Allie Martin

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Video: Vanelli’s Owner Speaks About Future Of Popular Restaurant

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TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – It has been a landmark in Tupelo for nearly 4 decades but was destroyed in a matter of seconds on April 28th when a tornado tore through the city.
Since that day, many have wondered if Vanelli’s Restaurant will re open and today, WCBI’s Allie Martin and Emily LeCoz, of “The Clarion Ledger” met with the restaurant’s owner who brings us up to date on what the future holds for the restaurant.

Voz Vanelli has been spending a lot of time in the kitchen of his north Lee County home lately,

On this afternoon he’s making Greek Salad and a few days ago, he made what could be the most popular item on Vanelli’s menu.

“I’ve been cooking pizzas at home and I’ve been taking things out of the garden, I’ve been putting squash on pizzas,” Vanelli said.

Voz has always liked to experiment in the kitchen, but there could be another reason he’s looking at different recipes.

“I have come to the decision that I definitely am going to rebuild, or reopen in some context,” he said.

That is welcome news to folks throughout the area, who have dined at Vanelli’s , since his Dad opened the restaurant in 1975 on South Gloster and relocated to the North Gloster Street location in 1991.

Of course, the restaurant was destroyed when the tornado tore through Tupelo

“I’ve been concerned about my staff, they have been the ones most affected, some have found employment, others are still looking,” Vanelli said.

Since that day, Voz Vanelli has also been dealing with what he describes as complex insurance matters.

“There are some issues that, it appears, could be handled more smoothly , if there was more clarity in how they were to pay and not trying to assess what needs to be paid,” he said.

He has been able to salvage a lot of the artwork from the restaurants walls, but water from the tornado and sprinkler system impacted all of it.

“The one I’m holding is a Joan Baez pencil drawing, this is a print done by Picasso, signed by Picasso,” Vanelli said as he looked over the extensive collection now stored at his house, he refers to as “Voz Vegas.”

Although he’s been busy , Voz Vanelli says there are two things he especially misses about the restaurant.

“I just miss walking around the restaurant and visiting with people, I find myself going to the grocery store, stopping and talking with just about anybody willing to look my way,” Vanelli said.

And he misses the food. But however the new Vanelli’s looks, or wherever it’s located, the food will still be the focal point.

“The story carries, on. Pop, we will build it back,” he said.

If he has to rebuild, Vanelli estimates it will be next spring before the restaurant is opened again. He is asking for public input into the new Vanelli’s . To take a survey asking for the public’s input, go to  www.vanellis.com.