Chef Victor Villarreal has worked in Fort Worth’s best kitchens.
He’s getting his first spotlight role as the new chef at the local Max’s Wine Dive.
The Houston-based wine-bar chain was a good launching pad for original chef Stefon Rishel. Rishel picked up all kinds of awards and went to a new gig at the Saks Fifth Avenue restaurant in the Houston Galleria.
Villarreal has cooked under chefs at Grace and Clay Pigeon, and lately made a valiant effort to rescue the doomed Sera Dining & Wine.
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He’s serving a transitional corporate spring menu for now, but working on his own summer menu.
“We want to keep a good thing going here,” he said.
Max’s is known for fried chicken and also for the Saturday-Sunday-Monday three-day brunch, planned so anyone who’s away or busy Sunday can still enjoy a leisurely Monday lunch.
He said he added “a few of my dishes, maybe some new vegetables or light items, not as much fried.”
He’s already experimenting with his own French toast. Rishel had become known for the lemon-blueberry or bourbon-pecan variations.
(After all, summer is the season for Parker County peaches.)
Max’s is a good fit, he said: “It’s a little smaller and not as upscale — it’s really more what I am. People come in wearing T-shirts and sandals or in suits. It’s relaxed.”
Ready at Rossa
If there’s anything Southlake doesn’t need, it’s more pizza.
But none of the other Southlake artisan-pizza bars is quite like Taverna Rossa, open in busy Park Village next to Malai Kitchen.
Taverna Rossa, owned by partners who also operate some Palio’s locations, offers a large menu of “stone-fired” pizzas plus salads, pastas and appetizers ranging from roasted artichokes to sausage queso.
A Sunday brunch menu offers biscuits and gravy with Dallas-based Luscher’s sausage, breakfast pizzas and berry-goat cheese “French toast pie.”
On the way
Also open in Southlake: Redrock Canyon Grill, a chain casual grill from the Oklahoma-based company that owns Charleston’s Restaurant in Fort Worth.
It’s in the Kimball Oaks center at 2221 E. Southlake Blvd., No. 140; redrockcanyongrill.com.
Coming soon in Southlake: Another Broken Egg Cafe in Bicentennial Plaza, Chiloso Mexican Bistro in Kimball Oaks, East Hampton Sandwich Co. in Kimball Oaks, Arizona-based Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles in Carroll Pointe, and Thailicious in Southlake Town Square, taking the former Daddy Jack’s space.
Wine walk, or wobble
The Granbury Wine Walk is next week, but tickets are gone for the Sip and Savor VIP tasting.
Chefs Jon Bonnell of Bonnell’s Restaurant in Fort Worth and Gerard Thompson of Rough Creek Lodge lead a roster that also includes familiar Fort Worth chef Phil Greer, long-ago owner of Cactus Flower Cafe and now at Greer’s Ranch Cafe in Stephenville.
Dialing for pie
Let’s try again on Buttermilk Sky Pie Co.
The Knoxville, Tenn.-based pie-and-ice-cream-shop chain opened its first Texas location in Colleyville, and the phone number was wrong here last week.
Call 817-581-7437 to ask about Buttermilk Sky. The bakery served its pecan pie and its “I-40 pie” (chocolate-coconut-pecan) Sunday at a Colleyville fundraiser, City Slickers.
It’s at 4712 Colleyville Blvd. (Texas 26); buttermilkskypie.com.
By the way, the gold standard for pies hereabout, Dallas’ Emporium Pies, now has a McKinney location and will open later this year in Deep Ellum.
The flagship is at 314 N. Bishop Ave., south of Interstate 30 in the Bishop Arts District; emporiumpies.com.