Imagine walking down a narrow, cobblestone street in a small, off the path town in Italy. You are enjoying all of the sights this experience has to offer, including men playing cards under a tree, women visiting with one another as they hang their laundry and kids playing outside with their friends. Then, it happens! You smell the aroma before you see it. It is a combination of wonderful scents that waft around the corner and you cannot wait to find the source. At last, you see a small, family-operated food cart parked on the corner, dishing out something wonderful. Here, fresh vegetables and herbs harvested straight from a local garden, paired with hand-crafted, cured meats and delectable homemade cheeses are expertly combined into something fresh, fast and convenient.
If this kind of food experience sounds inviting and like something you would love to learn more about … keep reading! After visiting Italy several years ago, a couple of business entrepreneurs ran across this same scenario: fresh food being prepared and served to locals and visitors from food carts and corner markets scattered throughout the streets of Italy. The perfect combination of charm this offered, the ingredients used and the quick service inspired them to begin thinking about how they could take those same ideas and create something similar in the U.S. The visit began as only a trip to Italy, but it soon sparked an obsession, an inspiration and a mission to bring the idea of Italian street food to Americans. What began as an idea scribbled on the back of a napkin during a visit to Rimini, Italy, is now Piada Italian Street Food, located right here in Frisco.
Located at 3301 Preston Road, this “design your own” Italian food restaurant opened in November as the third location in Texas (the first in the Dallas/Fort Worth area). The Piada Italian Street Food mission is to create fresh, modern Italian food focused on the preparation of high-quality ingredients and attention to simplistic cooking. Today’s consumers are looking for healthier, better quality food with convenient, fast delivery to accommodate their hectic lifestyles. Piada Italian Street Food was created with the belief that you do not have to sacrifice quality and flavor for speed and value.
When you enter Piada’s, the first thing you notice is the open-air feel. You can see the chefs working and preparing the delicious ingredients that await you. The open kitchen design invites you to share in the experience as the chef crafts your meal. After grabbing a menu, there is ample space to sit and peruse the offerings before deciding on what you would like to eat. A friendly chef is available to join you to answer any questions, as well as explain different menu items. Main items are freshly made piadas (keep reading for more on what exactly a “piada” is), pasta bowls with angel hair pasta, topped with house-made sauces and your choice of toppings and chopped salads, tossed with house-made dressings. There are also traditional sides and add-ons. The beauty of this restaurant is variation. If you like the way a dish comes straight from the menu, great! If you do not, that is fine, too!
The chefs will make your meal just the way you like it. It is fresh, easy and quick. Every Piada Italian Street Food restaurant is run by a chef, not a manager, who will personally greet you as you step up to the stone. They are passionate about food and love sharing their knowledge with others. The chefs know that great food starts with a few simple, fresh ingredients. The magic is knowing how to bring the best flavors to life.
“What is a piada?” you ask. A piada is a wrap, baked on a large stone grill and then hand-rolled with fresh ingredients. The chef utilizes the stone grill in creating this wrap (think of a cross between a tortilla and a crepe) right in front of you. The result is a blistering hot and fresh wrap, with the perfect amount of olive oil brushed on top. You can choose a piada from the menu or you can create your own, adding your favorite Italian ingredients.
On our first visit, we wanted to try the buzzed about and popular items, as well as venture out and create a little something of our own. Who can pass up a classic? The tomato basil soup was warm and filling, with a nice hint of garlic. The soup paired nicely with the quinoa salad, a fresh offering mixed with sweet and spicy peppers, mint, zested lemon and golden raisins, with a lemon basil dressing. Yum!
Being the rebel I am, I wanted to create my own piada. The combinations on the menu sounded wonderful. Offerings included calamari with hot peppers and a freshly made spicy diavolo sauce, steak with shaved parmesan and crispy chicken with a spicy Tuscan dressing. With so many options right at my fingertips, who can blame me for wanting to make it according to my own style? Because of all the toppings, dressings, sauces and cheeses, you could create a different piada every single day for weeks and never have a repeat item!
Another party at my table ordered the pasta bowl. It consisted of angel hair pasta, tossed with the perfect amount of fresh, house-made sauce and a huge meatball on top! Again, you can order the pasta straight off the menu or create your own variation. Portion sizes are generous and ingredients are combined to perfection. Two of our favorite items had to be the piada sticks and the cannoli chips. A piada stick is the closest thig you will find to pizza here. It is made of baked piada dough with pepperoni or Parmigiano Reggiano, then hand-rolled. It is served hot and steamy with a side of creamy parmesan dipping sauce. The cannoli chips provide the perfect last bites to your meal. Presented in a brown paper sack, these crispy, rolled Italian cookies are lightly tossed in powdered sugar and served with a chocolate chip cream icing. What a tasty little treat!
At this uique, new destination, you can enjoy your food in the spacious dining room, outside on the patio or while on the run. Along with traditional tea and sodas, an Italian tea and soda bar is available, as well. The décor is simple and clean and provides the perfect setting for parties of all ages. Families with small children will love the “no muss, no fuss” design, high school and college kids will love the convenient location for carb loading before a big game and parents and grandparents will love the affordable prices.
In addition to the dine-in experience, Piada Italian Street Food makes it easy to call in or place your order online. The restaurant also offers a catering menu, so call to plan the perfect meal for your next meeting or event. For those of us who are always on the go, or who are interested in earning rewards, there is even a Piada Italian Street Food app that allows you to earn $5 in rewards for every $50 you spend, and $3 for every friend you recommend (when they make their first purchase). Give Piada Italian Street Food a try. It has traditional Italian food that is made fast and fresh! You might just forget you are not dining out in Italy!