Free Food Day – Grand opening of Italio’s Winter Park location on Wednesday March 6th –
Enjoy a free entree and sample one of Italio’s fast, fresh Italian piadinas, pasta bowls, or salads. Offer good on March 6, 2013. Only one entrée per person. Valid only at the following location: 276 South Orlando Ave., Winter Park, FL 32789. Must be present.
Beware of long lines…
I was recently invited to a special preview of Italio and had a chance to taste and experience some of the restaurant’s concepts. The concept, for those who are familiar with Chipotle, is fast-casual. Order up at the front counter where the staff prepare the dish items to your “customization”. It’s a great concept for those of us who are in a hurry but don’t want the typical “fast food” experience….and it’s executed fairly well here at Italio. I can foresee a great future for the chain, with already one opened in Boca and another scheduled to open in Ft. Lauderdale this summer. The Italio on US 17-92 just north of Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park is the first in Central Florida.
When first walking into Italio, I noticed how immaculately clean and sharp everything looked, from the exterior design to the interior’s marble-like tables and fanciful lighting. Definitely a well designed restaurant, with key red color accents known to psychologically trigger guests hungry.
At the counter, you can order a piadina (a type of Italian wrap) or bowl (in pasta or salad form). Then, you can add your traditional or whole wheat pasta, add your protein choice (steak, chicken, fried chicken, shrimp, sausage, or veggie), sauce, and toppings. The sauces are basil pomodoro, alfredo, or spicy prima rosa (a mix of pomodoro and alfredo). Toppings range from black olives to arugula, pancetta and parmesan cheeses.
You can also order calamari misto ( a favorite), italio sticks ( made with piadina wraps) with your choice of cheese, pepperoni, or spinach & artichoke.. Desserts come as cannoli chips or tiramisu cake.
Overall, my impressions were positive. For a fast casual place, the food was rather fresh and surprisingly didn’t leave me feeling too heavy/guilty after wards. I particularly enjoyed the piadina wrap, a wrap that reminded me of the textures of roti or scallion pancakes, thin and chewy and buttery. A brief look at its history shows us that the piadina has been around for a while — since 1371 to be exact. It was typically prepared in the northern region of Italy called Romagn and was an “ancient” form of flatbread