8965 Sheridan Dr., Clarence, NY 14031
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"Even the sides were good. The cinnamon apples were, like the wrap ingredients, hot and fresh, liberally coated in a sweet, spicy glaze that was worth clearing entirely from the bowl."
With proper attention to decorating details, themed restaurants can be fun, and a new movie-themed sandwich shop called It's a Wrap is halfway there: in addition to Hollywood posters and related items on the walls, its menu offers wraps, paninis, flatbreads and salads named after films - The Godfather panini and the Memphis Belle flatbread, amongst them - but the rest of the theme is a work in progress. We're hoping that the interior gets the extra attention it needs, because the place offers legitimately good food at very reasonable prices; it's already a credit to its Clarence neighborhood, though a quiet one.
Extension of a Dance Studio. Scattered movie items aside, It's a Wrap looks like office space that was converted into a small cafe with mixed results. There's an open kitchen with a walk-up ordering counter, tables with free Wi-Fi access, a self-service soda dispenser, and a freezer full of individually wrapped ice cream treats. This relaxed design makes even more sense when you consider that the restaurant is located immediately next door to a dance studio, which has its own access window to the place for drinks and snacks; as we ate, parents and kids were enjoying lunch after finishing lessons next door. But there are some issues: both the menus and a collection of movie trivia questions on the wall are printed with such small type as to be nearly illegible, so you'll either squint when trying to decide what to eat, or rely upon paper printed menus sitting on the ordering counter. The decor is a little sparing, too; it's obvious that It's a Wrap could benefit from a second round of interior design.
Fun Choices. Once you can read the menu, you'll find the choices to be charming: for instance, there's a "Buffalo 66" wrap with seasoned chicken, celery and blue cheese dressing, a "Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" flatbread with turkey and applewood bacon, and a "Fish Called Wanda" panini made with albacore tuna salad. Every wrap, flatbread, and panini option comes with your choice of one side dish - pasta salad, macaroni salad, chips, cinnamon apples, or fruit - which moves the meal prices from "fine" into "good" territory; order a meal and you needn't order more than a drink in order to be well fed. If there's anything wrong with the options, it's that the cute names disguise a relatively short list of ingredients, and that on our visit, at least one of those ingredients was unavailable. We'd chalk this up to a new venue still adjusting to changing demand, and would expect it to improve as business stabilizes.
Good Food. We skipped the "Soylent Green" - a surprisingly-named wrap that lets you choose the flavor of the soft, tortilla-like shell, plus one type of deli meat - and ordered three items that could broadly be described as Italian-inspired. The Italian Job (9"/$5.29, 12"/$8.49) was steak and onions with portobello mushrooms, marsala wine sauce, and cheese on our choice of a sundried tomato wrap; It's a Wrap was out of the portobellos, but offered our choice of two other ingredients as a substitute - entirely fair, given that portobellos are a premium item. Next up was an Under the Tuscan Sun flatbread ($8), a mix of eggplant, onions, roasted red peppers, and feta cheese on pita-like bread with a "signature honey sauce", followed by The Godfather ($8), a grilled panini with chicken breast and mozzarella cheese, a "signature pesto mayonnaise," sun dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers.
Each of the items was really quite nice, substantially different in flavor from the others despite any apparent similarity in themes or ingredients. The best of the bunch was The Godfather, which saw its fresh, crispy bread wonderfully grilled to a very light char, and its mix of high-quality chicken and veggies turned into one big hot, gooey filling that both of us really enjoyed. We also really liked the Under the Tuscan Sun flatbread, which was surprisingly and enjoyably sweet thanks to its honey sauce, with huge, lightly breaded eggplant pieces and big red pepper slices to provide an earthy center for each bite; the Italian Job wrap was our least favorite of the bunch - a little plain - but even so, the ingredients were all pretty good, and plenty hot. Only one person was manning the order counter and making meals, so everything went straight from the stove to our table.
Even the sides were good. The cinnamon apples were, like the wrap ingredients, hot and fresh, liberally coated in a sweet, spicy glaze that was worth clearing entirely from the bowl. It's a Wrap's pasta salad was more colorful and tasty than we'd expected when we ordered it, mixing plain and spinach rotini twist-style pasta with bits of chopped ham and veggies. Bags of pre-packaged chips were available as well, spanning a variety of popular brands. The two of us would have been well-fed ordering only two items.
Small print and decor omissions aside, we really liked It's a Wrap, and wouldn't hesitate to stop in again: between the Wi-Fi access and the reasonably priced, very good food, this new restaurant has set the stage for an initial round of applause. A standing ovation will be in order if it completes the transformation of its venue and makes its menu bigger - both in physical size, and in diversity.