Two unique new Italian restaurants in Dallas are both doing well enough to merit expansion, and both are headed to the 'burbs for their second acts.
Roman Cucina, the California-bred Italian-American restaurant that opened its first Texas branch in North Dallas in 2013, is heading north: A second location will open at 201 E. Bethany Rd. in Allen this September. Co-owner David Roman will open this second Dallas-area outpost with his brother Giovanni and their brother-in-law Jonny Walla.
Roman Cucina's Allen location is much larger, which allows them to expand their offerings and build a banquet room for private parties.
Roman Cucina's recipes are inspired by the Romans' Italian grandmother, including meatballs; steak Milanese; and pasta Tombrello, a twist on Bolognese with ground Italian sausage and mushrooms. The menu also features Italian-American classics such as chicken Parmigiana, Italian sausage and calamari.
The new Allen location, which formerly housed sushi restaurant Hibachi Rock, is much larger than North Dallas, which allows them to expand their offerings and build a banquet room for private parties.
"The menu will be the same, but we'll also have pizzas and calzones in Allen," Roman says. "It came down to the size of the building and the kitchen. We didn't have room for ovens in North Dallas. The kitchen at Allen is triple the size."
They'll install a traditional deck oven, like they have at three of the California branches. "We take a home-style approach, nothing too fancy, just simple food, but we do it really well," Roman says.
Arezza serves pastas, panini and unique wraps called "padeenas." A padeena is an Americanized version of the word piada or piadina; it's like a wrap. Padeena sandwiches are served all day, with different fillings for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Manager Trish Sellers says that the Southlake branch will be open in about four weeks, and they're taking advantage of the pizza oven that Aleda's left behind.
"The menu will be the same, but we're putting in pizza," she says. "We'll test it out there and then maybe bring it to Addison too."
They may not stop at Southlake, she says. "I think we've talked about going into Plano or Coppell too."