The rapidly growing fast-casual restaurant segment has a new player that offers diners a fresh take on Italian food. Make that 23 fresh takes. The nation’s first Venti Tre Modern Italian restaurant opened here this week. Venti Tre (23 in Italian) features an innovative, highly customizable menu with at least 23 fresh toppings every day.
Located at The Shops at Canton Crossing, a new lifestyle center, Venti Tre is being developed by Fazoli’s, the nation’s largest quick-service Italian restaurant chain. Two more locations are scheduled to open this year in the Baltimore area. National franchising also will begin later this year.
"Venti Tre was created for diners who appreciate contemporary, innovative Italian food, fresh ingredients and like to create their own meals,” said Carl Howard, Fazoli’s president and CEO.
The menu features “better-for-you” items that are quickly made to order as guests watch. They choose a piada, pasta or salad, then select from several toppings, including rosemary garlic steak, Tuscan lemon chicken and Italian meatballs. Piadas and pastas are sauced with such options as House-made Pomodoro, Parmigiano fonduta and Vino bianco, while salads will be dressed with white balsamic vinaigrette, lemon red wine herb vinaigrette, pomegranate vinaigrette or other choices. Toppings range from tomato Bruschetta salsa, fried capers, house-made focaccia croutons and sopressata, to rosemary potato hay and roasted mushrooms.
Cheeses include hand-grated grana padano, shredded mozzarella and provolone, hand-grated asiago, fresh mozzarella ciliegini or crumbled feta, while sides range from daily signature focaccias, polenta fries with dipping sauce, and tomato basil soup. For guests who want a suggestion on recommended pairings, a special selection of entrees called “Chef Selects” are available. Tiramisu and cinnamon sugar bomboloni add a final, sweet touch to the menu. An Italian soda bar provides a unique beverage choice in addition to beer, wine and soft drinks. Entrees start at $6.45; a kid’s meal is available for $3.50.
As with the food, the restaurant decor marries contemporary and classic elements. Tin ceilings, warm woods, chalkboard-style menu boards, and black and red accents create an eclectic, yet comfortable environment.
“Unlike other new fast-casual concepts, we already have the infrastructure and support systems in place that will enable Venti Tre to grow very quickly,” Howard said.
Based in Lexington, Ky., Fazoli’s is owned by Sun Capital Partners, Inc.
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