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The Way Nonna Made It | 10 Things About Jon & Vinny

SoFi Stadium will be teaming up with award-winning Los Angeles chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo to create a groundbreaking culinary experience for the stadium. Here are 10 things about the duo behind that vision, including how they met, their iconic LA-based restaurants and locations, and food they are famous for.


1: Where to find them

Known for their Californian-Italian restaurant Jon & Vinny’s located in Fairfax and Brentwood, the duo are also the chefs and restaurateurs behind animal, a New American restaurant in Fairfax; Son of a Gun, a seafood restaurant in Beverly Grove; event and catering company Carmelized Productions in Inglewood; and Cookbook Market, a micro-grocery with stores in Echo Park and Highland Park.

2: It's all about the sauce

Creating California-Italian food "The way nonna made it". They are known for their red sauce which they've been making since their days in culinary school. The secret? According to an interview for Bon Appetit their sauce is "not cooked for a very long period of time." They make smaller batches to cut time.

3: Friends for life

Florida natives Jon and Vinny met in 1999 on their first day of culinary school in Fort Lauderdale, according to a Los Angeles Magazine article published in 2018. In 2002, the two moved to Los Angeles and Vinny applied for a line cook job at Govind Armstrong and Ben Ford's Beverly Hills restaurant. The interview apparently went well, because at the end of it, Vinny demanded Jon be brought on with him, and Ford hired both.

4: Pizza

Their pizza comes from their childhood cravings: "Thin, crispy, and crunchy pizza with a dark char to it," according to a May 2015 Bon Appetit article. Their dough is known for its sourness because it has a higher amount of yeast and they ferment the dough for at least 48 hours.

5: Meatballs

Their marinara-braised meatballs – served at Jon and Vinny's with ricotta and garlic bread – are regarded among the best in Los Angeles for those looking to get their meatball fix.

6: Love for the Locals

Last May, Amazon Studios gave Jon and Vinny $1 million for them to use their catering business to help local charities feed Angelenos in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

7: SoFi x Jon & Vinny

Photo- Jon and Vinny at SoFi Stadium_Credit_Jakob Layman and SoFi Stadium

8: Smashburgers

In late February, Jon and Vinny began a pop-up inside Son of a Gun called Larry’s Smashburgers and Ice Cream. Those items, among others, are available for pick up and delivery from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

9: Accolades

Jon and Vinny have won multiple awards, including Food & Wine Magazine's 2009 Best New Chef, StarChefs' 2008 Rising Star Chef, and the James Beard Award's 2016 Best Chef West.

Some of their James Beard nominations include: 2009's "Best New Restaurant" for animal, 2011's "Best Chef Pacific," "Outstanding Restaurant Design" for Jon & Vinny's in 2016 and "Best Chef West" in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

10: Celebrity Hangout

If you dine at one of the duo's restaurants, chances are you might run into a celebrity. In 2019, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend checked out Jon & Vinny's. Jay-Z and Beyonce have also been seen enjoying dinner at Jon & Vinny's.

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