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Olive oil on everything

Dan Gagliardo credits his grandmother Erma “Mama” D’Avolio for his vibrant lifestyle. She was at the helm of several Niagara Falls restaurants before she died at age 96. “She used olive oil in all her recipes,” said Gagliardo, who four years ago launched D’Avolio, which specializes in infused olive oils and vinegars.

Today, his chain includes five locations, and will soon add a sixth at 535 Main St., near the downtown Hyatt, which will boast a sit-down restaurant, as does his busiest location at 5409 Main St., Williamsville. He’s also working on liquor licenses for both those shops.

What is your philosophy of eating?

Small portions. I can pick healthy with my antipasto and I can have a salad. And my breads have no preservatives in them, so you don’t have to worry about that because I make them every day; even my pizzas, my basil pesto, my black olive tapenade. If I want to make a pizza, I can make one that has less cheese, more vegetables.

What are the staples of your diet?

Salads, lean meat – chickens of the world, turkey. I’m not a real big bread eater anymore. I use olive oil on just about everything I cook with now, and grape seed oil. I no longer use high heat.

The food you can’t resist most, though you know it’s not good for you?

Prosciutto on my ciabatta roll, with fresh mozzarella. I’ll have little sandwiches that I think are OK, and all of a sudden, I’ll have seven of them!

– Scott Scanlon

On the Web: Read more about Grandma D’Avolio’s longevity and Dan Gagliardo’s favorite flavor combos at blogs.buffalonews.com/refresh

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