3 restaurants serving pizza, pasta and grilled meat in Dallas

When the first Eataly in Texas opens on December 9th, it will be one of the largest gourmet food and drink venues Dallas has ever seen. Eataly in NorthPark Center in Dallas is 46,000 square feet and has three restaurants and a cooking school in the sprawling Italian grocery store.

Pollo Intero is one of many wooden dishes at Terra, a restaurant in Eataly in the NorthPark Center in Dallas.Pollo Intero is one of many wooden dishes at Terra, a restaurant in Eataly in the NorthPark Center in Dallas.(Tom Fox / employee photographer)

The opening of Eataly is one of the most significant local food moments in 2020 – and it would have been any year, even without the coronavirus pandemic that threatens the existence of independent restaurants across the city. The opening of Eataly was not without its challenges: During construction, there was an accidental fire on the construction site that threatened to delay the project. They carried on.

“We were ready to open this store,” says Eataly business partner Alex Saper. “We feel safe and know how to do business at this point during the pandemic. For us, the most important thing is to comply with all local rules and regulations. “

“None of this is easy,” he says. “But it creates jobs at a time when it’s important to create jobs.”

The store will start offering third-party deliveries for orders from La Pizza & Pasta (via UberEats, DoorDash and Caviar) starting December 10th. The delivery and collection of groceries (from Instacart and Mercato) will also start on December 10th.

The Italian grocery store Eataly is preparing to open at the NorthPark Center in Dallas, where a butcher shop like this one awaits diners.

What they’ve built is a store that looks familiar to anyone who’s been to US Eataly locations in New York, Boston, Beverly Hills, Chicago, or Las Vegas – but with a few Texan influences.

In Dallas, the butcher counter will sell raw briskets sourced from local ranches, including A Bar N in Celina.

“I know brisket is a big deal in Texas,” says Saper, “and we’re not going to try making grilled brisket, but we’re going to sell it raw.” Clever.

Freshly made noodles will be on display in the Gastronomia Cooler in Texas' first Eataly on December 9th.Freshly made noodles will be on display in the Gastronomia Cooler in Texas’ first Eataly on December 9th.(Tom Fox / employee photographer)

The 46,000-square-foot store will be under 50% occupancy, and a dedicated “security task force” will ensure guests adhere to the company’s COVID-19 protocols. Across the Italian grocery store, customers can find wine, pizza, paninis, ice cream, and “any salumi you can imagine,” says Saper.

The cooking school is not yet giving face-to-face lessons due to concerns about COVID-19 and will begin with virtual classes first.

Here is a virtual tour of the three restaurants in Eataly.

Terra

Most of the dishes at Eataly Restaurant Terra are prepared by the fireplace and grill.Most of the dishes at Eataly Restaurant Terra are prepared by the fireplace and grill.(Tom Fox / employee photographer)The Rib-Eye Appesa is prepared in the Terra restaurant in Eataly with herbs, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.The Rib-Eye Appesa is prepared in the Terra restaurant in Eataly with herbs, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.(Tom Fox / employee photographer)

Guests can settle in at the NorthPark Center in Terra, the Italian restaurant on the third floor in Eataly. Terra’s food and dining room are centered around the wood grill, and diners are expected to feel “immersed” in the flame-licking food coming out of the kitchen, Saper says.

Though Eataly operates Terra-named restaurants in Boston and Los Angeles, the Dallas restaurant has new menu items not found elsewhere, according to Saper.

The restaurant is suitable for Dallas diners in part because of the meat-oriented menu, he says.

A dish called rib-eye-appesa (which means rib-eye in Italian) is a wagyu tomahawk steak that is grilled and cooked over coals, refined with olive oil and salt, and served with polenta with charred mushrooms and white truffle. Only in Dallas do the chefs make Pollo Intero, a dish that serves two. It’s a three-day-long chicken that’s steamed, smoked, and burned on the stove.

Reservations are required with Terra. Eating indoors and on the terrace is possible. Terra is on the third floor of Eataly.

The pizza and the pasta

La Pizza & La Pasta is located on the second floor of the NorthPark Center in Dallas and offers a wide variety of pizzas and pastas.La Pizza & La Pasta is located on the second floor of the NorthPark Center in Dallas and offers a wide variety of pizzas and pastas.(Tom Fox / employee photographer)

Guests looking to find out about pizza and pasta from Naples, Italy can settle into La Pizza & La Pasta, which feels like a modern osteria.

There are two types of pasta: fresh and dried. And while some diners think fresh is the obvious choice, Saper explains why La Pizza & La Pasta offers the option:

“Fresh pasta is always considered better in the US. That is not the case in Italy, ”he says. “You can’t get the bite you get from dried pasta with fresh pasta.” Eataly’s dried pasta, located in Gragnano, Campania, is dried for 48 hours – longer than most – and holds the sauce better than fresh pasta, says Saper.

For pizzas, there is a wide range of options on the menu such as Norcina (black truffle and mushroom cream) and Margherita Verace (San Marzano tomato sauce with buffalo mozzarella, basil and extra virgin olive oil). The restaurant, called Pizza Pasta for short, will also sell fried pizza, which is made from fried dough with tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh ingredients. Fried pizza is a Naples tradition that isn’t available at most Dallas pizzerias, and Saper says it could be a fun starter for anyone who wants to try it.

He warns: “It’s very, very tasty.”

In a second section of the menu, diners will find Italian dishes with chicken cacciatore, chicken milanese, and beef and pork balls called polpette.

Reservations are required at La Pizza & La Pasta. Eating indoors and on the terrace is possible. Food can also be taken away from December 10th. It’s located on the second floor of Eataly.

The pastaio

Paola Saglietti, chef at Il Pastaio restaurant, makes agnolotti at Eataly, the new Italian gourmet grocery store in the NorthPark Center, which opens on December 9th.Paola Saglietti, chef at Il Pastaio restaurant, makes agnolotti at Eataly, the new Italian gourmet grocery store in the NorthPark Center, which opens on December 9th.(Tom Fox / employee photographer)

While Terra and La Pizza & La Pasta are traditional restaurants, Il Pastaio is a pasta and wine bar at the counter. Customers can order fresh pasta and watch the chefs doing it right in front of them.

Il Pastaio is a pasta and wine bar in Eataly with counter seating so customers can watch the chefs prepare their food.Il Pastaio is a pasta and wine bar in Eataly with counter seating so customers can watch the chefs prepare their food.(Tom Fox / employee photographer)

“It’s a show, it’s a spectacle,” says Saper. “Everything there is authentically Italian, based on a recipe that comes straight from Italy.”

He notes that customers will likely see pasta shapes that you’ve probably never heard of.

“It’s a moment of education and shows our simplicity and authenticity with fresh pasta,” he says.

No reservations possible at Il Pastaio. Only dine indoors; no terrace. Il Pastaio is located on the second floor of Eataly.

Saper says the move from Eataly to Texas is significant as Texans are the second most popular online sales customer after New Yorkers. He is particularly keen to capitalize on the restaurant-obsessed culture in Dallas-Fort Worth.

“There’s a real pride and a real respect for food,” he says of Texans. “When you look across America, it’s hard to find this deep, long-standing culture.”

“[And] As far as we can tell they are very fond of Italian food. “

Eataly opens December 9th at 12:00 noon. Customers are asked to wear masks, avoid unnecessary contact with servers and, if possible, pay cashless.

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter @sblaskovich.

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