Driving into downtown Pasco, across the iconic beams of the Cable Bridge and within the colorful and dynamic streets of a bustling community, a giant rose bursts from an exterior wall, vibrant and beautiful. Birds soar from the intense and luminous glow of the rose and lift themselves gracefully across a cloudless blue sky. The rays gleaming out of the flower reach out, as if inviting you into the warmth and safety of the velvety, soft folds of the scarlet scented petals. This is the location of Vinny’s Bakery, Cafe & Bistro in Pasco, as well as home to The Community Hope Wall.
The Community Hope Wall
The Community Hope Wall, an inspirational dream of local poet Jordan Chaney, was introduced to the area to bring local awareness to mental illness, homelessness, drug addiction, suicidal thoughts and depression. Chaney worked with youth in the Juvenile Justice Center to design the wall and it was a key element to a year-long project. Chaney describes the heart of his work as being “marginalized youth voices” and the wall would serve as a constant and unfaltering reminder to those who are struggling — that they are not alone.
The site of the wall is just steps away from where, in 2015, a local man named Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who was struggling with his own demons, was shot and killed by the local police. The incident was incredibly emotional, controversial and something the community reeled from for months afterward. In a local news interview, Chaney explained that “we are not going to bypass the truth of what happened, but we can respond in a new way and transform the space, and that is what healing is about.” Chaney partnered with artist Jose Israel to create the mural that has given the community the permission to remember, as well as to heal.
Vinny’s Bakery, Cafe & Bistro
On the other side of the mural is Vinny’s Bakery, owned and operated by Vinicio Marin (Vinny), a third-generation baker originally from Michoacán, Mexico. Vinny has only been in America for 11 years and lived in Chicago, Los Angeles and Colorado before deciding to call the Tri-Cities home. With dreams of opening a bakery of his own, Vinny was able to open his doors in 2014 and has been making quite a name for himself ever since.
Vinny’s Baked Goods
Waking every day at 3:00 a.m. and using only the highest quality ingredients, Vinny fills his bakery with the kinds of breads, cookies, pies and cakes that are all melt-in-your-mouth savory and delicious. The pecan pies are Vinny’s grandmother’s recipe and are purely exquisite, distinctly classic and the perfect size for an any-time-of-day treat…and would be the perfect coupling to a fresh-brewed cup of Vinny’s coffee.
Vinny’s Cafe and Bistro Offerings
If the desserts aren’t reason enough to make the trip to Vinny’s (they should be), the rest of the bistro menu can serve as the icing on the cake. One online review claims, “the best breakfast burrito in town” and another states, “really, the best sandwich I’ve had in Pasco.”
Vinny’s personal favorite, his namesake Vinny’s Chicken Sandwich, was even featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and boasts a superbly seasoned and seared chicken breast, grilled zucchini, fresh tomato, red onion and chipotle sauce. Also featured on the show was an incredibly popular Cuban Sandwich, with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard and mayonnaise. Another review states that the Cuban Sandwich is “comfort food at its best” and another simply states that the Cuban was “off the hook.”
Must-Try Food in Pasco
Vinny also offers a variety of French fries on his menu, including the must-try Mariachi Fries with pork, cheese, avocado, pico de gallo and sour cream atop a pile of perfectly wedged and crisp fries. Homemade chili is another enticing option…with fries or without!
The interior of Vinny’s is comfortable, warm and inviting. The walls are flanked with local artists’ paintings, including one of Vinny himself, as Vinny is a proud supporter of art and community. This is evidenced by the support Vinny has provided to the Community Hope Wall along with the quieter ways Vinny gives back, like providing meals to families in need during the holidays.
In many ways, Vinny’s story is reminiscent of the rose bursting from the wall of his business and a symbol of what it looks like to bloom and flourish after adversity. After the shooting in 2015, there were many dark days ahead for the community, which affected Vinny’s business, simply because of where it was located.
From the unwavering and steadfast support of local law enforcement stepping up and a resolute and strong-willed, close-knit community, Vinny’s recovered. It has blossomed into a valued community anchor and a stronghold in downtown Pasco that was able to break through the darkness and cast a bright and hopeful light from within.
Photos: Vinny’s Bakery, Café & Bistro, Summers Miya, Jordan Chaney