This week was randomly busy and highly temperamental. Productive yet unpredictable. It involved three confirmed tornadoes, a 5am workout, a failed family meeting with a fall out in vacation plans, car maintenance which is just boring to deal with, studying color schemes for a bridal shower that I’m in charge of hosting, and a day off that wasn’t even a day off. Ever had this happen to you?
Needless to say, when Friday evening came around, I was excited to be able to sit down and kick back with my guy, a cold beer, and damn good food.
I leave it up to him to make the choices on where we eat. I’m aware of how fickle I can be when it comes to difficult decisions such as picking a restaurant. I told him, “I don’t even care if we go to Whataburger. I just want to dress up and spend my evening with you.”
This prompted him to look for restaurants in our local area of Southlake, TX. We’ve been to many restaurants in and around there which has made us picky on where to eat. We overdid tacos this week, weren’t quite in the mood for cold rolls of sushi, wanted something more rewarding than salads and sandwiches, and we wanted a place where we weren’t going to feel rushed to drink our beers.
My guy did a google search of sit-down eateries and the top result was Taverna Rossa, a craft pizza and beer restaurant that has almost five stars on Google and Facebook. Good enough for me!
Usually, I counteract his suggestions with mine (though I never make the final say because I can never decide) but I was too tired and hungry to do so. And I mean really, what else could beat pizza and beer on a Friday night?
On the main street that shares Southlake Town Square and Central Market, Taverna Rossa is located in Park Village right off the corner of Carroll Ave. and Southlake Blvd. It’s tucked behind a popular sushi restaurant that faces the busy intersection. From the intersection, you can see the prominent architecture of the plaza that makes it unique from everything else that surrounds the area. The plaza itself is designed with an open-space concept with lots of patios and walking space. A water fountain offers seating around it and restaurants neighbor retail stores all around, all this making it a favored go-to area for dining options.
We arrived at the prime time of 6 p.m. just in time for the dinner rush. Our wait time was quoted to be thirty minutes. My friend named impatience usually chimes in and would recommend that we go eat somewhere else with less of a wait. But being too tired and hungry to keep walking around, I sat down and stuck around. And I’m sure glad I did!
Our wait time felt much quicker, thought it was almost forty minutes until we were sat. The ambiance of the whole entire corner that Taverna Rossa is built in is abundant with life. Many families were out and about this particular evening. The spring air was warm and sunny and vibrant in blue and green hues-the reward of tornadic weather. Toddlers were enjoying the splashing of their wee hands in the fountain, moms were catching up with one another, husbands were tending to the kids who were playing tag, and couples of many ages were adoring one another with romantic gestures. The crowd was a merge of those were fresh out of work, fresh out of the gym, or freshened up for a night out. The common affair that brought everyone out together was to have a good meal and drink and from the observational fact that people were waiting an hour to get into this restaurant, Taverna Rossa was the five-star option to get both of those.
Upon being sat, I was taken in by the industrial, rustic look that decorates the atmosphere as comfortable yet trendy, casually romantic, family friendly, and lax. It will make you want to kick back for a cold one and enjoy the breeze coming in through the open doors.
The round tables and booths were all family-style and merged kindly with the bar area while keeping the ambiance consistent. Our tables were served with wooden carriers filled with crushed red pepper flakes, grated parmesan cheese, and mason jars separating the forks and knives.
The kitchen was wide open for all to see the cooks and the servers in their groove and proudly making noise while crafting the art of pizza-making. The loft gently hung over the booths, providing them seclusion while keeping the room spacious and free-spirited.
The bar was vibrant with choices of unique liquors and wines and the lights all around emphasized the modern rustic look that’s so Texas these days.
We were just in time for happy hour which ended at 7 p.m. Our waitress greeted us with a friendly smile and vibrant personality. With a pep in her step and a bubbly attitude, we knew that we would be taken care of during our time there. My guy and I quickly put in our order for drinks-a Shiner for him and a Dos Equis for me, only served in glass bottles but poured for you in a cold pint glass. Taps are served for the craft options. They also offer a variety of classic cocktails with their own house-made twists and a wine collection of reds, whites, and sparklings.
