CINCINNATI -- A new eatery is trying to attract new customers by giving out free food. Every day. For a year.
Piada Italian Street Food , the creation of restaurateur Chris Doody, is opening a new dining spot in Hyde Park Plaza on Friday. In order to celebrate the opening, the owners of the restaurant are promising free food for a year to the first 100 customers at the 3780 Paxton Avenue location.
Italian food fans and frugal gourmets began camping outside the restaurant at 6 p.m. Thursday. The staff provided wristbands to the future customers who will finally get their hands on some of the eatery's "fresh, healthy, high-quality Italian" offerings when the restaurant opens at 10:45 a.m. Friday.
Questo è Delizioso (This Is Delicious)
While giving out free food to entice new business is gimmicky (and risky), the action wasn't undertaken by people who don't know what they're doing in the boardroom (and the kitchen, for that matter).
Piada is the brainchild of Doody, co-founder of the high-end Bravo and Brio restaurant chains. He said his newest project was designed to cater to a broader cross section of diners, which includes "time-challenged, budget-weary, and health-conscious consumers."
“We feel that despite their hectic lifestyles, our guests shouldn’t have to sacrifice freshness, quality and ambiance for speed or value,” said Doody, who has opened seven Piada locations in the Columbus, Ohio area.
In order to accomplish that goal, Doody created an Italian version of the customizable, Chipotle-style restaurant experience many young professionals and budding families have grown accustomed in recent years.
Guests get to choose from three entrées -- the Piada, a stone-grilled, thin-crusted dough made from organic flour and extra virgin olive oil; a chopped salad; or a pasta bowl.
Once they've selected an entrée, diners get to customize their dish with a variety of grilled items ranging from steak and Italian sausage to salmon; sauces such as Pomodoro, Alfredo and pesto; and a selection of sautéed and fresh vegetables. They can also pick from salad toppings such as cheese and pancetta.
In addition to the main course, side items include Parmigiano Reggiano, pepperoni and artichoke Piada sticks with dipping sauce; Italian chips served with warm artichoke and spinach dip; calamari; and lobster bisque, tomato basil and wedding soup.
Beverages include standard Italian soda, teas, bottled water and soft drink options. But what sets Piada apart from most "fast-food" locations is the option to pair an adult beverage with your dinner. You can choose from one of several types of beer or enjoy a glass of red or white wine.
While the options seem bountiful, Doody said the entire ordering process takes just 60 seconds and the average customer check is less than $9.
About The Hyde Park Location
The Hyde Park Plaza location is approximately 3,000-square-foot and will accommodate 56 customers inside and 62 on the patio. Approximately 40 people are on staff at the chain's first southwest Ohio location. A second location, which is a similar size, is scheduled to open in Mason later this fall.
In an effort to continue the restaurants’ departure from traditional Italian dining, designers came up with a progressive interior design that Doody describes as a "sophisticated, contemporary European" look. The design is a blend of white subway tiles, Carrara marble, brushed aluminum and painted brick. It features warm, custom hewn-wood furniture and stained concrete floors.
As a mirror to its mission to attract a broad group of customers, the restaurant will be open from 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Doody thinks the extended hours allow Piada to function as both a popular gourmet-to-go lunch spot and a sit-down dinner destination.
You can find out more information about the restaurant at visitMypiada.com .