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D’Avolio Opens

His enthusiasm is not only contagious, it’s compelling. Compelling me to drink vinegar and olive oil from tiny disposable shot glasses on an empty stomach. While at the counter sampling his wares, sun streams in through the windows of this small but tidy Elmwood storefront. A wall of balsamic vinegar bottles shimmer and the shop’s recessed ceiling is reflected twenty or more times in the shiny metal “fustis” that line the opposite wall, labeled with tags that list descriptors like “Harissa”, and “Roasted French Walnut”.

Today at 11:00 a.m., D’Avolio, which is nestled into a tiny storefront on Elmwood Avenue near Lancaster, will open its doors for the first time. Though the space has seen a cavalcade of small businesses over the years, it seems to be a perfect fit for the vision held by its enthusiastic owner, Dan Gagliardo.

D’Avolio is a boutique shop that specializes in olive oil and vinegar. Twenty-three varieties of  vinegar are available, including classic sherry and champagne vinegars, as well as flavored-infused options such as Honey Ginger White Balsamic and Cinnamon Pear. In the olive oil department there are four classic flavors that range in flavor from the very fresh and green Arbequina Private Reserve (my favorite) to the late harvest Picholine. Additionally, over twenty-three infused oils boast familiar and exotic flavors like Chipotle, Persian Lime, Herbes de Provence, and even Butter. Vinegars retail for $20 a bottle and oils retail for $15. Both are competitively priced for their size and quality.

Thumbnail image for olive oil inset.jpgFor those of you who may wonder if you will enjoy the flavor or intensity of any of these oils or vinegars, self-serve samples are always available, and Gagliardo says that D’Avolio will take their sampling on the road to charity events and private tasting parties.

A modest selection of other food and gift items are available at the store, including pastas, salts and pickled items from local business, Deb’s Delights. For regular customers, an incentive to re-use your olive oil and vinegar bottles will soon be in place.

In early 2010, Gagliardo, a successful businessman, stumbled upon a similar olive oil shop on a visit to Scottsdale, Arizona. Within months he had organized a plan to take over the WNY area with the tasty concept, dedicated to his Italian grandmother who cooked everything with olive oil her brother shipped to her from Italy. Her image graces the Elmwood shop in addition to the shop located in the Village of Lewiston, which opened five weeks ago. Gagliardo has heard the question ‘How can you make a successful business from just selling olive oil?’ here on Buffalo Rising and from plenty of others, but the success of similar locations elsewhere in the country and the excitement of his Lewiston customers (many whom have already returned for a refill more than once) proved to him that his notion to bring this business to WNY was a good one.

dan g olive.jpg“I welcome those questions,” Gagliardo says with a grin. “Once someone comes in and tries any of our oils or vinegars, they understand what we’re doing. Olive oil is the healthiest of all the fats, even when it is heated and begins to break down, it is still the healthiest. Once people come in and taste what we have, they will keep coming back.”

The addition of D’Avolio to this part of Elmwood further cements this neighborhood’s newly-minted reputation as a “food Mecca”. Penzey’s Spices, the gourmet goods selection at Globe Market and Delish, the Lexington Co-op, and now D’Avolio, make this little section of the bustling village well worth the drive for any self-respecting cook.

Stop into D’Avolio and check it out for yourself. The shop will be open 7 days a week with evening hours. Other plans for future WNY locations are in the works.

830 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222

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  • JohnQBuffalo

    Personally, I never grew up on or liked the extra pure olive oils that are expensive. I’ll will buy the cheapest olive oil possible. Why? You can taste more of the olive flavor because it hasnt been refined out into just the oil.
    Yes, if you have the cash to spare then by all means buy a couple of bottles of infused oil and vinegar.
    However, if you dont have the money to spare then dont despair. You can make your own infused vinegars at home by just adding the flavor and letting it sit.
    Yes there is special processing that will go the extra step in adding flavors. Its called Sous Vid (I think) where you use a vacuum and very slow (ie low heat) to infuse the flavors. Sous Vid can be done very inexpensively with your vacuum sealer for leftovers…then dropping it water that has been on low heat…
    These stores are great…but remember fellow Buffalonians … you dont have to be rich to enjoy many of lifes simple pleasures but you do need the effort.

  • LouisTully

    I’m Sicilian and put olive oil in everything. And though a guide I just followed for storing homemade sundried tomatoes suggests using a higher quality olive oil, I just can’t see an entire store of deluxe olive oils. Especially since the modest-sized generic brand I just purchased at Tops was still $8.99. Maybe for those with a surplus of disposable income.

  • LouisTully

    Nevertheless, I wish Mr. Gagliardo success.
    Christa: do you know the size of the bottles you mentioned, to go along with the prices? Sorry if I missed it.

  • Matthew L.

    I’ve been waiting for them to open; I can’t wait to go visit!

  • Christa Glennie Seychew

    Approximately 13 oz.

  • KelZiv

    Most grocery store olive oils are not pure and are cut with cheap oils like cotton seed, ect, which is why they are so inexpensive. These smaller and more expensive producers deserve business for putting out a truly authentic and quality product. If you can’t afford to keep replenishing your supply with these expensive oils, then maybe just splurge once in awhile to have a bottle on hand for special occasions. If you’ve ever had a good quality olive oil, then you’d never go back! This store is a terrific addition to Buffalo. I can’t wait to visit the next time I’m in town.

  • AtwnMike

    Congratulations on your new endeavor! I wish you the best. I have enjoyed many meals out that use infused oils and vinegars but have been dumbfounded by trying to find comparable products at Wegmans. This would also be a great host gift idea…I hope my friends are listening!!!


    If you can’t afford 50,000 dollars a year on food, you don’t deserve to eat.

  • DOC

    I just visited the store in the Villageof Lewiston. Great! Bought a bottle of their top vinegar. Delicious and fun. JohnQBuffalo you’ve taken your pedestrian values and superimposed them onto something new and fun for Buffalo. How boring.