I have a backlog of restaurant posts, but I’m actually going to start with the most recent one I have as I was there last night and again today for lunch.
Venice on Vine is a pizza shop that is a part of Power Inspires Progress, or PIP. PIP operates small businesses in inner city Cincinnati to provide positive, meaningful work opportunities for adults with employment barriers. They stress academic learning, life skills and responsibility so that trainees gain the skills, attitudes, education and experience to be successful in the workforce. Yes, that is straight from their mission statement.
Good food for a good cause. As advertised. Venice on Vine is a regular pizza shop, selling whole pies, slices, and hoagies, but the good news is they sell vegan pizza! However, like many downtown Cincinnati businesses they focus on the lunch crowd, so they’re closed early in the evening and on weekends. I’d been meaning to get there, but the hours were never convenient. Excuses, excuses.
I heard they were having a fundraiser pizza party last night and would be open until 9:00 p.m., so I asked Alex if he wanted to go to the $15 pizza buffet. Initially, he scoffed at the price but was easily persuaded that his money was going to a good cause. I had also heard that their vegan pizza would be on the buffet; only a few places in town currently offer a vegan pizza. They had the vegan pizza on the buffet, as well as a really good tossed salad, and Alex (my vegetarian partner) enjoyed several varieties of gourmet pizza including Greek, three cheese, and caramelized onions that were sweet enough to be a dessert.
Music for the night was provided by The Dialtones, a Motown band that had everyone’s foot tapping.
I ended up back there for lunch today, during a Give Back Cincinnati Event where we learned about poverty and homelessness in the city and spent time talking to residents and learning about the organizations that are trying to help. I was really impressed with some idealistic high school boys who are working to change legislation about discrimination in hiring ex-cons who have served their time. I could tell a personal story here: one of the few times I interviewed potential employees, I explained to my then-boss that this interviewee was misunderstood in a gun fight and we should hire him. He served his time, his brother (an employee of the company) visited him every weekend, and we should hire him. Instead, he had the interviewee hired at Wendy's and we did not hire him. There goes my naievete.
I actually brought my own lunch, anticipating the vegetarian option being cheese pizza:
They didn’t have vegan pizza at the event; I brought a sandwich with maple-walnut pesto, lettuce, and tomato on Ezekiel bread. My teammates laughed at me for photographing my half-eaten sandwich, so I explained the blog.
Can you see that this mentions vegan pizza? Not only do they have a vegan hoagie, but they have vegan pizza on their menu now. Go get some, at a great location that is truly great pizza for a great cause.