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Flavor Soars at Volare

Faithfulness to Naples elevates a Norman pizzeria



 



For speakers of Italian, it means to fly or to soar. To music lovers, the word instantly prompts thoughts of Dean Martin (or Scott Bakula). But thanks to one of Norman’s newest restaurants, pizza lovers might – and should – find themselves getting hungry when they hear the word “Volare.”
 

You can’t miss it; get anywhere near Campus Corner and you’ll see the multi-story building looming large over its neighbors. Besides being extra-visible to folks passing by outside, the building allows for a two-story interior including a mezzanine, and its vast, open feel benefits atmospherically from the extra height. And even when you shift your focus to smaller elements, the details work just as well. Consider the delicate tracery of the wrought-iron scrollwork around the mezzanine (which looks pretty and diminishes the possibility of accidentally dropping a fork onto diners below); or the thick rug and collection of mismatched but coordinating furniture that make up a cozy, stylish lounge effect on the north side of the mezzanine; or the bar’s comfortable stools made from reclaimed boxcar wood. In fact, co-owner Pete Wilson based the design of the bar area on a watering hole he loves in Paris; it’s a nice spot for relaxing with a zingy Sicilian Mule or the gin-and-limoncello specialty beverage SS 163, named for a road on the Amalfi coast.

And speaking of southern Italy, that’s where this restaurant’s heart lies – in Naples, and more specifically, with Neapolitan-style pizza. That doesn’t mean they just throw some sliced tomatoes on top of any old pie and call it a day. “All the meats are from Italy,” explains general manager Kathleen Gallagher. “Everything’s very traditional, we use specific ingredients like sea salt and extra virgin olive oil, to be able to say we make it Neapolitan style. It’s a very serious business.”


They also roll with a wood-burning oven imported specially from Italy that generates the characteristic  soft, tender crust with small bubbles of char by cooking at 900 degrees. When a pizza hits the oven floor, it cooks in 90 seconds. The exterior tile is color variable, which doesn’t have any effect on its food, but makes the oven itself even more of a showpiece.

To crown these crusts, diners can choose from among an impressive variety of toppings, in a nice mix of more conventional classics and forays into imagination. If you’re in the mood for an unimpeachable Margherita or Marinara, they can set you up, or you can swerve into the soppressata, Serrano peppers and drizzle of Altus honey of the Bee Sting. I loved the latter, almost as much as the Breakfast of Champions’ blend of ham, egg, fontina and black pepper. “I’ve been really happy to see people being adventurous and falling in love with some of the more unusual ingredients,” Gallagher says.


I also want to recommend one more thing that’s not a pizza (well, two if you count the pistachio cannoli). The namesake Volare sandwich is a delicious mass of shredded beef short ribs mingled with two gooey cheeses – it could be a glorious mess, but the thick, buttery slices of perfectly toasted bread make it simply glorious. And, Gallagher told us, the accompanying crack fries are made from the same potatoes used by In-N-Out Burger.

It’s a pretty excellent menu, much as you’d expect from chef Anthony Compagni, who also runs the show at Benvenuti’s (see p. 52). Combine it with the cool atmosphere, friendly price point and relative dearth of Norman-specific pizza options and it’s totally worth exploring … even if the song does get stuck in your head for a few days afterward. (Not that we’d know anything about that.) I can’t swear that it’ll make your heart soar, but Volare will give your taste buds wings.


I mentioned that the sheer amount of space improves the feel of the interior, but there’s another benefit to occupying a multi-story building: the rooftop patio is a must-see. While an outdoor bar surrounded by comfortable chairs and a perimeter of tables is hardly a new idea, giving it these commanding views in every direction … well, elevates the concept, so to speak. The roof was packed on a cold, wet, altogether nasty day in early December as Bedlam raged nearby – imagine what a genuine pleasure it will be once the mercury starts rising.

