by Ian Froeb
Cini, a new fast-casual Italian concept from the owners of Il Bel Lago (11631 Olive Boulevard, Creve Coeur; 314-994-1080) and the local franchisees of Buffalo Wild Wings opened this morning at 374 South Grand Boulevard.
Cini is short for arancini, the classic Italian street food of fried rice balls. The restaurant offers three varieties on its menu (PDF): sausage, peas, Parmigiano and Pecorino; mixed vegetables with Parmigiano and romano; Parmigiano, romano, mascarpone and gorgonzola.
Cini also offers build-your-own pasta and salad bowls as well as piadina, which look like a cross between a burrito and a wrap. You choose the protein (a vegetable option is also available), the sauce and any toppings.
The phrase "fast-casual concept" always prompts the question, "Well, where's the next location going to be?" In this case, a second Cini is slated for the Ladue area later this year.