Richardson will get a slice of fancy pizza in early 2019 with the arrival of Pizza Americana, a restaurant serving pizza, pasta, salads, and ice cream, opening in January at 800 W. Arapaho Rd.
The restaurant is from Jordan Swim, owner of the catering company Vestals as well as Carlton Provisions, the barbecue restaurant at Legacy Food Hall in Plano he co-owns with Larry Lavine, the founder of Chili's.
Swim lives in Richardson and has observed the strong demand for good, new restaurants. When the space became available, he expressed interest without even knowing exactly what kind of concept he would put there.
"Most people probably know it as the space where Istanbul Palace was, but it used to be a Burger King," he says. "There's a lot of people like me in the neighborhood, young families who've moved into the area and have remodeled our homes and there's nowhere to eat beyond a few mom-and-pops."
It was the expertise of his partner in the venture, J.P. Nguyen, who helped nudge them toward pizza. "He worked for Delfina, the famous San Francisco pizzeria, and had that background," Swim says.
They'll do a hybrid pizza that's like an Americanized version of Neapolitan.
"We want to have the purity of Italian food but with the familiarity of American ingredients," Swim says. "We're not doing a wood-fired oven, we're using a Marsal brick-lined oven that's made in New York; it puts out good pizza, and our staff includes a former manager from Eno's."
Their pies will be about 12 to 13 inches, and they'll proof their dough for 24 hours to give it some personality. They're still working on the details of the menu, but there are some things they know.
"We'll have a rotating board of charcuterie, four salads — probably a Caesar, a chopped, an arugula, maybe a tomato," he says. "We'll have six pies, definitely a Margherita. We don't want the menu to be too long, and you can always make your own."
They'll also feature soft-serve ice cream from a recipe devised by Carlo Gattini, owner of Botolino Gelato, the gelato shop on Greenville Avenue.
"We tried to see if we could sell his regular gelato, but he suggested we do a special soft-serve and he's making the base for us," Swim says. "We liked that it fit with our idea of combining Italian and American influences together."