A Dallas ghost kitchen has become a permanent restaurant: Thunderbird Pies, the Detroit-style pizza concept from Cane Rosso founder Jay Jerrier, has opened a real-deal brick-and-mortar restaurant in East Dallas at 7328 Gaston Ave. #110, across from the White Rock Lake spillway.
It'll come with an outpost of Cow Tipping Creamery, its sister ice cream shop concept. According to a release, they're opening on August 30.
Thunderbird was a pandemic project, originally conceived as a ghost kitchen that operated out of its sibling Zoli's Pizza in both the Addison and Fort Worth locations.
Detroit-style pizzas are super-thick and square, with melted cheese that runs along the crust, making it very crispy and cheesy. They've become a national trend, one which Jerrier and Zoli's pizzaiolo Lee Hunzinger helped to trailblaze locally.
Hunzinger, who was recently inducted as a member of the World Pizza Champions Team, utilized his downtime during the first few months of the pandemic to perfect a Detroit-style pizza dough and create a menu that features 12 signature pies, available in two sizes — small 8X10-inch or large 10X14-inch — ranging from classic cheese or pepperoni pizza to pizzas with loads of toppings, including a Detroit-style version of Cane Rosso's most popular Honey Bastard pizza with hot soppressata salami, bacon marmalade, and a drizzle of sweet-spicy habanero pepper-infused honey.
In addition to pizza, Thunderbird will include appetizers, sandwiches, and salads developed by the company's culinary officer Jeff Bekavac including the "Thunderburger," with a uniquely Detroit-style approach that includes Wisconsin brick cheese, shredded lettuce, horseradish pickles, and tomato with a unique potato dish called fry dippers: small chip-shaped french fries.
Cow Tipping Creamery will consist of a small ice cream counter setup inside the Thunderbird Pies space, offering soft-serve ice cream with toppings made in house, plus shakes, plus baked goods for take-home. CTC originally debuted as a pop-up within Good 2 Go Taco in East Dallas back in 2016, and has since expanded to Frisco and Fort Worth.
"We still get tons of comments and messages from people saying that they want us back in East Dallas or that Frisco is too far to go for ice cream," Jerrier says in a statement. "I agree that Frisco is freaking far, so you win this round, Facebook commenters!"
Thunderbird and Cow Tipping will be right next door to Cane Rosso White Rock, in the space formerly occupied by craft beer brewery On Rotation, who moved to the Braniff Center.
Jerrier says he felt confident about having two pizza concepts less than 15 feet apart from each other, noting with his trademark humor that "Detroit style pizza is so different from the soggy pizza tortillas that we make at Cane Rosso, we didn't think that we'd be competing with ourselves too much. This is a good spot for casual takeout and delivery, as we're able to reach lots of people in East Dallas, Lakewood, Deep Ellum, downtown, and Knox/Henderson."
"Plus, believe it or not, you can have pizza more than once a week," Jerrier says. "I've been doing it for years, and I'm the picture of health!"
Hours for opening week will be Monday–Friday from 4-10 pm, with a goal to eventually open at 11 am on Saturday-Sunday.