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Culinary Discovery & Misadventures in the Ice Cream Capital of the World (Columbus)

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First Bite: Piada Italian Street Food

Posted by cmh gourmand on September 1, 2010

Piada Italian Street Food debuted to Columbus on September 1st. Owner Chris Doody has the street credibility to purvey street food after years of success at Lindey’s, Bravo, Brio and Bon Vie. The concept has been in the works for over a year and he could be seen on site opening day reviewing and fine tuning last minute details. Although the grand opening was low key, turn out on day one was high.

The restaurant is located in Upper Arlington, not too far from the OSU west campus. In holds a corner spot in a retail strip with a few other restaurants. The exterior is restrained but does have a pick up window (not a drive thru – the restaurant is very clear about that). The comparisons to Chipotle cannot be avoided, visitors and reviewers from now to whenever will most likely compare these two. The models are similar – fast, fresh food with high quality ingredients you can choose. Consider Piada an Italian Chipotle with a twist. A really good twist.

Pictured above is a piada and a (part of) a Piada Bread stick. Pictured below is an unfolded piada.

What is a piada? – It is a thin, Italian flatbread dough, made with organic flour. It is round and slightly larger that a large tortilla. The dough is cooked quickly on a hot grilling stone to crisp and bubble before your eyes. The piada is passed down an assembly line where you can add a variety of ingredients. And the end of the line it is folded over into a burrito style breaded package.

The ordering is broken down into a five step process with signage to guide your path. The first choice is to order a piada, pasta bowl or chopped salad bowl (um, the name of the place is Piada, how was I not going to get that). The next step is decide if you want strands of angel hair pasta added to your piada (sure why not). Then it is on to select a grilled items for the innards: chicken, steak, Italian Sausage, Salmon (yes, really), Italian Meats (Sopressata, mortadella and porchetta…oh yes) or seasonal fresh vegetables. The first two meats are cooked in a blend of rosemary, garlic and lemon. Step three – pick a sauce: Pomodoro, Diavolo, Red Pepper Pesto, Fresh Basil Pesto or Parmesan. This is followed by a choice of salad dressing, vegetables and cheeses. You can make a dagwood of a piada with little effort.

Side options include: a Piada stick – a long (about 1 foot), thin freshly baked bread stick with a variety of fillings served with dipping sauce, artichoke and spinach dip, Calamari, side salad or soup. The final choice is a beverage which include Italian sodas and Peroni beer.

The ordering process is straight forward and fast. The quality of the ingredients is impressive and everything was fresh. The interior is cool, blending the essence of Chiptole and Northstar with a European, IKEA meets rustic feel. The block wood tables in particular caught my eye and I think I may take one home as part of my next carry out order. The motor scooter logo should be fun for Piada play with over time although there are no plans for scooter piada delivery (bummer).

I think Doody and company have a winner here. I definitely enjoyed my first bite.

Piada Italian Street Food
1315 West Lane Ave
Upper Arlington/Columbus
614.754.1702
Piada website

Piada Italian Street Food on Urbanspoon

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8 Responses to “First Bite: Piada Italian Street Food”

  1. Bethany said

    That’s right down the road from me! I’ll have to give it a try.

  2. Marilyn said

    DANG! That sounds good!! I will definitely check it out. Do you think they’ll open one on the East Side if this one works out??? I hope so!

  3. Steven said

    Piada is delicious! Will def be back!

  4. Sonya said

    The food and service are fantastic. It’s a bonus that the restaurant looks great too. Understated, clean and elegant for a quick food place. A real winner!

  5. adam said

    Very cool looking forward to trying this place soon

  6. Robert said

    Visited over the weekend and loved the food, I loved the concept and I liked the look of the place. Plus, I always enjoy a nice clean new restaurant.

    I’m about to sound like an old man, though, because I couldn’t get over how LOUD it was inside. It’s a small space and wasn’t very crowded when we were there, but I felt we had to yell to hear each other. I wish there had been outside seating so I could have enjoyed the food without the noise.

    Am I the only one here or did I just become my grandfather?

    CMH G Answer:
    I get cranky about a lot of noise in restaurants too.

  7. KI said

    I am all about trying every new food site in CMH that I can. I live for such finds! I love all the Alt Eats I discover, as well as the very ordained ones.

    Well…I did like Piada. I had a Piada with angel hair pasta (only kind of pasta available, a little disappointing) and had a mixture of sausage and beef, topped with pesto sauce and veggies and parmesan cheese. It was good. Not great, nor amazing. It didn’t “sing” on my tongue the way some dishes do at restaurants I frequent. But,it was good. I also ordered a “bread” stick,which is piada rolled up and cooked until crispy-crunchy. I had it with the garlic-parmesan dipping sauce. The sauce was my favorite thing I had at Piada. (Bring some breath mints if you are continuing out-on-the-town after your meal!) I finished off my visit to Piada with their cannoli chips and cream. (A cannoli shell broken into pieces and served in a little paper sack with the traditional cream filling in a small container for dipping) Kind of a fun, casual way to serve a cannoli. It was a good, basic cannoli dessert that can easily be shared or taken to-go.

    When asked by a friend how I liked it, he asked it this way: “Would you drive across town just to eat there? Is it that good?” Sadly, my answer to that is, “No.” BUT: if you live nearby, it’s a great addition to our eat-scene in Upper Arlington/fringe campus area. (Not that.A. is very competitive that way!) Will I go there again? Sure. It’s good, just not as delizioso as I’d had hoped.

    Oh…about the restaurant design/atmosphere and logo/signage…I love it. Hip/modern/trendy new Italian. Understated, restrained,very today-Italian. Nice. Thank Heaven they didn’t go with the “Olde World” Mama Mia stuff! Ugh!

    Go try it out!

  8. Amy said

    Happy to say I was fortunate enough to partake in Piada in the development stages…so much that I did get recognized when I walked in for the first time to the restaurant. Try to stay within true Italian style and keep it simple when loading up ingredients into your piada. I know, it can be hard with all those fresh ingredients staring you in the face, but you will be able to appreciate those fewer, fresher ingredients a lot more that way.
    I love this place.

    ps-The calamari is heavenly.

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