Italio: Fast, fresh food — and lots of choices
BY JAIME ANGIO Correspondent January 29, 2014 5:00PM
Janet Sanders (from left), her daughters Kylie and Paige and son Scott enjoy a meal Tuesday at the opening of Italio in Orland Park. | Jaime Angio~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 3, 2014 4:07PM
A fresh approach to Italian fast food, allowing the diner to create a meal through a variety of options, is what’s featured at Italio, the newest restaurant in Orland Park.
Day 2 of the latest invasion of the polar vortex didn’t keep people from coming out Tuesday for the opening of the restaurant, 15139 LaGrange Road. The doors opened at 10:45 a.m., and a steady stream of diners was lured by the offer of a free entree to celebrate the Florida-based company’s first location in Illinois.
At Italio, the goal is providing a customized meal in less than three minutes. There are seven different entrees with more than 20 different toppings and sauces from which to choose.
Interested in a pasta or salad bowl? You can fill it, or any entree, with fresh vegetables such as banana peppers, basil chiffonade, arugula, sauteed peppers or onions. Italian favorites to top your bowl or include in a piadina wrap? The menu offers items such as chickpeas, eggplant caponata and roasted garlic and red peppers.
And the sauces — hot, cold, pesto, creamy, spicy, artisan, sun-dried, the list goes on. The combinations are endless and so are the flavors one can put together.
Laura Donatello, 22, of Orland Park, a student at the University of Iowa, was among those stopping by on the opening day. She said she was excited to try out Italio before she went back to school.
“Every time I come home to Orland Park, there is a new place to eat. I’m lucky I was able to experience this place while I’m home, I love it,” she said. “It’s like Chipotle. ... It’s easy and fast and really good. I had a pasta bowl with whole grain pasta with pesto sauce and sun-dried tomatoes. It’s so good. And I also got the basil pesto wrap and a breadstick. I’m definitely coming back.”
Carli Dunn, 22, of Orland Park, said it took only a few minutes to put together her meal.
“This is something new to try and it’s fast,” Dunn said. “I ordered a piadina wrap with chicken and basil sauce, and it’s really good. And the prices are reasonable.”
Larry Holmes, 37, of South Holland, brought his two children, Larry, 8, and Indio, 11, to Italio on Tuesday. He described his meal as “excellent” and said he would be sure to return.
“It’s different, I thought it was like a Chipotle,” Holmes said. “The fresh ingredients are real good. I had the whole-wheat fettuccine pasta with spinach, olives and feta cheese.”
With entrees starting at just under $7, Janet Sanders, 45, of Mokena, was impressed with the portions.
“For the amount of food you get, it’s incredible,” she said. “I heard about it at work, and the woman raved about the place and I thought we would try it. ... It’s nice to have versus fried stuff. It’s very fresh.”
Chris Russo, president of Italio Restaurants, said they’re excited to be in Orland Park.
“The village has been great to work with and building over a 1,000 miles away, not being on-site, the village really welcomed us with open arms,” he said. “... It seems like they (patrons) are very appreciative of a new concept coming here.”
Russo said Italio is looking to add two or three more restaurants in Illinois.
Italio is open daily from 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit www.italiokitchen.com.