HOMEGROWN: Vanelli’s Greek and Italian Restaurant

Vaz Vanelli owns Vanelli’s Greek and Italian Restaurant in Tupelo. His father, Demetrios “Papa Vanelli” Kapenekas, started the business in 1975.

Vanelli’s Greek and Italian Restaurant

Owner: Vaz Vanelli
Location: 1302 N. Gloster St., Tupelo
Hours: Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In business since: 1975
Primary business: Full-service restaurant and lounge
Employees: 52
Phone: (662) 844-4410
Website: Vanellis.com
Facebook: Vanelli’s Fans and Papa Vanelli
Twitter: @vanellispizza
Advice: “There are three things if you focus on, then everything else will follow: quality, service and value.”

Greece native Demetrios “Papa Vanelli” Kapenekas opened Vanelli’s Greek and Italian Restaurant in 1975.
The restaurant started on South Gloster Street. The original sign is on display in the restaurant’s current location on North Gloster Street.
The family business grew over the years and now is run by one of Kapenekas’s sons, Vaz Vanelli. The restaurant has indoor dining, a buffet, outdoor patio seating and a lounge with live entertainment.
The restaurant serves pizzas, salads, pastas and other Greek and Italian fare. The Greek salad is the most popular item on the menu, Vanelli said.
The restaurant also is known for the eclectic art that’s on display, including an original piece from John Lennon. Other areas showcase art by Paul Thorn or paintings of the Kapenekas/Vanelli family.
Vanelli’s has 52 employees, with many workers having tenure of more than 15 years.
“We’ve been able to last this long because of the committed staff and the committed clientele who have chosen to dine at Vanelli’s,” Vanelli said.
– Carlie Kollath

NEMS Daily Journal