Italian food is known for its stunning combinations of pasta, sauce, and cheese, though more so in its food than in its architecture. Topple a house of penne with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Italian fare at Vapiano.
Vapiano's kitchen staff assuages appetites with a menu of quickly prepared hand-tossed pizzas, house-made pastas, and gourmet salads. Using ordering cards that boast computer chips and cheat codes for Minesweeper, eaters can place orders for various Italian eats such as the signature granchi de fiume pasta dish ($9.95) with crayfish and veggies lounging in lobster sauce. A crispy crust supports molten tomato sauce bubbling beneath a layer of mozzarella cheese on the Diavolo pizza ($9.95), which pleases palates with chunks of spicy pepperoni, bell peppers, and onions.
For lighter eats, fork prongs can nab bites from the strawberry spinach salad with pine nuts and raspberry-maple dressing ($9.95), and drops of seasonal soups ($3.95) left on spoons can help eaters to predict upcoming weather patterns. Feasts unfold at one of the modern eatery's high tables or its red lounge chairs peppered around the bar area. Light wooden floors, potted plants, and trees immerse eaters in a bright, natural setting, just like eating lunch on a highway shoulder.