Names + Trends
The restaurant-naming trend that started with ampersands has morphed, where now two simple things connected by some kind of “and” suggest artisanal, farm-to-table philosophy. Joining Flour and Bones, immediately above, Flour + Wine (433 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn; 630-793-9955), a 135-seater specializing in Neapolitan pizzas, pasta dishes, and small plates, opens today in the west suburbs. “All about simplicity and keeping the flavors correct and clean,” says Michael Vai, a partner.
The pizzas hew to the Neapolitan formula, with Caputo 00 flour and a wood-fired oven, and the chef/partner, Brian Goewey, studied with a pizzaiolo in California to learn the secrets of the dough. The pastas include classics such as carbonara and linguini with clams, and beef medallions with balsamic vinegar glaze, broccolini, and pesto vinaigrette exemplify the small plates. Vai describes the decor as “modern feel with a rustic warmth.” Apparently the subtext of Flour plus Something is Modern + Rustic!
Flour + Wine Owners Say Glen Ellyn Is a Perfect Location
Michael Vei and Brian Goewey are seasoned veterans in the restaurant business.
Having helped start dozens of eateries across the Midwest and beyond between them, the two thought they had seen it all, until they arrived in Glen Ellyn.
“Glen Ellyn is unlike any other place,” said Vei. “The community here is just unbelievable.”
The partners are the driving force behind the town’s hottest new restaurant, Flour + Wine, located at 433 North Main St.The eatery offers a menu of neopolitan-style pizza, pasta and a smattering of small plate options that, true to the name pair with an impressive wine selection.
“We knew we could get into a local suburban market where we could provide a niche with our pizzas and such,” said Vei. “We had a site analysis done in Glen Ellyn and it looked like the perfect place for our idea.”
Brian, who is also a partner at Ivy Restaurant in Wheaton knows the area well and saw a chance for a void to be filled.
After little over a month since opening, the two have been more than happy with the reaction they have recieved from the community.
“One of the biggest comments from the customers has been ‘Glen Ellyn needed this,” said Goewey. “It’s really a wonderful market and a great town.”
In the short time since they opened the owners of Flour + Wine have taken steps to get involved in the community they serve as much as possible. They have done so by joining the Glen Ellyn Downtown Alliance and sponsoring local booster clubs such as those at Glenbard West where they recently signed up, among other organizations.
With the state of the economy it would be understandable to have some bare fingernails around the time of the opening, but Vei and Goewey, relying on past experience had no worries.
“Brian, over his career has opened probably over sixty or so restaurants,” said Vei. “Myself I have probably opened over twenty so we took this with a very specific plan in mind.”
That plan began in March when the two bought the property and in just under 40 days Flour + Wine has evolved into a place with few free tables come dinner-time. Deriving a name for the restaurant on the other hand was one of the biggest obstacles before the unveiling.
“We were just looking for a name that fit our niche, and one day I woke up and just said Flour + Wine,” said Goewey. “The two of us sat down at a coffee shop one day and I wrote it down and we both knew right away it was perfect.”
Vei and Goewey, self-described “hands-on” managers are rarely seen outside of the kitchen or restaurant these days, and that’s perfectly fine with them.
“We’ve both been around the country doing this and we are just really thrilled to be in Glen Ellyn,” said Goewey. “These people are awesome, the village has been very good to us and this whole thing has been very fun so far.
My Suburban Life writeup
“We are incredibly passionate about this business,” says Anthony Vai, who, with his father, Michael, and their chef and partner Brian Goewey, just opened flour + wine for dinners in downtown Glen Ellyn. (Click here for a link to the article in mysuburbanlife)
Goewey, who’s gained a following from stints at notable restaurants, is rekindling an early dream in his career, when he trained under famed chef Wolfgang Puck at one of his wood-fired pizza kitchens.
“He just fell in love with that style of cooking,” Anthony says. “Since then, he’s always wanted to get back to that. When he had this opportunity, he jumped on it.”
