Ristorante Nicola Brings Authentic Taste Of Italy To Dallas' Preston Commons

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New North Texas restaurant to open early March in Dallas' Preston Commons area. Executive Chef Luigi Iannuario creates menu offering handcrafted Italian cuisine in an upscale neighborhood restaurant with dramatic design.

Executive Chef Luigi Iannuario of Ristorante Nicola in Dallas

The real secret to great Italian cuisine is balancing the flavors from fresh ingredients

Ristorante Nicola (pronounced knee-CO-la), a new sister concept to the popular Nicola's Ristorante Italiano in Plano, Texas, will open in early March 2010 at 8111 Preston Commons (near Preston and Northwest Highway). Helmed by Executive Chef Luigi Iannuario, the restaurant offers a wide selection of authentic, handcrafted Italian cuisine in a dramatically designed, upscale neighborhood restaurant.

"With the longtime popularity of Nicola's Ristorante Italiano, we wanted to expand the concept to create something special and distinctive for the neighborhood it serves," said Richard Gussoni, owner and developer of both restaurants. "Under Chef Luigi's guidance, we've developed a fantastic menu comprised of old world recipes handed down through centuries of Italian cookery."

The Ristorante Nicola menu continues in the tradition of its sibling by offering fresh, handmade pasta and sauces, signature Focaccia Nicola baked in a wood-burning oven, and an antipasto display case heaped with Italian cheeses, salumi, marinated vegetables and sweet fruits. An extensive array of appetizers, savory salads, beef, poultry, fish, and vegetarian entrees are available along with an international wine list leaning heavily towards interesting Italian vintages at all price points.

"The real secret to great Italian cuisine is balancing the flavors from fresh ingredients," says Executive Chef Luigi Iannuario. "Our goal is to give our customers delicious meals showcasing the true perfection of combining these ingredients in a beautiful atmosphere that's welcoming and inviting."

Created by Dallas' WaterMark Design Studio, the 7,000-square-foot interior of Ristorante Nicola features hand blown, black Murano glass chandeliers, mesquite herringbone scraped wood floors, elegant gold, hand-block-patterned walls, comfortable high-backed booths, and a sexy u-shaped granite bar. A focal point is the exhibition kitchen in the heart of the restaurant allowing guests an insider's peek at chefs hard at work preparing genuine Italian dishes from scratch. The Milano Room offers private dining for up to 50 guests with built-in audio/visual capabilities, while Nicola Privata accommodates groups of 12 to 20 in an intimate room adjacent to Chef Luigi's open kitchen. An exterior patio called the Loggia swaggers with Venetian-style drapery inspired by Italy's Villa Feltrinelli.

Dinner is served Monday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m. and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Lunch service will begin a few weeks after opening and will be served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday brunch will begin at 10:30 a.m. and dinner will end at 9 p.m. Aperitivo, the Italian tradition of gathering for drinks before dinner, is Monday through Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. and features small, tasty treats from the kitchen in a more civilized version of the American Happy Hour. For more information or to make a reservation, please call (214) 379-1111 or visit http://www.nicoladallas.com.

About Executive Chef Luigi Iannuario
Luigi Iannuario was born and raised in Milano, Italy and attended culinary school in Carlo Porta. While in Europe, he studied under master chefs Gualtiero Marchesi and Alberico Penati and worked for Giorgio Armani at his Emporio Armani Café. He emigrated to the United States in 1999 and worked for a small Italian restaurant called Sambuca in Miami Beach, Florida. From there he moved to Hartford, Connecticut where he served as the Executive Chef at Spris. He returned to Italy to get married, but ultimately decided he missed living stateside so he returned to the U.S. in 2005. Prior to coming to Ristorante Nicola, Iannuario worked for the Bice restaurant group in five locations.

About General Manager Jonn Baudoin
General Manager Jonn Baudoin served in the same capacity at Dallas Fish Market. Prior to that he worked for Craft, located inside the W Hotel, and other locals restaurants including Nikita, Salve and Mi Piacci. Baudoin graduated with an Industrial Design degree from the University of South Louisiana in Lafayette but after working for a few years in that field he realized he missed the restaurant industry and came back to where he belonged.

About Owner and Developer Richard Gussoni
Richard Gussoni is the CEO and founder of Culinaire (http://www.culinaireintl.com), a Dallas-based, privately held food and beverage corporation. It provides high-quality food and beverage service to a diverse collection of accounts including the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN, and North Texas landmarks such as the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, the Music Hall at Fair Park, the Majestic Theatre, the Belo Mansion, Arlington Hall at Lee Park, Aldredge House on Swiss Avenue, and the Fort Worth Zoo as well as dining services in 26 hotels and conference centers nationwide. Additionally, Gussoni owns and operates three freestanding restaurants (Ristorante Nicola, Nicola's Ristorante Italiano and COAST) and is the owner of Frosted Art Bakery & Studio, home to Food Network star Bronwen Weber.

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