There is perhaps no better feeling than walking into a warm, Italian deli and smelling the freshly baked bread, eyeballing the sugary treats and sampling the foreign cheeses. Among the Winston-Salem community, the most well known Italian deli is Dioli’s.
For years, the family-run market has consistently served its customers a prime selection of traditional foods and has undoubtedly upheld this reputation. However, this fall Dioli’s decided to expand to a second location in Reynolda Village.
Because of their mastery of a traditional Italian deli, Dioli’s in the Village was a risky pursuit. Unfortunately, the new restaurant in Reynolda Village is a disappointment relative to the original Dioli’s.
Upon arrival, the restaurant appears to be a warm, welcoming, clean space. Its location in a converted farm building in the village brings the necessary level of timelessness embodied in the Dioli’s name. The exposed brick, the running fireplace and the glass ceiling all work to promote the casual brunch experience they attempted to emulate.
After a few minutes inside the restaurant, it becomes overwhelmingly clear that a casual dining experience is apparently not the way Dioli’s runs their brunch service. I visited on a Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. With fewer than five tables of customers, waitresses were frantically moving around the restaurant, impatient with diners and seemed overly-pressed for time despite any apparent need to be.
The two waitresses running the front of the restaurant stood behind the coffee bar chatting and folding silverware, then acted overly disturbed when they had to attend to the customers. Eye-rolling and annoyed body language sent a very clear message about their priorities.
Regardless of the impolite staff, the food itself should have made up for their treatment of customers, given Dioli’s reputation for outstanding meals. However, even the food itself brought more disappointment. The menu advertised a dish of a fresh fruit bowl with additional Greek yogurt. Instead, the dish included strawberry-flavored, non-Greek yogurt with grapes, cantaloupe and other fruits sparsely mixed in. For diners who sought out a lighter meal, this sugary bowl is less-than satisfying.
Another popular meal, the salmon benedict, is described as traditional eggs benedict atop fresh salmon. Traditionally, eggs benedict features a poached egg with runny yolk, a hardened crust and no raw white remaining. However, the dish at Dioli’s in the Village instead featured a poorly poached egg with a hard-boiled center, unsatisfactory for a relatively simple, common breakfast dish.
The Dioli’s name holds a high-level of credibility in the Winston- Salem community. The happy deli staff paired with the fresh, extraordinary sandwiches has kept customers streaming through the door for breakfast and lunch for years. However, their expansion into Reynolda Village seems to have been a mistake, as they are attempting to become something they inherently are not.