Veteran Dallas restaurateur Yaser Khalaf is opening a new restaurant that specializes in a pandemic favorite: pizza. Called Mondo Pizza, it's a fresh, worldly take on pizza that's opening at 4436 Lemmon Ave., in a former Snap Kitchen.
Khalaf is probably best known around town for Middle Eastern restaurants such as Baboush and Souk Moroccan Bistro, but diners who've been around for more than a few years will recognize that this is not his first spin at pizza.
"A long time ago, I opened LA Gourmet Pizza on McKinney Avenue, and when I still lived in Kentucky before moving to Dallas, I owned a lot of pizzerias," Khalaf says. "This, I decided to do for fun. It's just a small project, designed for COVID times, focused on delivery, but with a twist to it."
The twist is to do pizza with his international perspective, from his birthplace in Kuwait to his travels throughout the Middle East and Europe.
"'Mondo' means world," he says. "Italian is one of my favorite cuisines, but I put my influence on it with my favorite foods."
The menu has 5 veggie pizza options and seven with meat, and it's an intriguing assortment, ranging from classics such as margarita to more creative pies:
- Burrata & Pickled Pear with herbed goat cheese & basil pesto
- Avocado Toast with ricotta salata cheese, burrito, pistachios, lemon zest, arugula, & grape tomatoes
- Maverick with ground lamb & fennel sausage, pepperoni, & soppressata
- Philly Steak with Boursin cream sauce, shaved ribeye, onions mushrooms, bell pepper, & garlic
- Chicken Tikka with spicy tikka sauce
- Chicken Shawarma, with sumac & herb grilled chicken, goat cheese, and a saffron-garlic cream
- Mt. Gyro, with shaved lamb and beef gyro meat, feta cheese, tzatziki crema, capers, arugula, and kalamata olives
There are two salads, Greek and Caesar; garlic bread and cheesy bread; and a limoncello cake for dessert.
He expects to open Mondo in early February, although he has many irons in the fire these days, overseeing multiple concepts including Baboushi now open at the AT&T Discovery District; Darna Euro-Mediterranean Market coming soon to Plano's Legacy West; and a food hall in Denver.
Even Mondo won't just be a simple pizzeria. That would not be enough for the restless overachieving Khalaf.
"It'll have two kitchens, including a ghost kitchen where we can incubate some concepts that we can deliver and offer to-go, maybe tacos, we're going to have fun with it, like a secret to-go kitchen," he says.