And, their bourbon & whiskey menu. *slightly faint* My goodness, the bourbon & whiskey menu was a galore of favorites from American-made to world favorites. If I didn’t have to be up for work the next morning, I would have indulged in a good glass of that grain.
As we sipped on our lagers, we put in our appetizer order of the Stuffed Goat Cheese Mushrooms. It took a few long minutes to get served to our table due to the crowd they had but boy, was it worth it. The presentation reminded me of a picnic-style food I would serve at a cocktail party. It was elegant in taste yet presented as a comfort food to pass around and share.
Five little mushrooms were plated in a little, orange casserole dish set on a wooden serving tray. They were stuffed with goat cheese and bits of sausage, sprinkled with breadcrumbs, and drowned in a creamy, cheesy sauce. Now, I don’t know my breads very well so I’m not sure if it was toasted brioche bread or french bread that was buttered up and paired on the side but whatever bread it was, it was the most perfect and tastiest addition to savor not just the mushrooms, but every last bit of the sauce as well. We licked that dish clean until the sauce around the corner of our lips was the last of it left.
We continued to relax over our beers and eyed the menu until we were ready to put in our next order for the main entree-P I Z Z A. They also offer pastas, salads, and sandwiches. But we opted for the pizza to better pair our beers with. We ordered a combination that was familiar to our taste buds, the All-American, which was a mixture of meats, fontina, and mozzarella cheese.
Their pizzas are made on 13-inch thin crusts and their gluten-free options are made on 10-inch crusts. They cut it up into eight slices and unless your stomach is trained to eat a pizza all to yourself, this pizza was a filling option for two people.
It was easy to serve, not too messy in your hands, but packed full of cheesy marinara goodness. Each slice had a personality of its own-one would have more cheese than the other, one would have more crust, one would have more pepperoni or sausage, but each had a variety of relishing flavors that was more prominent than the slice before. It satisfied our taste buds and made our tummies fat and happy. Next time we visit, I want to get a bit more experimental and try a spicier option, like their Spicy Pig.
We enjoyed another round of beers before closing out our check. By that time, the party crowd started to gather in. Taverna Rossa also is a host for local music on the weekends and they had a band getting set up for a 9:30 performance this particular night. The dinner rush was over by then and the drinking class started rounding the tables to get settled in for a night of community, entertainment, drinks, and damn good food.
I really wish I could have stayed to listen to the band but being the loser I am and working on my weekends, my curfew was nearing. But my dinner far exceeded my expectations for a Friday night in Southlake, TX.
You might have read to this point and wonder why a girl went through all the trouble to write a two thousand word essay on a pizza she ordered and a beer she drank. Well, when you live in a city (a state for that fact) that thrives off the entertainment business, including restaurants and bars, it’s quite exciting to find one that stands out among the many options that overwhelm you down every street you drive.
It’s like being on American Idol. There are so many people out there that know how to sing and how to entertain and how to play that part but when you find that one person who has that “it” factor, that star power, that Hollywood voice and personality, you realize their potential and want to support them as much as you can until they make it.
This is why I added this new feature to my blog so I can continue to discover new potentials out there that stand out among the many generic options we have to live with.
I like Taverna Rossa not only for their party-friendly ambiance or their damn good food or reasonably priced happy hour, but also because they support TX based ingredients and flavors. As a foodie, this is something I advocate for in every one of my meals-to eat homegrown and to support your locals. It even says on their bio page, “Settle for nothing less than handmade goodness and hometown flavors” from their taps to their toppings.
Thank you, Taverna Rossa, for doing just that. It’s why it was so easy to feel comfortable and at home shoving a pizza in my face with no shame.
So if you’re needing a place to wine and dine your date or just kickback with your fam and friends, this is the place to go! My birthday is coming up soon and this is my top pick to go celebrate with my friends because really, what else could beat a pizza and beer on any day or occasion? Try them out!
PSA: If you drink, be responsible about your limits and if you exceed them, be smart enough to get a ride home.
Eat, drink, and be merry always,
*I will be doing more food reviews like this. It also gives me inspiration to recreate dishes, drinks, and flavors I really enjoyed. If you have a place that you highly recommend, tell it to me by leaving a comment on here or my IG @thebluesandgreens *