The VIG is an upscale neighborhood restaurant that appeals to all with happy hour, lawn games, large patios, brunch and an eclectic menu. The historic feel and architectural elements, housed in an all-encompassing atmosphere, is as intentional as it comes. Founders Tucker Woodbury and Jim Riley have built this dream with purpose and were inspired by its neighborhood at 40th Street and Indian School.
"Fourteen years ago, I was driving home from work and passed by a sad building with a for lease sign in front of it. It was the old Wrong Number Lounge, a quintessential dive that had been there for years but had shut down. I had dreamed of opening a spot that felt comfortable and welcoming ... something unpretentious but still upscale enough that my Arcadia friends and neighbors would feel at home in," Tucker says.
So the VIG was born from a vision of opening such a space, with a tavern feel and an elevated importance placed on dining, libations and enough interactive entertainment to last throughout a meal, happy hour and far into the evening.
Tucker designed the space to pay homage to its historic architecture, adaptably using the building as it was and repurposing instead of tearing it down.
"Our restaurants have a soul. It might have been a bar or a bank, but it has history."
Yearning for a partner in this investment, Tucker was introduced to Jim Riley at a country club swim meet.
"He was a neighborhood guy like myself and experienced in the business ... having operated the Blue Moose at the same time I was running the Rockin’ Horse. So, two guys who were once competitors but didn't really know each other became business partners a couple of days later."
This venture has been so rewarding because I love seeing things click. We feel what makes people repeat customers to the VIG is in the details—from the music and lighting to the quality of the food, it's a complete vibe that resonates with people. They enjoy themselves without trying too hard."
Bennett & Bubbles and the VIG Pad Thai – The Bennet & Bubbles counters the spicy with a little sweet and is made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, hibiscus syrup, rhubarb bitters, lemon and sparkling wine. The pad thai is a mix of spicy tamarind sauce, rice noodles, egg, tofu, bean sprouts, green onion, peanuts and lime.
"I had been in the restaurant business for 20 years and wanted a different opportunity. This ended up being it. You can have a great business, but you have to make a restaurant feel homey with an effortless comfort level so customers come back time and time again," says Jim.
The Takes Two to Mango and VIG Burger – This colorful drink combines Herradura Blanco Tequila, Ancho Reyes, mango, lime and a salt rim and goes well on a Guys' Night Out with a juicy VIG Burger complete with cheddar cheese, fried egg, smashed avocado, tomato, jalapeños and sweet pickle on an aioli brioche bun
"When we opened 15 years ago, we’d see on neighborhood flyers, 'This area is walkable to the VIG,' and I knew we’d arrived. People want to stay nearby when they dine out, and when you have great dining choices, it helps the neighborhood's ambiance and feel," says Tucker.