An intimate connection with Italian food and culture. According to owners Andrea Melani and Emilio Centro, this is the goal for every visit to their authentic Italian restaurant Convivio in Carmel, Indiana.
Nestled in a cozy corner of Carmel, Indiana, Convivio boasts more than just their outdoor bocce ball court, welcoming bar, and delicious food. Melani and Centro boast authenticity, each learning from their Italian roots. Melani was born and raised in Riomaggiore, Italy and grew up in a restaurant family. He learned all about traditional Italian food, but he eventually landed himself in central Indiana as he followed love. Centro is a second-generation American with family from Roccaforte, Italy, but he grew up helping his father and grandfather at their restaurant Napoli Villa in Beech Grove, Indiana. Each with a rich background of Italian culture and restaurant experience, the pair joined efforts in 2015 to begin the concept of Convivio Italian Artisan Cuisine.
Now, the pair is dedicated to creating all pasta and pizza dough from scratch daily. You can enjoy lunch or dinner with beet, spinach or red pepper pasta, then take some home by the pound to cook and enjoy at home!
“We want our guests to be happy, curious, surprised, and intrigued during their visits. Our artisan cuisine is deeply rooted in the Italian tradition but has an innovative taste for creativity. We are committed to selecting the finest ingredients from identified sources, preserve their natural qualities, and celebrate them with traditional Italian cooking styles.”
The restaurant’s kitchen was designed by Central’s own Scott Ebbert. The design allows for plenty of prep space as well as dedicated room for their Marsal Pizza oven to make their delicious pizzas! The kitchen also boasts Vulcan ovens and True prep tables to keep their operations running smoothly.
Convivio officially opened in November of 2016. Now, delicious foods, great memories, and warm hospitality continue to be the theme of the restaurant. Be sure to check out their menu and if you are in the area, stop in for a visit!
Have questions about designing your restaurant’s kitchen? Give one of helpful product consultants a call at 800-215-9293 or browse our website!
Dawson’s on Main opened its door on Main Street in Speedway, Indiana 10 years ago on June 16th 2006. Brothers Tony and Chris Hill have always been in restaurants, enjoying quality meals eating out and even considering themselves “foodies.” When Tony was given the opportunity from another friend in real estate to purchase the building on Main Street, he convinced his family to jump on the investment with him. Eventually, the name “Dawson’s on Main” was agreed upon (after one of Tony’s sons, Dawson) to give the restaurant a classic and unique feel. The family was among the first to make the jump on Main Street, and only great things have followed since their opening.
Dawson’s serves a wide variety of food from sandwiches, steaks, seafood, pasta, and everything in between. If you’re searching for a lunch time favorite, the hand breaded tenderloin is far and away a fan favorite. However, you certainly will also want to come back to try the in-house cut, freshly cooked steaks! Co-owner Chris Hill notes that as a proud Hoosier, the rib eye is his favorite dish from the restaurant. All dressings and sauces are also made in-house, making their dishes all the more unique and incredibly delicious!
Being located approximately half a mile from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May has always been a very busy month for Dawson’s. With the 100th running of the Indy 500 this year, this May is expected to be their largest month to date. Hill notes that at this point in May, “you start at 11am and you are on your feet moving until 11pm.” To help streamline the kitchen, Dawson’s has a limited menu around race time that features their top dishes (about 25 dishes). This allows customers to still order their favorites, but to also still have a great experience in a relaxing atmosphere.
With the increase in people, a new vibe has also entered Main Street. May it be the recent revitalization of Main Street with new shopping, breweries, and fun activities, or the high spirits of Hoosiers and visitors for the upcoming race, but Main Street is where you should be!
Are you a big race fan? Stop in for dinner and you will likely see a few familiar faces! Many drivers who have been around a while frequent Dawson’s on a regular basis, with appearances from younger drivers as well when the track is closed and they’re not busy with PR. Recognize the names AJ Foyt, Jonny Rutherford, and Parnelli Jones?
Dawson’s will also once again be participating in the 10th annual Rockin’ on Main as one of the main caterers. The event is a street festival held on Carb Day that shuts down Main Street and features live music, drinks, food, and kid activities.
Chris and Tony heard about Central when an employee who regularly visited handed them her card and told them to visit us. After one visit to our awesome showroom, they have been customers since!
As far as the most used equipment? Fryers for their high demand tenderloin sandwiches, charbroilers for steaks, and Robo Coupe food processors for their house made sauces and dressings are all essentials in their kitchen to bringing you your delicious food.
Are you in the Indianapolis area or coming to town for the race? Be sure to stop in and visit Dawson’s on Main! You won’t be disappointed.
Tis the season for sweets, and local bakeries are setting up for a busy Valentine’s Day weekend. Vanilla Bean Bakery of Indianapolis, Indiana is no different and offers custom creations that set them apart from the competition. Owners Jim and Kristin Klinger established Vanilla Bean Bakery five years ago and have developed four core products that consist of cake truffles, cupcakes, custom cookies and custom cakes. These sweets keep customers coming back for more and more!
