Yesterday Amanda and I had the pleasure of dining at Provo's newest sit-down restaurant, Oregano Italian Kitchen. Some of you may have seen the new restaurant while driving on University Parkway towards BYU campus, adjacent to the Courtyard Marriott Hotel. Oregano recently opened its doors on March 17th. I had already heard great things about the place, so I decided to stop by and try it out for myself.
I was able to sit down with the Head Chef, Chad Pritchard, who is also the owner of another Utah Valley favorite, Chef's Table. He gave me the scoop on what sets Oregano apart from the abundance of Italian restaurants in the area. Chef Chad said his overall goal is to bring great cuisine to Utah Valley, and he emphasized the fact that Oregano is "New York style Italian" meaning that the food doesn't claim to be authentic Italian, but rather is something that people are familiar and comfortable with.
Chef Chad's background is an interesting one. He hails from the great state of Texas, where he grew up in the vibrant community of Austin. Chad said that Provo reminds him a lot of Austin 25 years ago—an up-and-coming town experiencing tons of growth at the height of a tech boom. He said that Austin's growth brought with it a "great culinary awakening," and he sees a similar trend occurring in the Provo area with the recent opening of places like Communal, Pizzeria 712, Taste, and Black Sheep Cafe. So because of this culinary awakening, Chad decided that Provo would make the perfect place for his new restaurant.
Chad is no newcomer to great food. He taught at the legendary culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu. While in this environment, Chad learned key cooking techniques that he instills in each and every one of his cooks under his direction. He says the goal is to "get back to what chefs do: using good ingredients and good technique."
The atmosphere at Oregano is cozy and delightful. Chad defines it as "upscale casual," meaning that it's a quality sit-down restaurant, but it's also a place where people should feel comfortable coming as they are and enjoying themselves. Oregano's decor is inviting; the walls are painted with warm colors, yellow lighting brightens the rooms, and original paintings are hung throughout the dining rooms. The art has been galleried, meaning that if someone falls in love with a particular painting, they are welcome to purchase it and take it home.
Oregano proudly claims to be Provo's ONLY sit-down restaurant with a full liquor license (can you believe that? While there are several in Orem, this is Provo's first!). Other restaurants serve beer and wine, but at Oregano you can enjoy cocktails and other specialty drinks.
Now for the food. I was able to taste the Caprese Salad, Sweet Potato Fries, Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, Panna Cotta, and Blackberry Lemonade. It was all to die for. Amanda ordered the Pasta Bolognese and if she could have married that dish, she would have—she loved it that much. I personally loved the unique Sweet Potato Fries which were sweet, savory, and served with a declious cinnamon dipping sauce. This was also my first time trying the dessert Panna Cotta, which is a cold Italian custard and is, in my opinion, divine.
If you go, Oregano is open Monday-Thursday 11 AM-11 PM, Friday-Saturday 11 AM-1 PM, closed Sundays. With great hours like that, you can enjoy lunch, dinner, and late night dessert. Speaking of dessert, Oregano offers a great deal on the weekends known as "Late Night Date Night," where you can get 2 desserts and 2 non-alcoholic drinks for just $10! Talk about a great deal.
Next time you're in Provo, make sure to eat at Oregano. I truly enjoyed my experience there, and I will definitely be going back with my wife soon. Thanks to Chef Chad and his staff for the great service and food!