News You Can Eat
From downtown to Uptown, from Dallas to Plano, March brings a bounty of restaurant news, and nearly all of it is good. That means many openings and only one or two unfortunate closures. Good news first:
Downtown Dallas has more coffee at Cafe Strada, which opened March 1 in the old Stone Street newsstand space. The cafe is modeled after Italian street cafes that sell coffee and gelato. Owners are Naples native Gianpiero Lorenzo and David Pedack, whose prior ventures include Urbino Pizza e Pasta.
Sisu Restaurant and Bar in Uptown Dallas will make the most of its parking lot with a food truck. Sisu co-owner Wade Randolph Hampton and Ruthie's Rolling Cafe owner Ashlee Kleinert will open Uptown Truck Stop on March 19.
Adding to his Mesero-themed empire that includes the original Mr. Mesero on McKinney Avenue and Mesero Miguel on Henderson, Mico Rodriguez is opening the more simplified Mesero at Inwood Village in May.
Lakewood Growler on Mockingbird Lane near Abrams Road is open, with 36 Texas taps from Lakewood Brewing, Franconia, Peticolas and more. The bar also has root beer, cider, kombucha tea and cold-brewed coffee on tap.
At long last, Snuffer’s Restaurant & Bar has reopened its location on Greenville Avenue, with cheddar fries and burgers, plus sweet potato fries, Buffalo chicken sandwich, chips and guacamole, and a sweet potato sundae.
Caribbean-themed Pollo Tropical finally opens its branch in Addison, featuring tostones, fried yucca, sweet plantains, and black beans and rice. Along with Addison, Pollo Tropical will open locations in Houston and San Antonio. The restaurant already has branches in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, as well as Panama, Costa Rica, India, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad.
Mixologist Sean Conner, formerly of Whiskey Cake, will open a pizzeria called Pie 314 — well, actually "P1.E 3.14," but we're calling it Pie 314, because unconventional typography is goofy — in Lewisville in early May.
Chef-restaurateur Nick Badovinus will openTotal Hearth in the Design District at 1617 Irving Blvd. in March 2015. That's a long way off. The restaurant will house two wood-burning grills; one will be dedicated to seafood. Badovinus' portfolio includes two locations of Neighborhood Services, with a third set to open in Addison in mid-2014, and his burger joint Off Site Kitchen.
A second branch of Smoke will open in Plano, in a space that was previously Snuffer's (and before that Tony Roma's and Sfuzzi) at Preston Road and Park Boulevard in Plano. Chef Tim Byres will overhaul his menu and debut a new one at both branches.
Also coming to Plano, a second branch of Dee Lincoln Steak & Burger Bar will open there in April, in the old Nosh space. According to a press release, the Plano menu will offer more burger options plus adult milkshakes.
On the topic of Plano, a handful of restaurants have signed on to open branches at a new complex at Dallas North Tollway and Parker Road. According to a release, the new "West Plano Village" will open in January 2015 with branches of Eatzi's, Pakpao Thai, Princi Italia, Kona Grill and Mi Dia from Scratch.
Abraham Salum appointed a new executive chef overseeing his two restaurants Salum and Komali: Julio Peraza. Peraza graduated from the California Culinary Academy and worked for famous chefs including Kerry Simon. Peraza will put his stamp on new menus coming out in the next few weeks. He replaces short-timer Ian Tate, who will become chef at So & So's.
Cantina Laredo in Lewisville reopened after sustaining water damage in September 2013. Remodeling included improved private dining rooms and an expanded patio.
The upstairs Lounge 31 over Bistro 31 is launching Sunday brunch beginning April 6, from noon to 4 pm. Features include a DIY Bloody Mary bar, Bloody Mary cart service and half-price Champagne. New brunch dishes include duck hash and eggs.
Texas Monthly BBQ editor Daniel Vaughn talked to Joe Riscky, owner of Riscky's BBQ in Fort Worth, in this month's "Pitmaster Interview" column.