Chef Nordeen Bennai believes in the value of homemade food. During his childhood growing up in a traditional bakery, the chef learned that people will come when the food is good and the price is right. From the kitchen at the Korner Cafe, Chef Bennai whips up breakfasts, lunches, and dinners in savory and sweet permutations, such as homemade rum raisin bread pudding, coconut shrimp, and grits with gruyere cheese stirred right in. In the caf?, guests can gaze through the windows and across the street to the high school in Lewisville, or make room under their tables to harbor fugitives from English class.
Frieda and Nick, along with the rest of the family at Nick's Pizza & Pasta, have been tossing dough, stuffing subs, and twirling pasta since 1995. Thanks to its menu of classic Italian comfort food, friendly atmosphere, and BYOB policy, the family has garnered a slew of return visitors who can't get enough of the hearty portions and fresh flavors. In addition to traditional pies, the cooks prepare Sicilian deep-dish pizzas, both of which can be topped with traditional marinara or tasty twists such as alfredo sauce or ricotta and spinach. They also stuff more than 10 specialty hot subs and plate traditional entrees, including veal parmigiana and baked ziti. From the first forkful of antipasti to the last bite of Amaretto cheesecake, meals at Nick's make lunch and dinner memorable.
Vinine's may have found itself a comfortable spot in the heart of Texas, but its roots come from farther away—its founders moved here from Pennsylvania almost a decade ago. That may explain why the menu, full of Italian dinner classics, also harbors a few shout-outs to its East Coast roots. Perhaps that's most evident in the chef's pizzas. Beyond classic margherita or pepperoni pizzas, chefs top their pies with Philly steak tossed with green peppers and onions and compose their New Yorker with grated parmesan, olive oil, and basil. But the dishes here go beyond slices with meals as varied as shrimp and crab in a white cream sauce and housemade pastas, which honor Italian culinary traditions without dying anything green, white, and red.
When they aren't preparing rustic Italian eats, the chefs at This Side of Rome are busy tossing each New York–style pizza crust by hand. Their baskets of fried calamari and stuffed mushrooms pave the way for subs stuffed with ham, salami, and provolone. Inside the 60-seat dining room, guests gobble up slices of tiramisu while sipping on BYOB drinks. They can also nosh at home by opting for take-out or luring delivery drivers with a trail of parmesan cheese. Thursday through Saturday, guests can also enjoy southern comfort chef specials.
Village Grill slings hearty plates of Tex-Mex, Italian, and American recipes in a large, contemporary dining space. Recipes inspired by Cozumel and Monterey envelop enchiladas, quesadillas, and chicken breasts in cornhusks, adobo sauce, and pico de gallo. Center-cut pork chops and thick-cut steaks sizzle in skillets with merlot, white wine, and Jack Daniel's sauces before waiters ferry plates to cozy café tables amid red, green, and yellow walls dappled with murals and black-and-white photography. Village Grill also caters celebrations with platters of layered fruit or stacks of ribs, and memorable items such as watermelons carved with snappy phrases or annotated translations of War and Peace.
Michael Salerno celebrates the rich flavors of Italian food with recipes culled from the books of his beloved grandmother, Carmela, using never-frozen ingredients to create delicious steaks, seafood dishes, pastas, and salads. His restaurant’s softly lit dining space recalls a family dining room, replete with flowery wallpaper, old framed photographs, and relatives who don’t remember how old you are. Diners gather at the main rooms’ tables or in high-backed booths for generous helpings of pasta, which bear ladlefuls of thick, savory sauce and juicy house-made meatballs, or break bread in the spacious banquet hall.