It's 4:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, and the employees of Trattoria 225 are all lined up in front of a makeshift buffet, enjoying a free dinner before the restaurant opens for business. Why? Because happy employees make for happy diners, says Liz Charlton, who co-owns the joint with her chef/husband Craig.
The restaurant is the realization of a lifelong dream for Craig, an employee of corporate restaurants for much of his life. Though he gained valuable experience from this work, he saw plenty of things he'd change if he ever had his own place. First on the list: creating a feeling of family among the staff.
Trattoria 225 looks like a cute little place from the outside, but once you walk in, you see there's nothing little about it. The sprawling restaurant still feels comfortable, thanks to its warm wood floors, concrete-poured bar and olive green, yellow and exposed brick walls featuring local artwork.
The large menu includes pizzas, pastas and entrees all rather simple in nature. You won't find a long list of ingredients following any item because the Charltons believe that if you start with truly quality ingredients, less is actually more. The restaurant uses as much organic and locally grown food as it can, and still offers affordable prices ($12-17 for most entrees).
Popular items include the wood-oven roasted beets (with lemon, oregano, olive oil and goat cheese) for $5, the white clam pizza (with clams, garlic, spicy red pepper and pecorino Romano), the ravioli (which changes weekly) or the sustainable fish of the month. "It's what we like to eat," Liz says. "He and I always gravitate toward Italian food."
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Christy Bonstell