Regulars at salad bars, themselves, the now-owners of The Salad Stop a few years ago watched their options dwindle in both number and quality. That was enough to inspire them to open their own salad bar in Frisco. But they weren't satisfied with copying the models already out there. They wanted the speed of fast food without the feel of fast food. So, they did some in-depth studying of salad concepts, mixing and matching what they liked while leaving out what they didn't—much like making a salad, in fact. With linen napkins, chilled salad bowls, and healthy, fresh foods, they successfully avoided the pitfalls of ordinary fast food.
Through that success, they were able to further satisfy salad lovers with a second restaurant in Plano. Today, at both restaurants, diners are treated to more than salads, though. Their menu plays host to a hearty combination of housemade soups, loaded baked potatoes, sandwiches, and wraps. They also keep the healthy options abundant with pasta bowls and fruit smoothies, as well as fitness classes taught by lettuce.
Chef Lulzim Rexhepi places a modern twist on his menu of traditional Italian dishes, keeping diners on their toes with tapas-style dishes served alongside pastas, pizzas, and seafood entrees. Prior to taking the reins of the kitchen at Veranda Italian Bistro, Lulzim trained in France and the Culinary Institute of America, sharpened his skills at the three-Michelin-starred Le Moulin de Mougins, and was the co-chef at award-winning modern Thai restaurant Kittichai. Now, at Veranda, he’s shifted his focus back to his roots in Italian cuisine. By offering a gluten-free menu, he also doesn’t exclude anyone from sampling his creations.
When Shane and Susan Shumake of Silverleaf Construction & Design began building a coffeehouse in January of 2010, it was just another project. But somewhere along the way, business became pleasure. They fell in love with the little coffee shop, and their investment switched from professional to personal. So when the shop opened and closed within a matter of five weeks, it was to Shane and Susan’s great dismay. The owner of the floundering business, Shane and Susan’s former client, came to his friends with a question: would they be interested in taking over? The Shumakes didn’t hesitate. Within the month, about as long as it takes a coffee pot to whistle that it’s done, the shop had reopened as Lone Star Coffee Bar. Today, Shane and Susan’s labor of love stands as Lone Star Coffee Bar & Wine Bar. In addition to java, tea, breakfast, and lunch, they recently started serving wine to accompany sit-down dinners and live music. The wine list also reveals the Shumakes' heart for the community, since they devote about half of it to Texan wines.
It’s hard to determine what’s more impressive about Artin’s Grill—the food or the atmosphere. Casually refined, the interior is warm and cozy, with modern artwork hanging on mocha-hued walls and plenty of rich mahogany and glass textures scattered throughout. The unmistakable aroma of wood-grilled steak typically floods the softly lit space, encouraging diners to order a USDA prime fillet, or perhaps a Texas rib eye—both staples of the grill’s dinner menu. And while the classic steakhouse route is hardly regrettable, the chef’s take on comfort food—he adds an Asian twist—is a sure winner. Braised beef short ribs paired with mushroom mac 'n' cheese. Sesame-crusted ahi tuna seared and served over wasabi mashed potatoes. These and other items capture both comfort and elegance in one fell swoop. The Scottish salmon easily won over Mark Stuertz of Dallas Observer, who deemed it “moist and scorched into perfect poise, the smoke acting as a negligee to arouse engagement with the salmon.” And because comfort food is nothing without dessert, the kitchen sates sweet cravings with decadent coconut sesame-bread pudding, drizzled in Malibu rum sauce.