Posts Tagged ‘Della Zona’

Our mission today at the Athens County Convention & Visitors Bureau: Go forth and eat a 30 Mile Meal Lunch.

O'Betty's chef Ryan Stolz and owner Bob Satmary

Jenna Dill headed for O’Betty’s Red Hot! on West State Street here in Athens. Given the narrow facade of the building, you’d never guess just how much is inside. Like, um, a museum. According to their website, “O’Betty’s may not have the only Hotdog Museum in the World but we certainly have one of the LARGEST, VARIED, and MOST ENTERTAINING – and still growing! You will be amazed by the countless objects devoted to America’s favorite food – the wiener!” We agree!

The King Kong

Back to Jenna’s quest for lunch. Her choice?  The King Kong, featuring a chicken bratwurst from King Family Farm, basil pesto and tomatoes from Green Edge Gardens, Chase Cheddar from Integrations Acres, roasted garlic from Starline Organics, and a whole wheat bun from Fluff Bakery! Jenna says, “It was very tasty!” and notes that Chef Ryan has other 30 Mile Meal dogs barking in the kitchen. One features our state’s native fruit, the pawpaw, and another, locally made sauerkraut. You can learn more about their menu for 30 Mile Meal Week here.  Tasty Dogs + Museum = Cultural Bliss.

Lunch Time

Emily Maluski also headed Uptown for lunch, choosing Fluff Bakery on Court Street. This very sweet eatery is owned by Jessica and Jason Kopelwitz. Both received their Ohio U degrees in 1999 – Jess in business administration and Jason, in chemistry. They moved to Columbus where Jess went to cooking school and, ultimately, became general manager of Lucky’s Cafe. But family ties drew them back to Athens.  They moved in with Jess’s sister, Angie, and her husband Matt, who farm and operate Starline Organics.  When a retail space opened up on Court Street last summer, Jess and Jason jumped. Five exhausting weeks later, Fluff was born as both a bakery and catering business.

BLT - Fluff Style

Emily ordered the Fluff BLT and reports, “This filling sandwich features house-made garlic rosemary foccacia topped with peppercorn mayo, Shade River Organic Farm tomatoes, Starline Organics greens, and King Family Farm bacon. The bacon was thick and crisp and paired wonderfully with the fresh greens and perfectly ripe, red tomatoes. Combined with the flavors of the mayo and the always delicious Fluff foccacia, these local ingredients made for one tasty lunch!”

Village Bakery & Cafe

I headed to The Village Bakery, here on East State Street. Owners Christine Hughes and Bob O’Neil also operate three other local foods related businesses: the Undercover Market inside the bakery building; Della Zona, in the building next door and where they recently added a wood-fired oven; and the Catalyst Cafe on W. Union Street. Bob and Christine were early supporters of the local farm and food community and continue to do so.

I’m pretty much a regular, but there’s always something new to try. Despite today’s heat (approaching 100 degrees), a bowl of the Spicy Peanut Soup sounded good. And it was! ( Sadly, I didn’t bring my camera.) Shade River Organics and Green Edge Organic Gardens supplied the vegetables: onion, sweet potato, mushrooms, cabbage, potato, tomatoes and bright yellow summer squash. I liked the satisfying balance of the smooth tomato broth (enhanced by miso and peanut butter) and the tender chunks of vegetables. Accompanied by two slices of the bakery’s whole wheat sourdough bread, it made for a very satisfying lunch.

30 Mile Meal Lunch Mission Accomplished! Tomorrow is another day…


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inside the new oven

Over the last year Christine Hughes and Bob O’Neil have been making substantial changes to their side by side restaurants on E. State Street in Athens. Solar panels now grace the roof of the Village Bakery & Cafe and work was just completed on a new brick oven and remodeling of the dining room and kitchen for Della Zona.


Christine keeps watch, ready with the next pizza for the oven

Last week Christine and Bob invited staff, several of their suppliers, and a few friends to sample their pizzas as they fired up the new oven and tested some recipes.


Della Zona (Italian for from the region) lives up to its name, with a menu fashioned from ingredients produced nearby. Their pizza crusts are made with organic flours, including an Etruscan one made with 100% spelt flour which has fantastic flavor and is a great alternative to wheat. DZ’s marinara sauce marries locally farmed organic Roma tomatoes with onions, garlic and basil. Toppings include fresh mozzarella and ricotta made with milk from Snowville Creamery, naturally and humanely raised meats, and organic vegetables and fresh herbs, as Christine notes, “without bar codes.”


Last week’s crowd devoured dozens of pizzas that will soon be on the menu. Whether a vegetarian, vegan or meat-lover, the choices abound. Guests enjoyed pies loaded with greens and other veggies, mushrooms, cheeses, as well as sausage, ham and other meats. My favorite was topped with King Family Farm chicken sausage, onions, and a tangy barbecue sauce.  All had the subtle, but lovely flavor of the wood-fired oven.

pizza perfection

Della Zona also offers house made pasta, so tender it melts in your mouth. Eggs from locally pastured chickens are kneaded into freshly ground organic durum and Kamut wheat, stone milled in house. The dough is then rolled, cut and cooked to perfection as part of their daily and seasonally changing menu. Be sure to check out their great wine and beer selections, too.

Della Zona re-opens this Thursday (February 17th). The restaurant will be open Thursdays through Saturdays from 5 to 9 PM.


All three of Hughes and O’Neils’ eateries (the third is the Catalyst Café) hold our highest 30 Mile Meal partner ‘something to crow about’ designation. This uber 30MM status is reserved for those eateries that when given the choice between local and at a distance ingredients, buy local first.


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