Partenope in downtown Dallas spins off acclaimed pizza & pasta to Richardson
An acclaimed Italian restaurant in downtown Dallas is spinning off a sibling: Partenope Ristorante, the sophisticated mom-and-pop from husband-and-wife Dino and Megan Santonicola, is opening a second location in Richardson, at 110 S. Greenville Ave., joining the revitalized area known as The Core.
The restaurant will go into a space that has been home to a series of mostly Asian restaurants, most recently BBQ King and previously Roti Grill and Pho Huy. It's anticipated to open in early- to mid-2023.
UPDATE 11-7-2023: The restaurant is now open.
The Core is an area that comprises Main Street and downtown Richardson, along with Richardson Heights, Interurban, Lockwood, and Chinatown, and is undergoing major changes that include public art projects, roadway and pedestrian improvements along Main Street and Greenville Avenue, and adaptive reuse projects in Lockwood.
Thomas Glendenning of Shop Companies, who worked with the developer Durkin Enterprises to get Partenope into the space, calls it a major coup.
"We think it's a huge feather in the cap for Richardson, to attract an acclaimed restaurant like this," Glendenning says.
Dino and Megan
opened the first Partenope in the Titche-Goettinger building in downtown Dallas in 2019, with all of the traits that every neighborhood wants: authenticity, doting local ownership, a sense of family, and pizza.
Before they opened, the location was considered a challenge, but they won over the downtown community with their spot-on Neapolitan-style pizza, pasta, and other specialties from Dino, a native of Italy.
Dino, who helped found the Cane Rosso chain, is an accomplished pizzaiolo, and Partenope boasts a Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN) certification, signifying that it meets the standard of true Naples-style pizza. (The only other VPN certified pizzeria in Dallas is 400 Gradi.)
Italian food done Naples style. Photo courtesy of Partenope
Megan says that another location was always something they'd considered, but especially since the pandemic.
"We've received a lot of support in downtown Dallas, but after the pandemic, it's a different ballgame to be a restaurant in the Central Business District, which is so reliant on a business community that has gotten much smaller," she says.
The new location also gives them the invaluable asset desired by everyone in the post-pandemic world: outdoor space.
"Having a patio also adds a little extra seating in Richardson, which will definitely be smaller than Dallas," she says. "We'll probably do a slightly smaller menu, maybe 4 to 5 pastas instead of 8 or 9."
Pasta has been the big surprise at Partenope, running even with their pizzas in popularity, including selections such as Cacio e Pepe, spaghetti alla carbonara with guanciale and egg yolk, and penne pasta with mushrooms, pistachio, & parmesan cream. Who is starving right now?
"When we opened, we thought it would be pizza-centric, but people love our pastas," she says.
They update the menu frequently, rotating in entrees like chicken or their current pork chop, and are hyper-diligent on little touches such as the fact that a simple arugula salad comes with fresh artichoke hearts, not canned. Their wine list is nearly entirely Italian, and they do authentic Italian-themed cocktails such as an Aperol spritz.
They're thrilled about Richardson for another more practical reason. "We love that little building, and it's also about four blocks from where we live," Megan says.