One of the many perks of writing this blog is all the recommendations I get from family, friends, and colleagues. Thanks to all the great people in my network I’ve always got a list chock-full of places to try and it keeps getting longer and longer.
Every January I scan my list to calculate my plan for the upcoming year. The most recommended spots filter to the front of the line and if I see a suggestion multiple times in a short window, that puppy gets picked for the upcoming weekend.
A couple weeks ago one of those hot tips fell right in my lap, so when an impromptu dinner-out with the in-laws popped up, my blessed family obliged me and we ventured to a supposed “diamond-in-the-rough” in downtown Verona, WI.
Avanti’s Italian Restaurant.
Avanti’s is a cozy little Italian family restaurant and pub that boasts old-school family recipes and a homey atmosphere. It’s ten minutes from my house and I’ve driven by it dozens of times, but I always just figured it was a place for classic Italian American fare like chicken parmesan or lasagna (I do hear both are good).
But, the rave reviews I’d been hearing about came from the pizza section and sounded like the perfect ally for a Wisconsinite who’s about to bundle up and hunker down for a few frigid months of winter: Pan pizza.
When the temperatures drop I’m more apt to venture outside of my usual thin-crust ways. Thankfully my father in law loves pizza too, so we could guiltlessly order a pan pizza and thin-crust pizza and share them to get the full experience.
The pan stole the show.
Avanti’s low lighting and a warm family-friendly ambiance created the perfect environment to indulge in buttery, flakey, inch-thick pan pizza. The crust had a light, crispy outer shell, and pillowy soft center. The bottom had a light oily finish from the pan it was baked in.
And what can I say, I’m a sucker for big chunks of sausage that get nestled into ooey, gooey gobs of cheese and pepperoni. The toppings and sauce were abundant and the pie was finished with a liberal dusting of Italian seasonings. (Pro tip: If you want the pizza to come out when everyone else’s dishes order it as soon as your waitress visits your table, the pan takes 25 minutes to bake.)
Ever since Avantis, I can’t get that thick, cheesy, buttery beauty off my mind and it’s all thanks to the trusted sources in my life who reach out and give me a heads up on what I should try next.
Referrals are the fuel that keeps my pizza engine flowing and it seems like the more I give and the more I get back and around and around.
That’s the beauty of reciprocity. When we selflessly share and help others we start a cycle of goodwill that creates value for everyone. If someone does you a solid, it’s hardwired human nature to want to return the favor.
So, whether it’s a recommendation for some righteous pizza or some intel that could provide a leg up we should always revert to the giver inside of us.
What I’m eating: Avanti’s pepperoni and sausage pan-style pizza
What I’m reading: Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success –Adam Grant