Hangout with Greg Lundgren at Vito’s


Photograph by Ryan Molenkamp.

On a June afternoon, in the former home of the legendary First Hill club Vito’s, Greg Lundgren demurs when asked to repeat some of the rumors he has heard about the space. Since he and Jeff Scott started making plans to reopen the club, he has heard it all: backroom card games, politicians hanging out with dubious businessmen and celebrities, and other things that, Lundgren says, might be too racy for print.

From 1953 to 1993 Vito Santoro ran the notorious lounge with class and guile, making it the closest thing Seattle ever had to a mafia hangout. Lundgren says he is striving to “understand what Vito’s was, and bring it back to what it wants to be.” He is aiming to update the lounge with a redesigned bar and kitchen that will serve East Coast family-style Italian fare and top-notch cocktails. The sensuous red leather booths are getting refurbished, and so is the card room in the back.

It’s clear that there’s tons of work still to be done and many more stories to collect, but soon Lundgren and Scott will have to stop looking at the past. In mid-August, they hope, Vito’s will reopen its doors. •