The Beginning of Vanilla Bean Bakery
Kristin Klinger had always been a stay at home mother, and whenever she brought over desserts to family holidays everyone would rave about them. She had always been interested and played around in the kitchen, and was always a very creative person.
“It got to a point where it was more than the polite ‘Oh wow that really looks great’ to all of a sudden family and friends starting to offer to pay [Kristin] to do something for them,” explained Jim. Looking for a way to pay for her kids’ college tuition, Jim and Kristin put two ideas together and eventually established Vanilla Bean Bakery five years ago. Kristin has no culinary education and is self-taught, so every product you see she learned how to do on her own.
After finding their perfect location, located right by their house, and creating quality products everything started to fall into place for the business.
Truffles, Cookies and Cakes Oh My!
One of the most popular sweet treats are the cake truffles, which come in fun, unique flavors just like their cupcakes. Depending on the weekend, the bakery might be swamped with orders for all four product categories. For Valentine’s Day in particular, Vanilla Bean Bakery will serve up hundreds of truffles and cupcakes.
“Typically, it’s your husbands and boyfriends who have waited until the last minute. When they wake up that morning they’ll need to find a place to get some sweets,” laughs Jim. They know that Valentine’s Day weekend will equal a long week, so they’ll start prepping early and loading up on treats on Monday. Jim uses his notes from the prior year to estimate how much of their product they’ll need going into that day.
Coming up with new flavors is something that Kristin does quite well. She’ll go online and find new flavors and ideas through message boards and their competition. Based on what’s trending, some crazy flavors will pop up from time to time that are hit or miss. Flavors are customer-driven as well. Customers will call and ask “Do you do this…?” and if they don’t, they will! “Because we’re custom, people come to us and every single cake you see on our website is from a customer asking if we could do this from them,” Jim says.
Central Equipment to Whip Up Creations
Even though Vanilla Bean Bakery only whips up cakes and cookies, they still rely on commercial restaurant equipment to get them through each batch of their creations on the daily. Jim says that they rely very heavily on their KitchenAid mixers and wear them down until they start sounding funny and won’t turn anymore. Other than those, they have a double stack oven and a refrigerator and that’s all they need to operate efficiently every day.
We have enjoyed talking, visiting and eating Vanilla Bean Bakery’s delicious treats and encourage you to do the same thing! Visit their Facebook page to keep up with daily flavors for cupcakes and truffles. If you find yourself in the Indianapolis, Indiana area we highly recommend that you stop in to see Jim and Kristin and taste their sweet treats!
Each month we will feature Central customers to showcase their business and provide tips and ideas for any of you in the restaurant industry! This month’s article features Chive Kitchen.
A brand new restaurant located in Farmington Hills, Michigan, the Chive Kitchen is owned by self-proclaimed “foodie” Suzy Silvestre. Developed from a love of good food, Chive Kitchen is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant that focuses on quality, composed dishes, where it is a priority to source all products as local and as fresh as possible. Silvestre has held soft openings of the restaurant over the past month to test dishes with the public and adjust to the learning curve that accompanies opening a new restaurant. Once fully opened, the restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. It will also have a bar area.
Silvestre expresses the difficulties of being a vegan/ vegetarian and wanting to dine out in Farmington, noting that “options in the area were limited.” Her solution was to open a restaurant of her own, boasting non-traditional vegan and vegetarian dishes. Silvestre has experience cooking creative vegan dishes and decided it was time to branch out from her corporate job in marketing and leverage her experience and love of the industry. Now specializing in high quality, comfort food, Chive Kitchen wants to appeal to the general population of “foodies” – not just the vegan / vegetarian market. Silvestre says “we want meat lovers, vegans and everyone in between to walk away loving our dishes.”
Delicious Vegan/ Vegetarian Dishes
Vegan House Italian Sausage Sandwich with Pepperoni Essence Aioli Grilled Peppers and Onions with a Basil Pesto
The focus of Chive Kitchen is to create dishes that have a unique appeal – dishes that break the stereotype of “boring vegan or vegetarian food” and offer a melting pot of flavors to the menu. Silvestre notes that many recipes on the menu are creations from her home kitchen, but she also “relishes in the fun of creating new and innovative dishes with [their] trained kitchen manager to bring a fresh take on vegan fare.” Flavor profiles for the restaurant range from Portuguese and Western European influences to California Mexican and local Michigan favorites, such as the Coney dog. Among several spins on traditional foods, one of the most unique dishes that has been crafted is tofu chicharrón soft tacos with house made mole sauce. Silvestre taste tested the dish with her staff who are not vegans and noted that the reviews were amazing!
