Please note – Flats 101 is no longer in business.
“Flats 101 is a unique restaurant that brings a funky twist to fine dining. We offer the chic ambiance of an upscale restaurant without the obnoxious pricing. Our hand selected menu is inspired by childhood favorites, recreated with a gourmet twist. At Flats 101, we offer a variety of exquisite appetizers, salads, entrees, gourmet burgers, and our signature flatbreads. Our thin crust flatbreads are topped with fresh high quality ingredients then baked at 500 degrees for nine minutes to perfection. Our International wine list, fresh martinis and tapped craft beer create an atmosphere that is unique, fun and hip. We are a charity driven company who enjoys working with local charities, and other organizations to give back to the community through corporate functions, private parties or special events”
I’ll admit, I’m biased because I loved the space when it was first opened as a different restaurant. The location is great and the interior is fabulously chic. They kept a fair amount of the decor from the original space but added funky, bright green touches. We are in such need of a fun and trendy restaurant/bar in this area.
Here are a few of the interior photos from their website.
I lunched there recently with a girlfriend of mine, Jinger. All the window booths were taken at 1:00 pm, but we were seated in the bar area immediately upon request.
Jinger and I both ordered a glass of wine and scanned the menu. Now mind you – before I delve into the menu, remember that I’m doing this review from a plant based diet perspective. Although we are a small part of the population we are growing and want choices. And I’m not talking just throwing some veggies over oily noodles and calling it a day, I’m talking a dish that is unique and innovative with at least a little bit of thought put into it. We love grains, beans, avocado, handmade burgers, tempeh, seasonal veggies, vegan and gluten free pizza options and super fresh salads with homemade vinaigrette. I’ll give some more suggestions for any restaurateurs later that are interested in making not only people with plant based diets, but all different kinds of customers happy.
Here are some of the menu items.
Obviously the meat and dairy areas are well covered. Needless to say, from a plant based perspective, we have a little work to do here. There is a bruschetta app and a few salads that can be altered, some of the dressings sound amazing and I noticed one pizza with potential.
The good news was that the very friendly and attentive waitress was more than willing to work with me. I was very excited about the wild mushroom burger until she explained that it isn’t a burger made of mushrooms, it is a beef burger with mushrooms on top, so please keep that in mind when dining here.
I ended up ordering the oven roasted veggie flat. I loved that it was loaded with veggies and I enjoyed the sun-dried tomato pesto, it was tangy and thick and seemingly homemade. The pizza crust was thin and tasty, and there was a good amount of veggies; but as for the pizza over all, without the cheese it was a tad dry. A balsamic drizzle and some avocado would have been divine.
For the owners of Flats 101, (and any restaurant for that matter), here is my first idea for you. People like to make their own decisions – you know how the slogan goes, “Have it your way.” So how about this idea – give people the burger toppings but let them choose their protein out of three options; one being a homemade, quality veggie burger. This will make everyone happy!
My second idea is to offer a whole-grain, gluten-free crust (yes we realize that if we have Celiac we still should not eat it since there is wheat flying around) and whip up a white pizza with a sauce made from cashews and nutritional yeast or even grab some Daiya cheese and keep in in the freezer and then put a note that any pizza can be made vegan and with a gluten free crust.
Thirdly, work on sourcing your fresh produce from local growers. Yes this is an extra step, but it will make your restaurant stand out from the others. Speaking from a consumer sense -we can get a greasy burger anywhere, and we can get a Krispy Kreme doughnut down the street. What is going to make your restaurant stand out from the others?
Lastly – please don’t make me ask for a separate menu like I’m “special”. If you must, I’ll take it, but I’d prefer that you just put it proudly right on the menu. Put a “V” for vegan and a “GF” for gluten free with a disclaimer that it may have come in contact with wheat. Done and done.
Flats 101 has a great concept here but like all the other restaurants that inhabited the premises I don’t want to see it go the way of the Dodo. Selfishly, as in the aforementioned paragraph, I love the atmosphere. It makes you want to go up there and grab a drink and an app with the girls or sit at the bar for dinner with my husband. Rather than just being somewhere I tolerate going because there just isn’t much in this area – let it be somewhere I am stoked to go. I think I can speak for not only my plant-based peeps but also most educated consumers – we love fresh, we love local and we love plants. And our numbers are growing.
On a scale of 1-10 here are my ratings.
Atmosphere – 9. Love it. Great space.
Price – 7 Affordable. I would pay more for local/organic.
Plating – 7 It WAS a very pretty pizza.
Portion size – 8
Taste – 6 Eh- Neutral, it was pretty good.
Value –7 It did have a fair amount of veg on a good size pizza for the money.
Uniqueness of food – 3 Eh. From a plant-based sense, pretty poor. Yeah they have a Krispy Kreme doughnut burger but that impresses me as much as Paula Deen. You can slap a stick-o-butter on anything and deep fry it and it tastes good. You give me a fresh plate of veggies and make it taste freaking amazing without drowning it in oil and I’ll give you a medal.
Attentive wait staff – 9 Our waitress was great. Dark haired girl that was working the bar area. She rocks.
Overall experience – 7 I will go back and try the salads but I’d be really stoked if you had a veggie burger with avocado and balsamic or that cashew white pizza – hint, hint.