Stella Ristorante Italiano: It’s a dinner party
A “coming soon” sign went up in the summer of 2021, prompting lots of chatter on social media by members of local foodie groups. In April 2022, Stella opened its doors to enthusiastic crowds. We went on a Tuesday in May. Reservations are highly recommended for the intimate space (the former home to Five Guys burgers), especially for large parties, and even seats at the bar fill up quickly. Italy native and owner Paola Pedrignani sweeps in a bit after 5 p.m., a commanding figure with her boho glam looks and long, flowing locks. A veteran restaurateur from New York City, she immediately greets newcomers and those who already have become regulars. With minimal staff in place, Pedrignani pitches in with service, too. Tables are close to each other, so the seating feels very European; if you don’t know the couple dining next to you when they sit down, you will before they leave. Don’t go looking for a quiet, intimate experience — expect a party instead. There’s a lot of chatter, singing, the occasional banging of pots and pans, and music. But it all seems to work, and the people-watching is excellent. Our waiter was attentive even as he juggled several tables, and he smiled at our lengthy order. We started with the octopus carpaccio, delicate slices simply dressed in EVOO and topped with arugula, pink peppercorns and shaved Parmigiano, and ended with a bowl of gelato that could have fed three people. For the main course, our veal Milanese was a bit on the dry side, but the platters of housemade pasta were worth every carb and calorie. Servings are generous; we recommend spaghetti with shrimp in a creamy lemon sauce and the penne vodka with bits of Italian bacon. Pizzas range from a classic Margherita to those on a “gourmet” menu, which includes pies with shaved truffles. The wine list is almost all Italian with several options by the glass.
Southlake Town Square, 242 State St., 817-912-1588, stellarestaurant.co
More coffee, please
Pax & Beneficia has added a Grapevine location, with a bright and airy shop that includes a coffee roasting room visible to guests. The name translates to “peace and blessings” in Latin, and the Grapevine location feels calm and tranquil. The design is a blend of Scandinavian modern with Middle Eastern touches. Co-founders Mouyyad Abdulhadi and Mamdouh Khayat found the inspiration to create Pax & Beneficia while visiting coffee shops in Norway during a hiking vacation. (There are P&B locations in Las Colinas and Fort Worth, too.) The Grapevine staff is welcoming and friendly; we mistakenly left our wallet at home and were not charged for our coffee or pastry on our first visit. They have a full coffee menu, from cold brews to espresso drinks, and make all their syrups. We like to indulge in the Turkish coffee — the beans are ground with a touch of cardamom — and its traditional presentation service.
3550 Grapevine Mills Blvd. N., paxandbeneficia.com
Carbone and Carbone Vino: Double your pleasure
It’s been awhile since a buzzy, indoor-outdoor restaurant with a New York City pedigree opened in the Dallas Design District, and now there are two. The bright, airy Carbone Vino bookends the casual side of a covered patio that it shares with its more formal sibling, Carbone. Vino is full of simple pleasures such as deck-fired pizzas and fancy Italian wines served as 6-ounce quartinos rather than typical 5-ounce by-the-glass pours. The sophisticated Carbone resides on the opposite side of a leafy privacy wall dividing the patio. Carbone’s menu focuses on high-brow, East Coast Italian food. We adore the bone-in veal Parm and the housemade fresh pastas, especially the spicy rigatoni vodka, another Carbone specialty. You’ll need reservations for Carbone (not Vino), but don’t reach for the phone; neither restaurant has one, which means you reserve through the website or an insider who knows a guy. What’s more New York than that? Open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner only.
1617 Hi Line Drive, Dallas, carbonedallas.com
Hudson House continues its local expansion
Vandelay Hospitality Group’s newest Hudson House restaurant, open in Irving, is light-filled and airy, with a cocktail bar up front, a raw bar in the middle and a shaded patio to the side of the shotgun space. Good choices from the menu of straightforward Americana include fresh oysters with yuzu mignonette, a New England-style lobster roll, a double-stacked cheeseburger and tempura-battered shrimp whose sweet, fiery heat proves irresistible.
5904 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving, 214-217-0055, hudsonhousehp.com
There’s something to satisfy everyone at another new Design District spot. Co-owner Roberto González Alcalá, a Monterrey native, is also the inspiration for the restaurant’s name, and his family owns tortilla company Mission Foods. The cocktail lounge was bustling when we arrived, mostly with men and women dressed to the nines. The menu is a crowd-pleaser, especially if you begin with the sea bass ceviche with pineapple and a jolt of serrano pepper, then move on to the beef filet and bone marrow tacos. The cigar lounge is fabulous, and so are the drinks; try a margarita made with one of the many mezcals from the restaurant’s deep collection.
1401 Turtle Creek Blvd., Dallas, 214-210-5700, themexican.com
Pickleball — and chicken — head to Grapevine
Restaurant/sports bar/sports court Chicken N Pickle is under construction on acreage at the Delaney Vineyards in Grapevine. It will be one of three Texas locations, with the chain’s most recent opening in Grand Prairie. The flagship is in Kansas City, Missouri. The complex includes indoor and outdoor courts with elevated bar food including roast chicken, burgers, salads and more. The craft beer menu will include local brews. Look for a late 2022 opening.
4600 Merlot Ave., Grapevine, chickennpickle.com
Park Village newcomers include West Elm and sweetgreen
Work is underway on the former Fresh Market space along Carroll Avenue to transform the corner location into a West Elm. The 11,337-square-foot store will mark the retailer’s return to Tarrant County after it closed its 4-year-old Fort Worth location in 2021. If you crave a mushroom chimichurri bowl, hot honey chicken with warm quinoa or a kale Caesar salad, sweetgreen will be your go-to, as the fast-casual healthy eating restaurant also is joining the tenant roster. Founded in 2007 by college students looking for a fast-food alternative, sweetgreen made news in May by signing Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka as the first athlete ambassador for the California-based company. Tech-savvy and growth-happy, sweetgreen has more than 200 locations, including in Dallas, plus more than 500 “outposts,” pickup-only locations. Southlake and Fort Worth will be its first addresses in Tarrant County.
Southlake Town Square: Comings and goings
New shops and new locations for existing retailers are in the works. Look for Aerie, a women’s clothing/accessories/intimates/swimwear store by the same company that owns American Eagle. 167 Grand Ave. Brandy Melville, an Italian-based brand, offers trendy looks and accessories for the tween market. 302 Grand Ave. W. Lululemon is remodeling the former Brooks Brothers space in preparation for a summer move from 211 Grand Ave. to 233 Grand Ave.
IN THE WORKS
Cork & Pig Tavern Hopefully, the Shops of Southlake location will be open not long after you receive this magazine. San Angelo native Felipe Armenta and partners John Nestor and Virginia Dalbeck were still putting the finishing touches inside and hiring staff in early May. The original Cork & Pig opened in San Angelo in 2010; the Fort Worth location opened in 2016, but closed four years later. The American grill concept will also feature wood-fired pizzas. The former Herencia location now features a large covered patio (Mesero is its next-door neighbor) and a substantial bar inside.
Shops of Southlake, 1431 E. Southlake Blvd., corkandpig.com
Ferah Tex-Med Kitchen This Tex-Med hybrid from owners Burak and Stephanie Ozcan is also on our “please open soon” wish list. Check out the Garland location if you want a preview taste.
Southlake Town Square, 355 N. Carroll Ave., ferahtexmed.com