 

► Volare

 

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August 2017

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Oklahoma Contemporary
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Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
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Contact Name: Lori Brooks
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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
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Cost: $75-$160

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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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Telephone: 405.478.2250
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OK Hall of Fame Museum
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OKC Museum of Art
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Telephone: 405.236.3100
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This summer, Oklahoma Contemporary is kicking off Showroom|Showcase, a series of installations by local artists in the Showroom, located at 11th and Broadway. Our first featured artist is Rachel...

Cost: Free

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Telephone: 405.604.0042
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Cost: Free

Where:
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OKCMOA’s Roof Terrace gives visitors the ultimate downtown experience every Thursday evening from April through October with live local music, the best views of downtown OKC, a relaxing...

Cost: $5

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Cost: $5 for Non-Members, Free for Members

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Oklahoma City Museum of Art
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Where:
OK Hall of Fame Museum
1400 N Classen
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View map »


Telephone: 405.235.4458
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More information

A suite of new works by local artist Dr. Jim Cobb fills the newly renovated and restored Depot in this colorful exhibition.

Where:
Santa Fe Depot
200 S Jones
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View map »


Telephone: 405.307.9320
Website »

More information

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Chisholm Creek
13230 Pawnee
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301 W Reno
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Telephone: 405.235.3700
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Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

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Where:
Jewel Box Theater
3700 N Walker
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Telephone: 405.521.1786
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415 Couch
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Telephone: 405.236.3100
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300 Park Ave
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Telephone: 405.231.8650
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Cost: $10-12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
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View map »


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Contact Name: Becky Weintz
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Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N. Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Expand your skills and explore your creativity this summer. Enrollment is open for our four- and eight-week classes designed for artists at any level. Under the guidance of experienced instructors,...

Cost: $75-$160

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Oklahoma Contemporary’s second edition of Guerrilla Art Park features six Oklahoma artists, ranging from emerging to well established. This year, many of the artists chose to focus on the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N. Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
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Cost: $15

Where:
All OK River Cruise Landings
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Telephone: 405.702.7755
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More information

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Cost: $35

Where:
Exchange Landing
1503 Exchange Avenue
SW, over the bridge from Farmer's Market
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

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Cost: $25

Where:
The Paramount Theatre
11 N Lee Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73108
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Website »

More information

Going up? This colorful event includes live music, carnival rides, pop-up shops and food, but the main draw is the phalanx of 40 beautiful hot-air balloons.

Where:
Chisholm Creek
13230 Pawnee
OKC, OK  73114
View map »


Website »

More information

A suite of new works by local artist Dr. Jim Cobb fills the newly renovated and restored Depot in this colorful exhibition.

Where:
Santa Fe Depot
200 S Jones
Norman, OK  73069
View map »


Telephone: 405.307.9320
Website »

More information

Married, divorced, remarried to other people ... now a pair of wealthy socialites are thrown into a new old affair in this Coward comedy.

Where:
Myriad Gardens
301 W Reno
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.235.3700
Website »

More information

Play ball! OKC's warriors of the diamond get set to host Omaha.

Where:
Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
2 S Mickey Mantle
OKC, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.218.1000
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

The downtown concert hall keeps pounding out the hits - they're on a country kick lately, but fans of these Texas travelers will hardly mind.

Where:
The Criterion
500 E Sheridan
OKC, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.406.7484
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More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic presents an overview of the artist’s career including around sixty of his oil paintings, stained glass and sculpture. The exhibition...

Cost: $10-12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Contact Name: Becky Weintz
Website »

More information

A joint exhibition of Western portraiture and iconography from Oklahoma Hall of Fame artists Mike Larsen and Harold T. Holden.

Where:
OK Hall of Fame Museum
1400 N Classen
OKC, OK  73106
View map »


Telephone: 405.235.4458
Website »

More information

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Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Christopher Sergel's adaptation of the Harper Lee classic is an engrossing reminder of the importance of doing right in the face of whatever comes.

Where:
Jewel Box Theater
3700 N Walker
OKC, OK  73118
View map »


Telephone: 405.521.1786
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This summer, Oklahoma Contemporary is kicking off Showroom|Showcase, a series of installations by local artists in the Showroom, located at 11th and Broadway. Our first featured artist is Rachel...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N. Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Expand your skills and explore your creativity this summer. Enrollment is open for our four- and eight-week classes designed for artists at any level. Under the guidance of experienced instructors,...

