The latest pizza player of note has opened in Richardson: Pizza Americana, a restaurant serving pizza, pasta, salads, and ice cream, has opened in a former Burger King 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; and J.P. Nguyen, who brought pizza expertise gained from working for Delfina, the famous San Francisco pizzeria.
Their pizza is like an Americanized version of Neapolitan, with varieties ranging from classics like the Margherita to a carne with sausage, pepperoni, chorizo, and brisket.
Beyond pizza, they do a charcuterie board with cured meats, nuts, and dips that many tables ordered; plus salads such as a chopped salad with salami, pistachios, and dried cherries; and an arugula salad with thickly shaved parmesan.
For two pizzas and a salad, it was $38, which compares favorably to other upscale pizza places around town.
We got a pizza with proscuitto, fig and arugula, which had a satisfying back-and-forth between sweet and salty, with the prosciutto cut a little thicker than your usual paper-thin, to provide some chewiness; and the vegan pizza, duh, which had tomato sauce topped with mushroom, onion, and yellow squash sliced into ribbons. Not the best array of vegetables, but it, too, came topped with arugula. Get all the arugula.
The crust was cool: light and edible like a Neapolitan-style crust, with a lightly crunchy shell and an airy, slightly moist center. I tend to like my doughy things a little more moist and chewy in the center, but this will surely suit the majority of Dallas diners who seem to prefer a crisp crust.
Rather than the wood-fired oven found in Neapolitan pizzerias, they use a Marsal brick-lined deck oven made in New York.
Dessert consists of vanilla soft-serve ice cream from Botolino Gelato, the gelato shop on Greenville Avenue, topped with sprinkles and chocolate sauce.
The liquor license is still pending, but there's a beer and wine store 3 miles west on Arapaho, although next time I would choose something other than the Bretts Get It On Funky IPA by Community Beer Co.
The restaurant feels industrial yet warm, with a cement floor, pale blond wood tables, and antique treasures on the wall including vintage signs and an American flag.
The area is primarily residential, and there are few pizzerias or really, restaurants of any kind in the neighborhood, for whom it is undoubtedly a godsend. At 6:30 pm on a Wednesday night, it was packed with families, with a 25-minute wait on delivery of pizza to the table and out-of-control brats racing around and knocking over tables. But praise the baby Jesus, by 7:30 they were all gone, leaving the place to foodie types checking out the latest upscale pie.