Situated in a small building on 118 Avenue, Battista’s unavoidable purple hue is both eye-catching and a pleasing pop of colour on the sometimes dreary stretch of road. Stepping inside, it’s almost hard to believe it used to house an autobody shop – though nothing fancy, between the smell of baking bread and the friendly purveyor, the space felt warm and inviting.
Owner Battista Vecchio is clearly passionate about his new endeavour. When asked why he chose to focus on calzones, he said it was something he grew up with – his mother would make the portable pizzas for him so he would have something to eat after soccer games. Even now, his family is involved in the business – his mother makes the meatballs for one of the calzones, and his father was there assisting with a large catering order.
Battista Vecchio presents one of his calzone creations
Battista makes the dough from scratch, and sources the rest of his ingredients through The Italian Centre, including spicy Italian sausage made by Edmonton-based company Little Italy Foods. Though at the moment he offers only four varieties, Battista knows that the possibilities are endless – chili calzones, BBQ chicken calzones, Nutella dessert calzones, or turkey calzones for Christmas. I remarked that because of its compact nature, it is the ideal street food – calzone food truck, anyone?
Based on the meatball calzone I had (already baked earlier, and kept warm, meaning it was served to me almost immediately), I am glad Battista has chosen to keep his focus, in spite of many people prodding him towards pizza or other menu additions. The meatball was perfectly seasoned, and had just the right texture to be eaten between the folds of the soft and chewy dough. It was the most satisfying lunch I’ve had in a long time.
Battista said he’s slowly building up the business – from word of mouth, and those that live in the neighbourhood. But perhaps after the release of Avenue Edmonton’s next food issue – where his calzones will are in the running to be included as one of Gail Hall’s 25 Best Things to Eat, this gem of a restaurant will be a secret no longer. Try one before the crowds gather!