By Danielle Haynes, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — WILLIAMSVILLE — Ordering lunch at the newly opened D’Avolio Kitchen in Williamsville is a little on the unique side.
Customers grab one of four carbon-copy forms — one each for salads, pizza, sandwiches and antipasto — mark what they want and give one copy to the cooks and take the other to the register for payment. Each form has gourmet options to select from, like smoked gouda, grilled asparagus, sopressatta, Tuscan herb aioli and marinated mushrooms.
For co-owner Dan Gagliardo, this is what the restaurant is all about ... options.
“People like to pick,” he said. “It’s a switch because most people are used to the Burger Kings of the world. We’re breaking free from that. We’re trying to tell you you can have a Subway mentality where you can order your sandwich but you can have a good sandwich ... and you’re not going to have 10 choices, you’ll have 60 choices.
We gave people choices “because people’s tastes are eclectic, they’re different. We just figured let’s just offer them some choices ... some of the combinations together are incredible.”
Gagliardo opened D’Avolio Kitchen in May with partner Dave Sutton as an expansion of his Town of Tonawanda-based chain of D’Avolio Olive Oil, Vinegars and More retail spaces. The new location in Williamsville includes all the retail products of the other four stores — 30 different olive oils, 30 varieties of vinegars, gourmet salts, snacks and herbs, and kitchen knick knacks — in addition to the prepared foods section.
“The retail products on the shelves play an integral part in the recipe preparations in the kitchen and the overall customer experience,” said Vince McConeghy, a foodservice consultant.
“We use our grapeseed oil as our base oil. We use our olive oil as toppings,” Gagliardo said of the ingredients used in the kitchen’s prepared foods. “These are the oils that are good for you and maintain their integrity. If you’re going to have oil, have this oil.”
The kitchen’s pizzas are what he calls Roman style in that they’re baked in a pizza oven to cook the dough all the way through, but finished in a high-efficiency oven to cook the toppings thoroughly.
Gagliardo said that while his Italian roots definitely have an influence on the food items he serves at the new kitchen, he’s not sticking to purely Italian ingredients.
“I think that’s what makes it really unique,” he said.
“One of the reasons I got into the business was that olive oil is good for you,” he added. “We’re in a world now where people want to eat better, but they’re expecting the places they get their food from to know more.”
Gagliardo said depending on the success of the Williamsville kitchen, he plans to add the prepared foods section to his other locations and ultimately would like to expand the business altogether.
“My intention is to open up a store in Tonawanda because our base is there ... it would be easy. We are excited about that,” he said.
The Williamsville kitchen provides pizzas, sandwiches, salad and antipasto, along with freshly made pints and quarts of greens and beans, spaghetti, marinara and roasted red pepper sauce to-go.
Outdoor seating of about half a dozen tables is available out front.
Contact features editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116.