Cost: $75-$160

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Departs Exchange Landing | Saturdays (May  – August) | 11:40 am Experience history as you never have before. Colorful Oklahoma characters will reenact history through the eyes of...

Cost: $6-15

Where:
Exchange Landing
1503 Exchange Avenue
SW, over the bridge from Farmer's Market
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

Oklahoma Contemporary’s second edition of Guerrilla Art Park features six Oklahoma artists, ranging from emerging to well established. This year, many of the artists chose to focus on the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N. Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Saturday cartoons aren’t just for the children anymore. Share the classics with your crew every Saturday on an Oklahoma River Cruise. Kids 6 and under ride free.

Cost: $15 (free for kids 6 and under)

Where:
Exchange Landing
1503 Exchange Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

Shake your groove thing! Rock the boat, but don’t tip the boat over! Disco atmosphere, party mix and adult beverages all are awaiting you - view the ferry schedule online for evening...

Cost: $15

Where:
All OK River Cruise Landings
Oklahoma City, OK  73109


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

TRC presents its 6th annual nighttime black-light race! On-site registration and vendor booths open at 6 p.m., so bring out your friends and family for a great event, with all proceeds going to The...

Cost: $20-$40

Where:
Mitch Park
1501 W Covell Rd
Edmond, OK  73003
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Sponsor: The Recovery Center
Telephone: 405.525.2525
Contact Name: Ky Humble
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The City Cabaret OKC presents group numbers, trios and duets, oh my!

Cost: $25

Where:
The Paramount Theatre
11 N Lee Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73108
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Rockin' vibes with Oklahoma's Adam Miller. NOIR serves craft cocktails, delish food, and brunch after 10:30 p.m. Smoke and Vape-free  

Cost: Free

Where:
Noir bistro & Bar
701 W Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73108
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Going up? This colorful event includes live music, carnival rides, pop-up shops and food, but the main draw is the phalanx of 40 beautiful hot-air balloons.

Where:
Chisholm Creek
13230 Pawnee
OKC, OK  73114
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Play ball! OKC's warriors of the diamond get set to host Omaha.

Where:
Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
2 S Mickey Mantle
OKC, OK  73104
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Telephone: 405.218.1000
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A trip to the amusement park becomes even more tempting with a set from the infectious boy band.

Where:
Frontier City
11501 N I-35 Service
OKC, OK  73131
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Telephone: 405.478.2140
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A joint exhibition of Western portraiture and iconography from Oklahoma Hall of Fame artists Mike Larsen and Harold T. Holden.

Where:
OK Hall of Fame Museum
1400 N Classen
OKC, OK  73106
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Telephone: 405.235.4458
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Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic presents an overview of the artist’s career including around sixty of his oil paintings, stained glass and sculpture. The exhibition...

Cost: $10-12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Telephone: 405.236.3100
Contact Name: Becky Weintz
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Artists, crafters and musicians in multiple genres - all of them female - help demonstrate the crowd-pleasing and inspirational power of creativity, XX-style.

Where:
Automobile Alley
NW 9th and Broadway
OKC, OK  73102
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Telephone: 405.810.6977
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Family aid organization Parent Promise hosts its 21st annual fundraiser, offering auctions, music and fun in a Monopoly-themed evening.

Where:
OKC Golf & Country Club
7000 NW Grand
OKC, OK  73116
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Telephone: 405.232.2500
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Married, divorced, remarried to other people ... now a pair of wealthy socialites are thrown into a new old affair in this Coward comedy.

Where:
Myriad Gardens
301 W Reno
OKC, OK  73102
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Telephone: 405.235.3700
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Christopher Sergel's adaptation of the Harper Lee classic is an engrossing reminder of the importance of doing right in the face of whatever comes.

Where:
Jewel Box Theater
3700 N Walker
OKC, OK  73118
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Telephone: 405.521.1786
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This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
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Telephone: 405.478.2250
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A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
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Telephone: 405.236.3100
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