We’d like to call ourselves “ladies who lunch,” but the reality is that we are worker bees always on the lookout for a great, quick midday meal to break up our humdrum office lunch routine.
We found it at the new Main Street location of D’Avolio, across from the Hyatt. The quirky olive oil and vinegar store/restaurant opened in August. Conveniently located between the Lafayette and Fountain Plaza stops on the NFTA Metro, D’Avolio filled up fast on our Tuesday visit.
The process is streamlined and fun. Once seated, the waiter plopped down laminated menus with dry-erase pens and fetched our drinks.
Giggling like schoolgirls taking a test, we quickly got down to business circling selections. All items – sandwich, pizza, salad, antipasto – are $11.95 at the build-your-own base price, with specific quantities listed for groups.
If you want a sandwich, for example, circle one bread, one protein, one spread, one cheese and one item from a long list of everything from artichokes to walnuts. The beauty of the system is you get exactly what you want. Additional items are $1 more.
We’d love to ask the kitchen about crazy combos they’ve seen. Dried cranberries on pizza? Why not?
The $11.95 price tag is worth it. Our selections were ultra fresh. The salad was humongous, the sandwich and pizzas could be shared. We left with boxes.
Coworker No. 1’s sandwich came on a large and fresh homemade focaccia roll with a beautiful side salad (a cup of soup also is an option). Her Buffalo chicken, asparagus, provolone and garlic aioli combo was proclaimed “delicious” and the salad’s fig garlic dressing “fantastic.”
Coworker No. 2’s salad of greens, chicken, smoked gouda, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and asparagus with aged balsamic and Tuscan herb olive oil dressing was equally good.
Obviously, D’Avolio excels at dressings. We recommend the “Popular Pairings” suggestions like Sicilian Lemon Balsamic with Melanese Gremolata Olive Oil or Honey Ginger Balsamic with Lemon Olive Oil. If you love a combination, buy the bottles to take home.
Coworker No. 3 and I feasted on thin brick-oven pizzas. Gluten-free shells are $1 more. Served on a mesh wire rack to preserve a crisp crust, the square pizzas are cut into squares.
CW3’s simple red sauce, meatball and mozzarella pizza was outstanding. The red sauce had just the right amount of sweet, plenty of cheese, huge slices of meatballs, and “Square pieces make it easy to eat.”
My pizza, topped with a sweet red pepper sauce was loaded with chicken, artichokes, escarole and mushrooms on a crust one could eat for days on end. Ingredients went right to the edges. It was delicious.
Soups ($2.95/$3.95) include Beans & Greens or soup of the day – a chicken rice on our visit. Seasonal fruit cups and bowls are $3.95/$5.95. Considering the high quality of our food, we suspect both are good.
Service was efficient and cognizant of the speed necessary at lunch. Paired with its outstanding food, the newest D’Avolio location is a winner.
Where: 535 Main St. (648-5017, davolios.com)
Hours: Kitchen is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Retail sales are until 6 p.m.
Extra: Gourmet olive oils, vinegars, spices and more for sale. Takeout is available. Hot and cold drinks are $1.75. Wine by the glass or bottle ($7/$17) and beers ($3.50-$4.50) are available, too.
Accessible: Entrance is accessible, however tables are very tight. Waiting area is teeny.
Note: Arrive early if possible. No reservations, but call ahead about 10 minutes before arrival to get a name on the wait list.