Norridge, Ill, had the biggest influence on Perdue, who went to work for him at the age of 23 as a line cook.
"Vic Giannotti believed in staying true to the art, everything is fresh, everything is from scratch and everything is authentic, true Italian just like mom used to make. I worked there for eleven years and eventually became his Executive Chef. I learned a lot from him that was a great opportunity for me at the time."
Perdue and owner Seif El Sherif are working on a new menu that will combine some dishes from the original menu with new ones, including housemade pasta, housemade Italian sausage, from-scratch stocks and sauces, and the finest olive oil and tomatoes. Look for these new menu items in place right now -- Chicken Vesuvio, Chilean Seabass Special, Vic's Classic Bruschetta, Rigatoni Pork Gravy with Ricotta Cheese Scoop, Tiramisu, and Vic's Famous Meatball Salad.
January 2014 will see the start of Wine & Cocktail Dinners and authentic Italian-style pizza as well as traditional pizza. Among the amenities at Venice Italian Steakhouse are an extensive imported and domestic wine list, domestic, imported and craft beers, retro cocktails and all the latest martinis and other drinks. Private party space is available and there is a large parking lot. While no children's menu exists, they are accommodated nicely with pastas, chicken tenders and other favorites.
The restaurant isn't visible from busy U.S. 30. Its main entrance is behind the building, right off the parking lot. So if you're heading east on U.S. 30, you'll turn north (left) after you hit Hart Street. If you're heading west on U.S. 30, you'll make your turn going north (right) before Hart. I'm making it more difficult than it sounds but, believe me, you DO want to find this place. The changes sound exciting!
Venice Italian Steakhouse
Address: 275 Joliet St. (U.S. 30), Dyer, IN 46311
Hours: Open 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays for dinner only
Price: $$ to $$$