by Samuel Abels
For a region such as the Mid-Ohio Valley, you’d be hard-pressed to find a taste of something outside of the atmosphere of the typical burger joint. Sure, one has many an option when considering where they will fill their stomach, ranging from McDonald’s to KFC, to Popeyes or any number of popular pizza joints, but when you’re wanting to seek out something a bit more upscale, look no further than the building known as Da Vinci’s.
Located close to the railroaded border, between the Mayberry-like Williamstown, WV and the more urbanized city of Marietta, OH, the establishment that is Da Vinci’s boasts both exquisite tastes within its interior, as well as scenic marshland views on the exterior, accessible via a winding, dock-like boardwalk (and perfect for burning off that full feeling that may or may not be creeping up on you). But, the real meat, the beating heart of it all is, of course, found on the inside.
Pull into Da Vinci’s, and immediately, you will notice the craftsmanship. Compared to other eateries of the Mid-Ohio Valley, there is no competition in regards to how it is handled. The stone statues of graceful, ancient women of an equally ancient Italy stand erect, offering you a glimpse of the world which you are about to enter and by consequence, experience. After marvelling over that and finding a suitable spot to park your vehicle, you then begin a trek either through the main entrance in the front, or the door located at the back of the restaurant.
Upon entry, you, the customer, are greeted with what can only be described as the Grand Central Station of restauranteering. Without correlation to its actual size, each part of the establishment seemingly is like a well-oiled machine, operating at a constant, fast-paced rate, from the cooks, to the people taking reservations, to the very servers who accept orders and send them off to make that food-laden dream of yours an immaculate reality. Your choices consist of either tables at the ground-floor, or should they be available, seats in the upper portion of the restaurant, taking you up a carpeted staircase to an area that both looks and feels to be ripped straight out of the European-dining playbook, with its ambient lighting and friendly, yet individualistic air. Everyone’s experience counts.
Beforehand, you might wish to partake in the ordering of an appetizer, such as a salad, or, if a salad isn’t necessarily your thing, entertain yourself with the multitudes of packaged, basketed saltine crackers that temptingly find themselves placed on each table. Your menu, on the other hand, is like a jukebox of potential dining opportunities: multiple pizzas, soups, chowders, sandwiches, pastas, and, if you’re still feeling a taste for the outside world and its perhaps less-than-refined culinary delights, you can count on the accommodating hands at Da Vinci’s to deliver on this venture.
Having been a frequent consumer of Da Vinci’s, I’ve found that they also accommodate their customers even in terms of pizza toppings. If you wish to order your pizza minus a traditional topping or whatever else, they simply conduct cobbling together your order without the slightest hint of hassle, and as such, leave you with as much hype for your food as that upcoming movie you’ve been dying to see, or the new season of your favorite TV show you’ve been dying to catch. An ice-cold drink on hand, the music of Elton John playing overhead, the art on the wall, or even the company you might keep, the anticipation of receiving your order never detracts from the mere atmosphere offered by the establishment. Nor does it ever seem to wane and convert itself to pure impatience.
To draw from my own personal experience, one of the best meals I’ve had here does come from outside the world of Italian eating, and instead, offers a glimpse at how the business has inched its way into the modern westernized world and its selections of good eats. This being: a butter-slathered baked potato, coupled with a plate of hot spicy buffalo chicken and some sticks of celery for good measure (this was not available as a whole meal itself, but an incremental ordeal which culminated in an entire order). The potato was heated to perfection, the butter adding that extra flavor to its salty, chunky, dissected makeup, and to not savor every bite is an injustice in itself. The spicy chicken had about fifteen sticks, and the notion of them being spicy is by no means a dip of the toes into the pool of mere exaggeration. Do not fear however , unless you are practically joined at the hip with your drink of choice, in which case you might wish to ask for a refill. As for the celery sticks, it’s admirable that an eating establishment, even in the course of making strides into the perhaps less-than-health conscious modern grease industry, would provide its customers with a healthy, green balance of nutrition, thus still proving they can place themselves above the competition, so to speak.
Whether pizza, pasta, chicken, or whatever else suits your fancy this summer, Da Vinci’s is definitely a place worth seeing and experiencing. Whether water, wine, or soda, you will most likely find some attribute of the establishment you will walk away from satisfied with. From its ancient stonework on the outer portion of the building, to its innermost workings and settings, Da Vinci’s gives the customer a dosage of old and new they are bound to not forget anytime soon. So kick back, reserve some tables, and allow yourself some time to get acquainted with this unmatched dining experience!
5 out of 5 stars.