The guys behind A Tavola want to make their customers happy. It’s immediately evident in their menu, drinks and wine selection, and in their welcoming Over-the-Rhine space. They even designed their open kitchen so that they could see their patrons react to the tasty food and drinks being served up starting soon (stay tuned on their Facebook page for more specifics).
A Tavola will be the third restaurant open for business on Vine Street between 12th and 13th in the Gateway Quarter district of Over-the-Rhine. Cincinnati natives Bill Draznik, Jared Wayne, and Sam Ginocchio will primarily be serving up Neapolitan style pizza cooked in an oven that was custom crafted in Naples, Italy, which happens to be the birthplace of this style of pizza. The brick oven weighs as much as an empty school bus and can cook a pizza in 90 seconds or less depending on the fresh ingredients you order. Only about a dozen of these Stefano Ferrara-crafted ovens can be found throughout the states, and you’ll be happy one of them is right here in Over-the-Rhine.
“A Tavola” (pronounced “Ah Tahv-ahla”) is an Italian phrase that literally means “to the table”, but is used by gracious Italian hosts everywhere as a “welcome, come eat.” The name is fitting; Bill, Jared, and Sam are seeking to create an inviting atmosphere as comfortable as going over to a friend or family member’s home for delicious food that is created with care.
Their 14” pizzas will be made with hand-mixed dough, San Marzano tomatoes, and several locally sourced ingredients. Prices will range between $10 for a classic margarita, $11 for veggie options, $12 for meat options, and $14 for a pizza that uses a fig reduction as sauce and prosciutto and balsamic arugula salad as toppings. While a hungry patron could probably take down one of these pizzas by himself, A Tavola recommends splitting several amongst a table of friends so that you can sample from their selection of pizzas ranging from traditional (margarita) to non-traditional (sweet pea and bacon), and maybe you’ll find a new favorite along the way.
As an example of the care being put into each of the ingredients, Bill, A Tavola’s charcuterie, will cure their slab bacon for a week and then smoke it using applewood. The advantage of slab bacon is the ability to cut thicker slices so that, when cooked, the bacon has crispness on the outside and tenderness on the inside. The pork for A Tavola’s homemade hot Italian fennel sausage, bacon, and pork shoulder will come from the Dean Family Farm in Georgetown, Ohio, which also supplies Boca in Cincinnati.
Every good pizza is made even better with drinks, and drinks are definitely not an afterthought at A Tavola. There will be eight beer-friendly drafts and 15 bottle beers available. Not to be outdone by the communal nature of the pizza, draft beer will also be available by the pitcher! A slew of craft cocktails will also be featured, including classics as well as modern interpretations creatively designed by Sam, the genius behind the bar.
What is a good Italian restaurant without a fantastic wine selection? There will be five red and five white wines available, each at $25/bottle or $7/glass. These 10 ‘table’ wines were carefully selected with the help of level-2 sommelier Eric Faber, and are all set at the same price to make them more accessible to someone who is not exactly a wine connoisseur.
It is this thoughtful combination of personal touches throughout the restaurant, born out of passion for serving great food, that are sure to make both you and your stomach happy, and will keep you coming back to A Tavola for more.