The story of vinny's kitchen

from milford to wickford

 
Shayna & Grandma Vinny

Shayna & Grandma Vinny

We are humbled and honored to announce that our Vinny's Kitchen sandwich has won 1st place in the USA Today Best Grinder in RI Contest! It is a beautiful tribute to our Grandma Vinny and her memory. This award is not only for Shayna's Place, but for our amazing town and community. Thank you so much for all your love and support.


The Vinny's Kitchen sandwich is named after our mother and grandmother, Vincenza Olerio, aka Vinny. This sandwich is our tribute to her. We have always been inspired by her love of cooking, hospitality and family. We wanted to share her story and why your vote means so much. 

Vinny grew up on a farm in Milford, MA, as one of six children to Italian immigrant parents. Her father, Matteo, a farmer and entrepreneur, passed away at the young age of 34 years old. Her mother, who spoke no English, was widowed at the age of 28. My mother spoke often of her father with deep fondness and love. After losing the farm in Milford, the family moved to Federal Hill in Providence. A short time later, Vinny lost her oldest brother in a drowning accident when he was only 15. In the midst of such struggle and financial hardship, the family pulled together. With the strong examples of her mother and grandmother, Vinny quickly learned the importance of hard work, faith and commitment to family. 

Papa Joe & Grandma Vinny in 1945

Papa Joe & Grandma Vinny in 1945

When my father, Joseph Olerio, returned from WWII in 1945, he and my mother were married. Over the course of their 59 year marriage, they raised seven children (six boys and one girl). My mother ran our large household; taking care of everything from the cooking, cleaning and laundry for her seven children. There were many nights that followed those long days where she would be up late at night making sandwiches for our school lunches. These weren’t simple bologna and cheese sandwiches, our mother was creating classic Italian grinders for our brown bag lunches. They were consistently the envy of all our friends. Her grandmother had passed on traditional recipes straight from Italy, recipes my mother developed into amazing family dinners that continue to delight and inspire us today.

This nomination isn't just about Vinny or a great tasting sandwich. This is about all of us who have amazing stories to share of perseverance, love and commitment to family. We are so thankful to be part of this community. Thank you for your love and support.