Dining at Vidalia Restaurant in Lawrenceville is like taking a quick trip to Italy. “Just like in Italy, you get lost and find a gem off of a hidden path. The wife is up front and the husband is the chef in the back,” is how owner and chef Salvatore “Sal” Scarlata describes his restaurant, located just off of Main Street on Phillips Avenue. Scarlata’s wife, Eva, greets patrons every weekend.

Sal opened Vidalia in 2005 and has become an integral part of the community. Lawrenceville is home to him and his family. He is very supportive of the community, especially the school system, where his son and daughter are students. Each summer his food can be sampled as part of Weeden Park’s Music in the Park series, or during the Taste of Lawrenceville event.

The restaurant’s motto is “cucina con passione” — cooking with a passion. Scarlata constantly learns and tries to better himself as a chef. The menu is vast and eclectic, showcasing an impressive selection of authentic Italian specialties with provincial presentation.

This presentation includes fresh flowers for that elegant touch. Vidalia uses local purveyors and food grown on local farms to create a health-conscious menu. Scarlata has long avoided cooking with trans fats.

With the arrival of the warm spring weather, Vidalia is opening its al fresco dining area. “We are looking forward to seeing the smiles back on people’s faces as they dine outside again,” Scarlata says. The warmer weather will also bring the new summer light menu. Scarlata is currently showcasing special items from that menu, including the already popular heart beet salad made fresh with field greens.

Says Scarlata: “I always make sure the service is optimal and the food is great. That is how I stay connected to my patrons.”

“I have the best staff ever. They are always sociable. I treat them as family and encourage them to have a personality,” he adds. His staff has learned from the best. Sal personally visits each table during dinner. “We value our customers’ opinions. That makes us better all the time.”

Vidalia is a fine dining, BYOB restaurant. Children are welcome. A children’s menu is available upon request.

Call now to make your Mother’s Day reservation. Vidalia is offering a three-course prix fixe menu for $55 a person. Hours will be extended from noon to 8 p.m. to honor mothers.

Vidalia can found on Facebook and Twitter. Visit www.eatatvidalia.com to see the complete menu. All major credit cards are accepted.

Vidalia Restaurant, 21 Phillips Avenue, Lawrenceville. 609-896-4444. www.eatatvidalia.com

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