The partners have extensive background in the restaurant business, from intimate establishments to stadium operations.
Both Goewey and Anthony recently completed training in California on how to perfect Neapolitan pizza-making, moving beyond playing with fire to working the special grade flour that’s key.
“The finished product is absolutely phenomenal,” Anthony says. “A light airy crust with a little more of a doughiness to the center. We make our dough here. We also make our own mozzarella. Chef stretches it by hand daily. We like to do a lot of things in-house.”
Whether it’s the pizza or pasta dishes, small plates meant to be shared, salads or desserts, Anthony says the key is fresh, well-balanced flavors.
“We sourced the best vendors,” Anthony says. “Our prosciutto is imported from Parma, Italy — aged 18 months to be soft and tender with a nice, slight saltiness (and) delicate texture.”
It’s served with mozzarella and mixed greens tossed in light limonette on crostini, he says, noting a personal favorite is the rock shrimp and crab fritter.
“Rock shrimp is smaller, but sweeter,” he says. “We use lump crab meat, and we pan sear them and finish them in the oven, as opposed to deep-frying.”
At the bar, juices are squeezed by hand, and cocktails include Margaritas made with muddled watermelon. Craft beers have been selected from around the country, but a prime focus remains wine.
“We searched long and hard (for) interesting wines that people aren’t going to find a lot of places,” he says. “Being the guide to (a) great experience is what we want to be. To give you an evening out, so you enjoy and relax (with) great food and wine. It’s a simple formula, but it’s a lot harder to practice than to preach. We’ve got a lot of practice in it….more
Week One: A HUGE Success!
We finished our first week open…excited beyond words!
Brian is now the expert Pizziola! Cooking hundreds of pizza’s a day!!! Our small plates, pastas and salads have been a huge success…let’s not forget the Nutello Calzone w/ a scoop of Gelato…lots of “wows” going on there!
We sold out of 3 different kegs of craft beer, all 37 wines by the glass were totally enjoyed and the martini’s were flying too…
Our staff survived a difficult 2 weeks, vip parties, training and then a soft opening that made us so excited… and then Mother’s Day weekend feeding all the moms that came into our restaurant. What a time to remember…never will be forgotten!
Glen Ellyn is an awesome place to be! Thank you all for your great words and compliments…we promise to continue to deliver a fun time, delicious foods and hospitality that continues to make you stay excited with us.
Thank you staff…you all did a really good job…soon to be great! Thank you Sandy and Cat…what’s one to say about two great ladies that made this happen and kept us going!
Taking a day of rest today…well deserved, well earned!
Brian, Michael & Anthony
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 23, 2012 – Glen Ellyn, IL
Wine meets Pizza in Artisan Themed Family Restaurant in Downtown Glen Ellyn, IL
May 9th marked the date Glen Ellyn became home to a Contemporary American restaurant with an eclectic, urban feel. Flour + wine pairs handcrafted wood-fired pizzas, fresh pastas and small plates with a global wine selection in a comfortable yet charmingly eclectic ambiance. “Dining is more about the intellectual moment to share with the people you dine with than trying to figure out what the chef did with that little piece of salmon or lobster,” says Co-owner Michael Vai.
Longtime restaurateur Michael Vai and seasoned local Chef Brian Goewey are a match made in food heaven. Chef Brian sources flour + wine’s food locally and prepares it daily, nothing is over prepared in his kitchen, everything is made-to-order. Where Chef Brian masters the kitchen, Michael and son Anthony Vai master a smooth experience for diners from the moment they arrive at flour + wine until the moment they depart, ensuring attentive, fun staff and great drinks in a relaxed, artisan themed atmosphere.
Flour + wine introduces a fresh perspective to the dining experience. Their collective intention: To focus the experience on conversation and the enjoyment of being in the moment of having fresh, great food with wonderful people.
There is nothing conventional about flour + wine, from the eclectic atmosphere to the menu. Take for example the Burrata Pie wood-fired pizza, topped with burrata cheese, tomato sauce, caramelized onions, pistachios and pesto. Flour + wine has completely revamped and re-purposed what was known as “the pizza.”
