Predictably, Italio has closed. Think about how much money people could save if they just LISTENED TO ME.
I hadn't been the new Italio; I'd been to their first location in Boca and I didn't care for it. It was the first week of operation for a new franchise; I didn't see that it measured up. The concept is a cross between Salad Creations and Chipotle; I can't get excited about a big cardboard tub of pasta.
They call themselves a "Modern Italian Kitchen", which is the same tagline used by Mancini's, and the places couldn't be more different.
Price does matter, however; I got a coupon in the mail for a free entree with no strings attached and it was enough to get me into the restaurant.
Italio Free Entree Coupon
This is a perfect example of over-couponing; they could have gotten me in with a 1/2 price coupon at significantly lower cost to the restaurant. Someone who will only try it for free and not for half price isn't going to ever be a real customer.
There's plenty of parking in the back; you walk in and there's a well organized counter where you can clearly see all of the ingredient choices. Basically it's a tub loaded with either pasta or salad, and then you choose the stuff that goes on top of it. I don't want pasta or the weed salad (often called "mixed greens"), so my choice is limited to romaine. I decided to create a caesar chicken salad when I noticed that one of the salad dressings was caesar. So it was grilled chicken, romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, roasted red peppers and 3 cheese blend with caesar dressing. I took it to go even though I was eating in, figuring that I wouldn't eat the whole thing.
Italio Fort Lauderdale Interior
Bad stools; the place is just as uncomfortable as Chipotle, They have a soda station with iced tea; both sweetened and unsweetened, and unlike Chipotle, they have fresh lemon wedges and Splenda. Refills are free, or at least nobody yelled at me when I got a refill.>
Italio Soft Drink
I took a closer look at the salad and it looked like a salad. More cheese than you might usually get at a restaurant.
Italio Salad Entree
With limited ingredients there were no surprises; they have a very good caesar dressing. As chicken caesar salads go, this one was a plus. It's nice to not have to push the croutons aside; you simply don't ask for any.
Italio Salad Entree
For $1.75, the cost of the iced tea, this was a helluva deal. For $8.73, the regular price, I'm not entirely sure. If you're going to eat with a plastic fork out of a cardboard tub, you might as well go to the salad bar at a supermarket. Whole Foods is across the street.
Italio Kitchen 1658 N Federal Hwy Boca Raton FL, 33432 (09/03/2012)