It is so turned around these days.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth.....for Central Illinoisans

What I am about to post could be construed, by some, as blasphemy. The following words could have me banned from the Central Illinoisan blogoshpere indefinitely. What I am about to say may cause me to fall out of favor with some or most of you. So with that being I go.

Avanti's is not that great. It is only great to those who live in this area.

When I lived in Nashville I was in a band with 5 members 2 were from Bloomington/Normal. We traveled around the world and across the country playing music. We used to talk about how we couldn't wait to play a show "back home" so we could take the rest of the band and crew to this place called Avanti's. How we longed for the cheesy, goo-centered delight of peperoni pizza bread, or the delicious rapture of a Gondola. We must have talked it up quite a bit because there was an air of excitement that night when the catering revealed that dinner was from Avanti's.

The band and crew ate with delight. Upon completion of our meal the 3 Central Illinois boys were eager to get reaction from the non-natives. Much to our disappointment they were under whelmed. "It's o.k. if you like chef-boy-ardee and hoagies" were the words out of Cason's mouth. Mike could only imitate the sound of someone barfing ...(he's the drummer, he doesn't use words much) Myself and the 2 other natives were crushed. We knew that our meal was not a disappointment. Why were they not seduced by the sweet bread charm? On another trip the same scenario played out with similar results.

Why do I bring this up? Because I was reminded of this very fact a couple of weeks ago and last night. Usually, I am not one who name drops but somewhere between acquaintance and friend is Mat Kearney. Cason from the aforementioned paragraph plays bass for Mat. I have spent a few days with them over the last few weeks as they have been playing around the area. When they were in Bloomington a few weeks ago the venue suggested that they could get dinner (if they didn't want catering) from this great Italian joint.......Avanti's....they have the greatest bread ya know..... And then last night Mat played at IWU. Once again the promoter suggested Avanti's which immediately stopped Cason in mid sentence only to look at me as to signal that he remembered that place and that he didn't approve. Later on that evening right before the show Mat was asking me about some local things of interest that he could incorporate into his free form rap thing that he does. I said, "mention Avanti's and the crowd will go wild." So when it came to that point in the show Mat threw in the word "Avanti's".....the crowd applauded with glee. Cason shook his head. But I will not use Cason as a single example. There are many I know who have partaken of Avanti's only to have it not live up to the hype. They were not from here, they did not know any better.

All this to say.... I love Avanti's. I grew up here, the sauce is part of my blood. The bread is flesh of my own flesh. But to those who are not from here, Avanti's is not great Italian food.