Vanelli's Restaurant in Tupelo, MS

By Tim Ghianni on March 15, 2012 at 7:47 pm EST


Vaz Vanelli unveiled what he pro­claims “the eighth wonder of Tupelo” just outside his Vanelli’s Greek & Italian Restaurant in north Tupelo.

“It’s actually ‘Papa’s Pavilion,’ ” he says of the cedar-roofed dining and party area that was added to the res­taurant’s patio in 2008. “It comes to a point, so when you go underneath and look up, it’s like a Swiss chalet,” Vanelli says of the new structure.

The restaurant was founded in 1975 by Demetrios Kapenekas, aka “Papa,” a native of Athens, Greece. The late Kapenekas grew up around food. His father owned a restaurant and hotel in Athens during the 1920s and ’30s.

Now son Vaz Vanelli is in charge of the restaurant and entertainment venue located at 1302 N. Gloster St. In addition to the patio and pavilion, the restaurant has 10,000 square feet under roof, made up of three dining rooms and Papa’s Place lounge.

Offerings such as toasted ravioli, fried calamari, pizzas and Athenian lasagna are just a few examples from “a menu that is an Americanized blend of Greek and Italian cuisine,” Vanelli says.

In addition, there are appetizers, sand­wiches, salads, chicken wings and a large selection of classic Italian favorites. Vanelli’s also offers live enter­tain­ment, from concerts to comedy, and the eatery showcases all of the big sports games on direct television. The new pavilion allows Vanelli to expand his varied entertainment offerings. What are Tupelo’s wonders one through seven?

“Well, start at Elvis’ birthplace and work your way down,” Vanelli says with a laugh. Vanelli’s is open daily for lunch and dinner.

Read about more great places to eat in Tupelo, MS.

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