Mozzarella in Carrozza (Photo by Emily Loving)
Dino Santonicola is a master pizzaiolo and chef. (Photo by Emily Loving)
Vongole al Tegamino (Photo by Emily Loving)
Prosciutto at Partenope Ristorante (Photo by Emily Loving)
Partenope will have a pizza oven. (Photo by Emily Loving)
Downtown Dallas is getting a new Italian restaurant this fall. The authentic southern Italian concept from Dino and Megan Santonicola will open in a historic building at 1901 Main Street, Suite 102. Dino, a master pizzaiolo and chef from Naples, will be cooking up Neapolitan-style pizzas and pastas in the Titche-Goettinger building.
Partenope Ristorante will be the husband and wife team’s first restaurant. Dino discovered his passion for cooking at just 13 years old, while living in the Spanish Quarter of Naples, Italy. After receiving formal training from the Italian Culinary Institute, he perfected his skills by working in restaurants and pizzerias all throughout Naples.
Since then, he’s lived and worked in several cities in the United States, from Seattle to Washington D.C.
In 2011, Dino was named executive chef of Cane Rosso in Dallas. This was the year he also met Megan, who has been a restaurant operations director in Dallas for 20 years. She’s worked for The Green Room, Dragonfly, and later, Cane Rosso where the two met. Four years later, the couple got married in Naples under the city’s namesake and siren, Partenope.
Their new authentic Italian restaurant’s goal is for diners to experience respect for cooking traditions and ingredients.
“Naples has its own style of cuisine with a focus on quality products and simplicity in its dishes,” Dino says.
Traditional street food will be served, such as Pizza Fritta, which is fried pizza stuffed with daily toppings, Mozzareela in Carrozza, a fried mozzarella cheesebread and traditional pastas.
Pastas include Ragu Napoletano with slow cooked tomato ragu, pork and beef and Timbaletto Di Melanzane, which is an eggplant filled bucatini with tomato sauce, mozzarella beef, sausage and boiled egg. There will also be Branzino All’Acqua Pazza with roasted branzino, black olives, tomato and capers, Braciole di Carne and Panna Cotta Limoncello.
A Fiduciary of Associazone Verace Pizza Neapolatana, Dino focuses on Neapolitan-style pizza. The 4,000 square foot restaurant will have a pizza oven that he designed with hand-painted tiles. The oven will be a highlight in an open kitchen that will offer fresh breads daily and homemade pizzas and pastas. Besides Neapolitan, Partenope will offer other styles of pizzas like pizza fritta and focaccia napolitana.
There will also be a full service bar with wine focused on Italian varietals from the Southern Italy region and signature cocktails with an emphasis on aperitivi, as well as twists on classics. The dining room will seat about 100 people.
“The design of the restaurant will be simple and practical with trattoria style dining as inspiration,” Megan says. “Since we are open for lunch and dinner, we’d like this to be a welcoming environment where one can dine for a business lunch yet possibly return with the family for dinner.”
This will be the kind of place you sit down for a meal and take the time to have conversations with family and friends.
“With our 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry as well as Dino’s deep Italian roots, we hope that guests can feel like they’ve been transported to Naples when dining with us,” Megan says.