Biz Buzz Monday: New owners reopen SW Wisconsin pizza restaurant

Business tips sought

Do you have an interesting story or news tip to share about a local business? Ideas can be shared with business reporter Kayli Reese at or 563-588-5673. 

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-state area. In addition to this update from Darlington, Wis., we will share other developments in Tuesday’s edition.

A Darlington pizza restaurant is now under new ownership.

Steve and Val Smith are now the owners of Vinger’s Pizza, 223 Main St., next to Main Furniture and Home. The Smiths reopened the restaurant at the end of October. The eatery had been closed since June after the previous owners, Ronnie and Michelle Hicks, decided to sell the business.

“We actually had no intention of buying a pizza business, but Vinger’s has always been there,” Val Smith said. “We’re from Darlington and always lived in Darlington. Vinger’s has always been the pizza place, and we could not let that not be open. We decided, ‘Hey, why not? Life’s crazy anyway. Let’s do it.’”

Vinger’s Pizza originally opened in the early 1960s along Wisconsin 81 before later moving to its Main Street location.

Val Smith said the Hickses helped her and her husband learn the ropes before reopening the restaurant. Val Smith also spoke with Rhonda Kitelinger — former restaurant owner and daughter of Helen and James Vinger, who opened Vinger’s Pizza — to get the pizza recipe as close to the original Vinger’s recipe as possible.

The eatery’s menu has reverted back to the original Vinger’s toppings, such as sausage and pepperoni, as well as a deluxe pizza. Val Smith said they also make a garlic cheese stick pizza.

Since reopening, she said the restaurant has been selling 500 to 600 pizzas in the four days it is open each week.

“We’re just really enjoying it,” Val Smith said. “Our whole family is involved. We’ve got four kids, and all the kids have been helping. It’s been a big family experience, and it’s just kind of nice that the whole family came together to help on it.”

Vinger’s Pizza is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, as well as 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The restaurant can be reached at 608-776-3760 and found on Facebook.