Risky Italian Business
Hope springs eternal in far northeast Richardson at the Shire, the Dale Wamstad-owned strip center at the southwest corner of Jupiter Road and George Bush Turnpike. The latest exhibit: Apollonia's Italian Kitchen, opening this week in the space vacated by Scalini's Pizza and Pasta, which closed last October.
You gotta hand it to the Shire, which is anchored by a Silver Fox steakhouse. It can't seem to keep tenants in business for very long, as a parade of concepts has come in and out. Even Wamstad's own well-funded offerings — Four Sisters Cafe
and its follow-up, Casa Cha Cha — have failed. And yet that doesn't seem to stop new tenants from thinking they'll have better luck.
But Apollonia's owner Bruce Marco feels confident about his food and the prospects of the neighborhood.
"These are my mother's recipes," he says. "We're from South Jersey, but my ancestors are from Italy. It's 100 percent Southern-style Italian with family recipes. We're doing lasagna, homemade meatballs, pappardelle with cheese, chicken Parm sandwich, sausage and peppers with cavatelli pasta, linguine with clams, and Italian wedding soup."
Apollonia's will also do a thin-crust New York-style pizza, offered as a whole pie or by the slice.
Marco studied hotel and restaurant management in college and moved to Dallas in the mid-'80s. He worked in the restaurant industry, then took a break and got into real estate. But Wamstad and his mother had a mutual friend, and Wamstad suggested they give it a try.
"Now my mother has this opportunity to get back into it, and she wanted me to play a part," Marco says.