Food & Drink

Eats Beat: Olivella’s pizza stands up to competition

The new “Big Formaggi” pizza at Olivella’s.
The new “Big Formaggi” pizza at Olivella’s. Handout photo

Before Cane Rosso, there was Olivella’s.

In 2007, when Salvatore Olivella and Charlie Green partnered to open a “neo pizza” restaurant and wine bar in University Park, artisan and Neapolitan pizza was new here. DFW didn’t know much about it beyond Fireside Pies.

“We do pizzas from a recipe that goes back to the ’20s, but with a crust that’s firm and doesn’t get soggy,” Green said this week, calling about Olivella’s coming Fort Worth location.

“There are a lot of pizza places out there. We serve a lot besides pizza” — including 12 salads — “and we have three kinds of crust, so people can order what they like.”

Olivella’s avoided pizza-heavy suburbs like Southlake and chose a patio location in the Village at Camp Bowie shopping center, replacing a burger grill next to a McAlister’s Deli in a space originally designed for a Tim Love tapas restaurant.

That’s close to regional icons Campisi’s and Mama’s. But Olivella’s pizzas are different. (The thin-crust “metro” style is rare on this side of the market.)

“It’s not easy finding good locations these days,” Green said.

“This space has a terrific patio. We think we’ll give people something different.”

Olivella’s also operates a new pizza truck coming to special events and various locations in Tarrant County before the new location opens near New Year’s.

The flagship Olivella’s is open for lunch and dinner daily at 3406 McFarlin Blvd., University Park, behind Goff’s Hamburgers; 214-528-7070, olivellas.com. Other locations are in Dallas’ Lakewood neighborhood and Victory Park.

More Chang, less cha-ching

Everybody likes Asian restaurants, but do we still like P.F. Chang’s?

After 22 years, the Arizona-based chain has added new menu items to go with the sushi rolls it launched last year, all to escape the stale “China bistro” brand.

P.F. Chang’s now has $9-$12 weekday lunch pairings with its familiar lettuce wraps, but also with Thai chicken satay skewers, crisp lobster-jicama tacos, or a choice of tuna rolls or spring rolls.

The dinner menu includes lobster fried rice and dim sum.

P.F. Chang’s — note the restored initials and connection to California co-founder Philip Chiang — has locations in downtown Fort Worth, Arlington Highlands and Grapevine; pfchangs.com.

Simplifying Sera

Sera Dining & Wine near TCU has changed chefs again, assigning former Clay Pigeon chef Victor Villarreal to “simplify” the too-pretentious menu.

Diners in the Park Hill neighborhood want a good glass of wine and a few clever dishes in a neighborhood bistro, not elaborate cuisine.

Villarreal comes from the kitchens at Grace and Clay Pigeon, two of the city’s best.

Sera is open for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays at 2418 Forest Park Blvd., 817-927-7372; seradiningandwine.com.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @EatsBeat. His column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com.

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