Experience with Central
Silvestre utilized Central’s friendly and knowledgeable product consultants to order tables and chairs for Chive Kitchen. Silvestre tells us, “I was extremely satisfied with the process of ordering, the delivery time and the quality of our tables and chairs. Once the tables and chairs were set up in our space, it felt like everything had finally come together.”
If you also are looking for tables and chairs, see our selection here!
Love of the Industry
When asked what her favorite part is of owning Chive Kitchen, Silvestre states that she has enjoyed watching everything come together. After dreaming of opening her restaurant for years, it is finally coming to fruition. She explains, “Now, I have a staff that feels like family, a space that feels like home and I cannot express how much I enjoy watching customers coming in and sharing my love for good food.”
We have enjoyed following their story and encourage you to do the same on their Facebook page! And if you find yourself anywhere near Farmington Hills, Michigan, we highly recommend that you stop in to see Suzy and taste her delicious creations!
Each month we will feature Central customers to showcase their business and provide tips and ideas for any of you in the restaurant industry! This month’s article features David’s Pizza.
Family owned pizzeria, David’s Pizza, has been in business in Lebanon, Tennessee for over 50 years. Originally founded by the late David Foster, today the restaurant is owned by David’s nephew Brandon Chastain and his wife Teri. Brandon’s younger brother, Jared, and Teri’s younger brother, Ryan, also work at the restaurant.
Teri started working for David in 1999, where he taught her how to be a chef and the importance of the fine details. David’s Pizza was also where Teri and Brandon met!
Being Family Owned
Mixing family and work can get hectic for some, but this family makes it work. They don’t play favorites, and Brandon said he actually expects more from family that works there because they know what is on the line. It’s become a tight knit group.
“We have several non-family employees that we basically adopt,” Brandon said. “I like my team to be a one for all and all for one team.”
And while he may own the restaurant, he considers himself to be more of a team leader instead of a “boss.”
“My team understands if you take care of me by offering their best efforts, I’ll take care of them with mine.”
Dedicated Customer Base
One of the great things about being in business for over five decades are the dedicated customers.
“My customers are multi-generational,” said Brandon. “They are loyal the David’s brand and will stand up for what they believe in.”
In fact, David’s Pizza sells t-shirts that say “best pizza in town” which their customers love!
On a typical day, Brandon said they see quite a few of the same people.
“It’s to the point if Mr. or Mrs. doesn’t come in, you kinda worry about them,” he said.
Customers of David’s Pizza know they can get the freshest products around. This pizzeria uses garden-fresh vegetables, 100% real whole milk mozzarella cheese and sausage that is never frozen.
They also have original crusts locally made with hand-tossed dough that is made from scratch.
“No one produces an 18″ XL hand tossed like David’s!” they said. “We’ve been using the same original thin and crispy crust since David’s first opened. It’s a local favorite for sure!”
David’s Pizza’s most popular pizza is the “House Special,” which is loaded with pepperoni, sausage, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, green and black olives and topped with banana peppers.
Brandon admits it’s a bold combination but once you try it, you’re hooked!
“Customers say more will fall off a slice than what another shop would put on,” said Brandon. “Then they spoon up the extra almost like a side dish.”
The Equipment to Get the Job Done
When it comes to getting the job done, a restaurant really needs the right equipment.
“Equipment in the kitchen from Central has a special spot with us,” Brandon explained. “No joke, items like work tables, fryers, slice/dice slammers all make the job easier, faster and more consistent. You save on time and money with the effective efficiency so it all becomes an increase in profits.”
Brandon’s personal favorite item in his kitchen is his uncle David’s old bread knife that he had when he started the business.
“It’s old and kinda beat up,” he said. “Started as a serrated blade but has been sharpened till it’s a razor sharp edge. Cuts bread like butter with a hot knife.”
Next, their kitchen frequently use slice/dice slammers which makes it easy to prepare the two bushels of green peppers and 100 pounds of onions each week. It drastically speeds up prep time and is also safer as well.
Since their early days 50 years ago, David’s Pizza has been able to support many non-profit organizations, such as schools, sporting events and other causes. It’s very important to them and they are able to provide special pricing for those that serve both their community or the country, as well as surrounding schools and those who have fallen on hard times.
“Sometimes we are just a blessing in silence,” explained Brandon. “We don’t feel we need a pat on the back for everything we do. It just feels good being blessed enough to help. That’s rewarding enough.”
Brandon has found being an asset to a community also becomes an asset for your business.
“You become a part of the community, not just another restaurant on the strip,” he said. “It helps in brand building cheaper than any other form of advertising out there.”
For Those in the Restaurant Industry…
When asked about the restaurant business in general, Brandon acknowledged it’s a tough business to be in.
“There are always different things you can do to improve on,”he said, whether it be a customer service or kitchen technique. “Restaurant life will take every second of your life if you let it.”
Brandon advises those in the industry to give themselves time to grow and time to rest. Don’t get burned out and let it be a fun adventure and not something you do just because!