Go into an old section of any big city, and chances are you'll find an Italian restaurant like Vince's, tucked away in a neighborhood that has seen better days.
And these deeply rooted establishments retain a character that can't be replicated.
The Perfili and Improta families of Vince's have never really considered moving out of the southwest Detroit neighborhood where the restaurant began as a four-table pizza parlor in 1960.
If the thought ever crossed the minds of founder Maria Perfili, her daughter, Lidia Improta, and son-in-law, Frank, it was quickly squelched. There would be no relocation to a suburban strip mall for the restaurant named for Maria's husband, the late Vincenzo.
Last month, Vince's marked its 49th anniversary, and it is reassuringly unchanged. The series of interconnecting dining rooms glow with antique-yellow walls on which the paintings of Rome and Venice are large enough to be mistaken for murals.
The dishes are familiar ones. Veal, from cacciatore to Tosca. Homemade noodles tossed with, but never drowned in, one of the house sauces -- meat, cream or tomato and basil sauce.