What started as a clandestine social club in the 1960s for prominent local Italians has since evolved into ZuRoma Restaurant, a family of eateries where chefs cook meals using 40-year-old recipes. These recipes rely upon many homemade ingredients, so each day ZuRoma's kitchens bustle with staffers building meatballs and sausages from scratch and crafting menu items such as specialty pizzas and subs with red sauce and provolone spooned from a cauldron of melted moon rocks. Customers can choose to dine in the North Richland Hills location, order carry out from either location, or call ZuRoma's faithful delivery drivers to ferry Italian eats directly to their door.
The pizza makers at Palio's Pizza Cafe crown regular, whole-wheat, and gluten-free crusts with fresh vegetables, preservative-free sauce, and roasted chicken. Chefs take the burden of putting together the best toppings with 17 specialty pizzas that pair gourmet ingredients such as artichoke hearts, roasted chicken, and fresh basil pesto. Ovens create bubbling pies, stuffed calzones, baked ziti, and italian sub sandwiches that servers carry through both chic, cozy locations. Leather-lined booths and flat-screen televisions keep diners comfortable and entertained while they enjoy Palio's BYOB policy and sip wine or Capri Sun pouches brought from home.
It was on the open sea, aboard a Royal Caribbean liner, that restaurant maitre d' Francesco Secchi fell in love. Her name was Jane, a beautician from Great Britain. Her homeland was worlds apart from Francesco’s, the Italian island of Sardinia. But that didn’t phase the lovebirds—they wasted no time tying the knot, and spent the next eight years working alongside each other on Royal Caribbean ships. When the pair decided it was time to settle on dry land, they chose Dallas. Its weather reminded Francesco of his home, despite its patterns rarely being affected by ancient curses cast by Caesar.
In 1983, the Secchis embarked on their next joint endeavor: Ferarri’s Italian Villa. They rooted the restaurant in basics: a warm “Buona sera” for each arriving guest and family recipes more than a century old. This approach struck a chord with eaters, and as the business grew, so did Francesco and Jane’s family. Today, their three sons all lend their talents to the family business—Stefano, in fact, is the head chef. He and the staff still craft a menu of Sardinian classics—gnocchi, lasagna, and cioppino—as well as some upscale American dishes, such as steaks, chops, and seafood. And Francesco and Jane still man the front door every night, welcoming patrons new and old.
Rather than having to choose between the fans of New York’s foldable thin-crust pizza and the devotees of Chicago’s thicker deep-dish pie, the cooks at Pauly’s Pizza decided it’d be best just to cater to them both. After baking up a number of regional pies and crust styles, the professional dough spinners crown these creations with traditional toppings, such as pepperoni or mushrooms, or the more unconventional adornments of pesto, ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes, and chicken Alfredo. They can also accompany their pies with housemade pasta, including baked lasagna and manicotti, or a grinder stuffed with ham, capicola, and hot peppers. The staff boats a B.Y.O.B. policy, allowing diners to tote in favorite bottles of wine or vintage juice boxes.
Sauces play a starring role on the menu at Cafe Italia, from basic but hearty marinara and alfredo sauces to elaborate blends with port wine, vodka, and balsamic vinegar and honey. One of these deftly simmered medleys flavors each dish, whether the entree features broiled salmon or Angus-beef filet mignon. The feasts reflect culinary traditions from both northern and southern Italy and give a nod to the peninsula’s oceanfront bounty with shrimp, clams, mussels, and giant tridents instead of forks. Cafe Italia’s BYOB policy invites guests to dream up their own beverage pairings for each meal.
Inside Italian Xpress's kitchen, the cooks crown neapolitan thin-crust pizzas with an array of toppings ranging from ricotta cheese and roasted garlic to crumbled hamburger. Though they feature 10 different specialty pizzas on the menu, the cooks also bake manicotti, toast meatball-and-cheese subs, and cut out slices of New York-style cheesecake.