Berkleygary and I headed out there early this evening to check out the new spot. Verdict = keeper.
This long vacant Denny's has been totally transformed into an airy, modern open space, lots of open glass, high-tops, communal tables, four-tops all in rustic wood. It's an order-and-take- to your table but is hardly a cafeteria -- reminds me of a very mini-Eataly. There's pizza station where large and small pizzas are made in a wood oven in 10 or 3 minutes, a hot entree area, soup/salad, antipasto area, bakery and a sandwich/panini area. A little confusing when you first get in, but the service is full of good-will and lots of help in negotiating the new space.
We ordered the small white pizza - mozz, extra virgin olive oil, roasted garlic, parmesano reggiano, romano, minced garlic, artichoke hearts -- at $8.50 it was enough for the two of us for dinner. Thin crust, in some places could have been crisper, but the crisp parts had nicely blackened areas and the toppings were great... I added a little extra cheese on top because I thought it needed salt, but a good value and well-made, esp. on night three they were open. I think the pizza will be their strong suit.
Also ordered the Italian panini - salmi, ham sopressta, tomato, mozz, basil...actually I thought the bread was the best part -- nicely grilled and seemed like there was a good toss of asiago or parm on the bread before the pressing. Came with pickle and chips -- a little chewy and also crispy and nicely salty (the chewy and crispy is intentional according to one of the owners.)
You can walk in this place and get a whole meal...get an antipasto w/ a glass of wine, walk out with a great loaf of bread or pastries or sit and bring in a whole meal and eat for an hour. Early evening are lots of families with younger kids, perfect for parents- they can get decent food fast, the kids can eat pizza and they can get a glass of wine and get in and out w/o a lot of hassle.
Service is very earnest. There are some bumps but for being open less than a week, we think they are rocking it.
Great concept and I'm happy this is in our neighborhood. Come nicer weather there are a couple of outside patios which should be way nice for a glass of wine and an antipasto plate. Doing a good job of being almost an all-things-to-all with great design and interior and good to very good food.
VTB, interested in your take!