As a Columbus-based chain, Piada Italian Street Food appears to have attracted a cult following in that area as a fresh and different alternative to bigger and more boring lunch chains. The fast casual concept works sort of an assembly line style restaurant where you come in and build a quick and convenient meal to-go, and with an Italian twist. Though the concept is very familiar ground, I would say the place has earned at least one try; you may or may not like what you eat, but one way or another I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of this place. And to me, that’s a good thing.
The namesake dish, the Piada, resembles an Italian food called the Piadina, an Italian flatbread made with flour and olive oil and filled with cheeses and vegetables. Piada’s burritos are similarly filled with meats, vegetables, cheeses, sauces, and most importantly some pasta for an extra base. You go along the assembly line and select which things to stuff your dish, a very popular organization, which maximizes the speed that you get your food.
The Piadas are good; they’re a lot like “Italian burritos” in many regards, but the ingredients here complement one another well; fresh mozzarella balls and a variety of meats make things interesting. Everyone already seems to have their favorite combination of ingredients. The average Piada is between $6.50 and $7.00 depending on ingredients. Moreover, there are Piada bowls and chopped salad options if you’re looking for something a little lighter or healthier. They make for plenty of opportunities for vegetarian fare.
The other items on the menu are good; there’s a “Piada stick,” which is a flatbread stuffed with pepperoni or artichokes or Parmesan and served with a tasty heavy ranch sauce. There are Italian sodas with a few flavors, from citrus to berry and beyond.
The atmosphere is great. As it’s an assembly line walk-up counter concept, you’ll be shepherded from station to station to pick your toppings. The first day here brought a few small hiccups, but overall the people are very efficient even with crowds. Convenience will be a huge draw, so I would say go for it, particularly if you’re on the go or part of a larger group.
So, I see online that a lot of places consider Piada a copycat business. I’m inclined to disagree. It’s got a different menu and different selection of dishes, but they’re interesting and creative enough to warrant a try. You might consider this an “Italian burrito” or you might find it to be your new favorite thing; one way or another I suspect Piada will be a new Ohio star.
- The Piada is entirely customizable, so really your only limit here is your imagination. There are dozens of ingredients to choose from, so you’re bound to find something you like.
- The Piada sticks make a good snack or appetizer, don’t count them out.
- Also, you’ll want to try the Italian soda.