Local shop, restaurant work together to showcase quality

You may have visited Grill One Eleven and enjoyed a first-rate meal and ambiance. You may have cooked with aged balsamic vinegar and specialty oils from Old World Olive Press. Business owners with brains teamed up to combine shopping and dining opportunities at one event. On Wednesday, April 29, Aaron Zania, Grill One Eleven owner, and Corey DeLong and Shasta Face, owners of Old World Olive Press, presented diners with a meal of Grill One Eleven fare featuring Old World Olive Press products. It was the first such dining experiment that is sure to be a repeat performance.

Grill 111 Executive Chef and General Manager Matt Lenkiewicz along with Corey DeLong and Shasta Fase hold bottles of Old World Olive Press vinegar after dinner at the restaurant.

Face said she planned to partner with other downtown business owners since she opened doors of the store at 65 E. Bridge Street. Poindexter’s Specialty Marketplace uses her products in his deli, and she has plans to partner with more restaurants.

At the premier dinner, a nearly sold-out crowd filled the upstairs dining area at Grill One Eleven and began the meal with hummus and pita bread. With each course, Chef Matt Lenkiewicz explained his use of the oil and vinegar products and how they complement the foods. The surprising combinations were all tastefully done, from the crostinis topped with marinated tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and 18-year-old balsamic vinegar to the chicken Wellington, topped with Old World Olive Press white truffle oil.

Linda and Dianne Carey and The Rockford Squire’s Carrie Yeomans prepare to taste a dessert made with an infusion of chocolate vinegar.

The evening’s fare ended with perhaps the most interesting combination: a dessert featuring rich vanilla ice cream, fruits and a reduction of dark chocolate balsamic vinegar. The flavors worked well together, and Lenkiewicz pointed out that each element of the meal could be prepared at home and could lead to other innovative uses of the products.

For those who love to eat more than cook, watch for the next joint dining experience between the restaurant and Old World Olive Press.

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