While many of the people we spoke to recommended Austyn’s and The Buckley House Restaurant as the best the city had to offer, when we asked, “Where do you eat?,” the answer was an unanimous, “da Vinci’s.”
Located in Williamstown, West Virginia (literally a few minutes away and a short drive across the Ohio River), da Vinci’s is a family-owned Italian restaurant known for their… German pizza. This claim is not only the central feature of their website and menus, but people we met along the way actually recommended the pizza. The restaurant was a maze of a place with several levels, side rooms, additions and dark corners. da Vinci’s was clearly designed to be the go-to place for private parties, as well as the casual lunch or dinner spot.
Their menu was giant and, as many long-standing hometown restaurants do, came complete with a history of the place. I paged though the ordeal and decided to order only items self-proclaimed as being daVinci’s originals. I started out with one of their salads and was happy to see something beyond the generic iceberg and carrot mixture. Blue cheese, greens, onions, olives and a balsamic vinaigrette showed up at the table almost immediately. I loved every bite.
Being a fan of sauerkraut Baseball Boy took one for the team and ordered the German pizza. (He often proclaims that one could live on sauerkraut and beer alone, but that he would like to add pie to the mix: his dream trifecta of survival.) His beloved sauerkraut was joined by corned beef, cheese and horseradish to create one one of the most unique pizza combinations I’ve seen outside of Bono Pizza. Although it was heavy, it was a good pizza and worthy of the praise (in writing and otherwise) it had been given.
For my entree, I went with their trademarked “Spaghetti Mona Lisa.” This was basically spaghetti and meat sauce with some pizza toppings (mushrooms, green peppers and pepperoni) baked on top with mozzarella cheese. Similar to something I created in my post college kitchen (when all I’d bring home from the grocery was sauce, dry cheap pasta and pepperoni), I found this combination to be incredible. When so many folks out there are trying so hard to be innovative and ground-breaking in the kitchen, I love the fact that someone simply decided to treat a pile of pasta like a pizza. Simple, non-pretentious, and delicious.
Joining my pile of pasta was a slice of their garlic bread, which, for a small fee, could be topped with cheese, our server told us. When I asked what what he recommended, he pointed me in the way of the cheese (clearly an obvious choice). And, once again, a recommendation proved to be the right answer.
And so, I recommend to you: if you find yourself near Williamstown, West Virginia, stop by da Vinci’s.
da Vinci’s Italian Restaurant
215 Highland Avenue
Williamstown, West Virginia