There's a new restaurant coming to North Dallas that combines two favorite cuisines: pizza and Mexican food. Called Nico's MX Pizzeria, it's going into a former Picasso's Pizza spot at 18160 N. Dallas Pkwy., and is set to open in early fall.
Founder Nico Ponce is from Oak Cliff, a popular food & beverage veteran who has worked at restaurants and bars such as Veracruz Cafe Bishop Arts, Five Central Houston, and Snap Kitchen Houston, and who also helped found educational events such as Texas Craft Cocktail Week and the annual Dallas Margarita Meltdown.
The restaurant will be a highly personal endeavor that incorporates Ponce's background as well as his goal to do business in a sustainable manner.
He's a native of Bossier City, Louisiana, whose parents were both in the restaurant industry; his father, Nicky Ponce, was the original founder and owner of Nicky's Mexican Restaurant, a small Louisiana chain.
"I had a lot of influences when I was young," Ponce says. "I love authentic Mexican food and I love pizza. We'd eat chile rellenos and make pizza at home, and I thought it would be really good to combine the two, because that's how I grew up."
One of his staple items will do exactly that: It will be a pizza topped with chile rellenos, one per slice, using salsa verde and Mexican-style cheese. He'll also do a "fajita" pizza, topped with tenderloin of beef.
Another pie will be a cool fusion version of al pastor, the transformation of a taco on a pizza.
The bar program will be fairly simple, with martinis, peach bellinis, bottles of wine, and wine on tap.
"One of my biggest things when I'm traveling is to seek out good grappa," he says. "You don't see a lot of good grappa on Dallas menus, and I'd like to do a category of desserts paired with grappas."
The space is on the Tollway frontage road, right by Frankford, with plenty of visibility and parking, and enough room to install a patio and special to-go area.
"Luckily, I inherited everything inside the building, all the equipment including a deck pizza oven," he says.
Sustainability is a big deal and that includes incorporating a vegan menu.
"I want to make a bigger commitment than just a daily special, and have a vegan menu with all the courses covered - appetizer, salad, entree, pizza, dessert," he says.
"In the past few years, I've learned a lot about eating clean and healthy and about how to cook using different ingredients, like organic flour for the pizzas," he says. "As long as I have this opportunity, I want to use it as a platform to be socially and environmentally responsible, and put that in the food, because in the end, you can really tell the difference."