They also serve up small plates like the Shrimp & Crab Fritters alongside organic vegetables or the Seared Medallions of Beef served with roasted shallots and garlic, drizzled with a balsamic glaze. Accents like the Zucchini Fries or the Bruschetta served with vine-ripened baby heirloom tomatoes adds to the colorful, fresh blend of culinary options at flour + wine. Add to that an impressive collection of Gluten-free options including pizzas and pastas and it becomes clear that flour + wine truly caters to all.
The feel of the restaurant is best expressed as a sophisticated casual vibe where ‘modern meets rustic,’ ’pizza meets wine,’ and ‘artisan cheese meets signature cocktails.’ The charm of flour + wine is as inviting to families looking for handcrafted pizza as it is to couples looking to share a bottle of Diseno Old Vine Malbec or a Bere Super Tuscan. Red brick throughout the bar and dining area serves as the canvas for uniquely framed photos expressing the personality of flour + wine. A wooden trellis surrounding tables on the main dining floor creates a comfortable space for sharing conversation. A large black chalkboard in the lounge is inked with daily specials and hand-painted graffiti art. Tall ceilings and high top tables near the windows, along with accents of copper, amber, cream and blue throughout, add a distinctively modern feel. The eclectic mix of design elements impart an alluring sense of warmth and rustic coziness. This cozy charm is accentuated by the choice of natural hickory wood table tops and comfy cushioned booths.
flour + wine is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 4pm-11pm, Fridays 4pm-12am, Saturdays 3pm-12am & Sundays 3pm-9pm.
New Restaurant to Offer Italian Themed Dishes and More!
By Michelle Manchir TribLocal reporterMarch 29 at 4:26 p.m.
Glen Ellyn diners can look forward to a new Italian-inspired restaurant opening downtown later this year.
A team of experienced restaurateurs are spearheading the new place that will open at 433 N. Main St., the site of the former Gratto Italian Tapas Bar, which closed its doors in the village earlier this month, said Glen Ellyn Economic Development Corporation Director Janie Patch.
The new restaurant will be called flour+wine, said co-owner Michael Vai, and will specialize in handcrafted Neapolitan-style pizza and pasta, in addition to “small-plate foods” and entrees that will change as specials.
“I don’t want to be called an Italian restaurant because we’re more than that,” Vai said.
Cost will be anywhere from $4 for soups into the $20 range for higher-end entrees like a filet mignon with crab cakes, Vai said. The restaurant also will offer an extensive wine and beer list, and have specialty martinis and cocktails.
Vai, of Plainfield, is a previous owner of Entourage restaurant in Schaumburg. He said he’s working with his sons, Nicolas and Anthony, and also Brian Goewey, a former chef at Ivy Restaurant in Wheaton, for this new pursuit.
“We know what’s going on in our industry and we’re capturing it,” Vai said.
Vai said he hopes to appeal to families and couples looking for an “everyday restaurant.”
“It’s not a special occasion restaurant,” he said.
Vai said flour+wine owners purchased the lease and assets of the building on North Main Street from Gratto, which is still maintaining its restaurant in Geneva.
Vai said he hopes to have the restaurant open by May 15.
A new American restaurant with an Italian flair will move into the Main Street location that was previously home to Gratto Italian Tapas.
The new restaurant, flour + wine, will specialize in Neapolitan, wood-fired pizza and creative pasta dishes. Owner Michael Vai of Plainfield said the new restaurant will keep some of the appearance of Gratto, but will also display a modern, yet rustic look with blackboard walls for kids to write on. Vai said there will be wine, craft beer and a creative cocktail list.
Vai took over the location on Wednesday, and the restaurant is expected to open in mid-May. Vai’s, son Anthony Vai, is in California going through training to make Neapolitan pizza. Brian Goewey, a chef and partner at Ivy in Wheaton, will also be a chef and partner at the new restaurant.
Courtesy of downtownglenellyn.com