A new fast-casual restaurant called Bolo Italian Grill will take the "Chipotle" style of dining to a place it's never gone before: Italian food. Slated to open in Southlake in mid-December, Bolo comes from Jud Phillips, who has a long and successful track record as a restaurateur in Dallas.
"If you look at what's hot, Chipotle has been the hottest thing in the restaurant business," he says. "I took what they do and 'Italian-ized' it."
Bolo's menu begins with a "bolo," an Italian thin-crust flatbread named after Bologne, Italy, which Phillips describes as an Italian version of a tortilla. It gets filled to customers' specifications with angel hair pasta and choice of meat, vegetables, cheese and house-made sauce. It's sort of like a cross between a burrito and a calzone, except it's like nothing else you've had.
If you're skipping bread, you can do the equivalent of a rice bowl, but with angel hair pasta, choice of protein, vegetables and sauce. Or take the salad route, with greens, protein, vegetables and dressing.
"Proteins" include chicken, crispy chicken, steak, Italian sausage, turkey meatballs, salmon and vegetarian.
Sauces come in hot and cold varieties: Marinara is crushed tomatoes, garlic and basil. Bolognese is spicy tomatoes, ground beef, garlic and chili flakes. Alfredo is cream and Parmigiano Reggiano. The simplest hot sauce is an herbed oil with garlic, olive oil, chili flakes, oregano, parsley and rosemary.
Cold sauces include basil pesto, red wine vinaigrette, balsamic and ranch. There are two dozen vegetable ingredients, four kinds of cheese, plus some sides such as polenta fries and a spinach-artichoke dip.
Phillips has extensive experience as a multi-unit owner of chains such as McDonald's, Quizno's and Pizza Patron. It took him more than a year to find the right location for this first store, at 260 N. Kimball Ave., in what was previously a Planet Burrito, between Southlake Boulevard and Highway 114.
"Uptown, Fort Worth, Frisco — you name it, I looked at it," he says. "But this is a perfect location with great visibility. I wanted to make sure that it didn't fail because of a bad location."
Bolo will use good-quality ingredients, locally sourced whenever possible, with a limited bar of beer and wine that will be sure to include Italian labels.
Phillips, who grew up in the Midwest, loves Italian food.
"The city I grew up in was heavily Italian. I felt like I was Italian without being Italian," he says. "With Bolo, I just wanted to put a modern quick spin on great Italian food."