We have pizza on the brain this week, with the arrival of a deep dish icon and a "new" pizza with pineapple as a topping. There's chain action too, at Freebirds and Starbucks.
Here's a roundup of the latest restaurant news:
Deep dish is here: Gino's East officially opens in Arlington on May 4, in a former Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill. Meanwhile, a Dallas location has been announced. Owner Doug Guller will open a franchised branch of the Chicago pizzeria near I-35 and Loop 12, at 10310 Lombardy Ln., also in a Bikinis; Guller's company ATX Brands also owns Bikinis. Guller plans to open more branches of Gino's around Dallas-Fort Worth.
Chipotle has its Sofritas, now Freebirds has its Calabacitas. The Austin burrito chain has a new meatless protein option in its Calabacitas, a vegan, Mexican-inspired offering featuring tempeh and vegetables. Summer squash, zucchini, corn, peppers and onions are braised in a blend of spices, including cumin and cilantro, then combined with tempeh, a soy product made through a process of fermenting soybeans, a favorite protein option for those who avoid meat, eggs, dairy or items with gluten.
Calabacitas can be added to all meal formats, from burritos to tacos to bowls to salads.
Pie Five has opened a branch in Lewisville, the 14th in Dallas-Fort Worth, at 4600 S.H. 121. The company is also introducing a new pizza, the Maui Wowwi. It comes on an "artisan thin crust" and is topped with BBQ sauce, ham, bacon, red onion, cilantro and pineapple.
According to a release, the recipe was created by Patty Scheibmeir, VP of R&D and product innovation, who is also the party responsible for creating Pizza Hut's stuffed-crust pizza. That is definitely something for your resume.
Shinsei has remodeled its upstairs lounge and is launching izakaya-inspired service. Small plates crafted by new chef Jeramie Robison will be offered as gratis bites, presented in three creative tastes that change daily. Shinsei's regular appetizer menu and sushi menu will be available as well.
"Much as the izakaya is a foundation of Japanese after-work culture, we see Shinsei's Sakaya Room becoming a staple in Dallas' late afternoon repertoire," say Shinsei proprietors Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing in a release. Izakaya service will take place weeknights from 5-6:30 pm.
Kenichi in Victory Park is debuting a new sushi and sashimi menu by sushi chef Noboru "Sho" Mochido. Selections include carpaccio; a roll with crab and avocado wrapped in soy paper and topped with yellowtail, tuna, salmon and white fish; and tempura shrimp with serranos, topped with spicy tuna and snow crab. A new omakase offers seven courses that change nightly based on the best seasonal offerings.
Clay Pigeon in Fort Worth has a new spring menu, with Texan comfort classics and inspirations from Asia. Dishes include pork belly flatbread with roasted garlic, Gruyere cheese and ramps; quail roulade with choice of potato hash or blue cheese grits; beef tartare with quail egg; and seafood hot pot with jasmine rice.
Vivo 53 will begin serving weekend brunch on May 10, on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to 3 pm. Dishes include frittatas, smoked salmon pizza and cinnamon sugar torta frita with berry jam. Cocktails include mimosas and Bellinis for $1, plus bloody Marys and a "Vesuvius" with blood orange juice, serrano pepper and strawberries.
Yumilicious has a new frozen yogurt flavor: Chamoyada. Co-founder Christian Le calls it "our version of the traditional Mexican chamoy sauce, typically made from pickled fruit and spices," with a flavor that's both sweet and tangy.
Starbucks has a new Frappuccino flavor: S'mores, which sounds pretty desserty. It has layers of marshmallow-infused whipped cream, milk chocolate sauce, graham, coffee, milk and ice. It gets finished with marshmallow whipped cream and a graham cracker crumble. There's an accompanying bottled Frappuccino S'mores flavor, available in single-serve glass bottles at supermarkets.
In addition, Starbucks brings back a customer favorite: Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino. Caramel syrup, coffee, milk and ice are topped with a layer of dark caramel sauce, whipped cream, caramel drizzle and crunchy caramel sugar topping. The two Frappuccino flavors are available through the first week of September.