Iconic Dallas spot Sfuzzi reopens on Henderson Avenue this Friday. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Sfuzzi is a neighborhood Italian spot, opening in 2022. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
This & That Hospitality's Brandon Hays and Phil Schanbaum are reopening Sfuzzi. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Sfuzzi is reopening on Henderson Avenue, after closing in Uptown in 2013. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Sfuzzi will feature the signature Original Frozen Sfuzzi cocktail. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Formerly Capitol Pub, the new Sfuzzi space features the same kinds of tables and booths from the original spot on McKinney Avenue. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Sfuzzi menu items include starts like beef carpaccio. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
At Sfuzzi, you can order classic pastas like bolognese or chicken parmesan. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Crispy calamari is another favorite shareable dish at Sfuzzi. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
The bar program features cocktail made with herbs like fresh thyme. This is the Spritz Thyme. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
An old Dallas favorite returns to a new neighborhood this week, bringing plenty of nostalgia and great food with it. Sfuzzi, a neighborhood Italian spot that closed in Uptown in 2013 will have a revival on Henderson Avenue this Friday, March 4.
This & That Hospitality‘s Brandon Hays and Phil Schanbaum (known for spots all over town like Tiny Victories, The Whippersnapper, and Alice), are resurrecting the iconic pizza restaurant and bar. But this isn’t the first time Sfuzzi has been brought back to life.
After original owner Robert Colombo closed the Mckinney Avenue spot (founded in 1987), Hays, Colombo, and Schanbaum teamed up to reopen Sfuzzi in 2009 just down the street. It lasted for four more years in Uptown (closing for reasons out of their control, according to Hays) before popping up again for a brief stint in 2015 on Cedar Springs with a new team that included Matthew Giese and chef Avner Samuel.
Although Hays and Schanbaum have conquered the Dallas bar scene, — Ferris Wheelers, Dibs on Victory, and High Fives are a few more of their concepts — Sfuzzi will be This & That’s first full-service restaurant. “People have been [asking] us about Sfuzzi for a while,” Schanbaum adds.
Since Capitol Pub shuttered in 2019 (due to rent increases), Hays and Schanbaum have been eyeing the space just down the street from The Whip and High Fives. “We like iconic spaces,” Hays says. Sitting empty during the entirety of the pandemic (years 2020 and 2021), the space has finally gotten an inside-out refresh, including the addition of a few memorable pieces of decor from the original Sfuzzi.
Revamped by Wallace Johnson Studios (Sachet, Beverley’s, Alice) with an updated wraparound patio and U-shaped bar, the space also includes the same kinds of chairs and booths from the ’80s era iteration of Sfuzzi, along with a Woodstone wood-burning pizza. “There’s a sense of deja vu, but it’s modernized,” Schanbaum adds.
Compared to the rustic Irish pub vibes that came before in the building, it’s a totally new look. But for the former Sfuzzi owners and patrons, it’s like coming back home.
“90 percent of the original menu is back,” says Schanbaum. Mot Hai Ba chef/owner Peja Kristic has come back on board as consulting chef for the reopening. He ran the kitchen as Executive Corporate Chef for Sfuzzi from 2011 to 2013. Hays and Schanbaum said that when they tested out items on the new Sfuzzi’s menu like the chicken parmesan and lasagna, it was like they were tasting flavors from 10 years ago. “We wanted to bring comfort and nostalgia back to people,” Hays explains. “Especially after Covid.”
The menu features seven pizzas, including breakfast pie and chicken Alfredo. You’ll find pasta like spicy vodka rigatoni and pesto fusilli, along with more classic Italian dishes like pork chop piccata and chicken paillard. Indulge in the filet mignon or sea bass if you’re feeling fancy. A shareable portion of the menu boasts calamari, prosciutto, and beef carpaccio if you need some bites with your cocktails.
Another original Sfuzzi member, former bar back Fernanda “Cubby” Rossano now leads the bar program. Of course, the original frozen Sfuzzi (a frozen peach Bellini) is on the drink menu, but there are also eight new “elevated cocktails,” Rossano says. “We’ll also be cross-using with herbs from the menu.” For example, you can find a tomato shrub and basil in the Off The Vine gin concoction or thyme in the Spritz Thyme. I have my eye on the Espress Yourself (a twist on the Espresso Martini) and Il Mulo — a mixture of rosemary-infused tequila, mezcal, hibiscus, and ginger beer. The Push Pop is also a fun, low ABV cocktail with Napoleon liqueur, vanilla syrup, and Prosecco.
An extensive wine list also offers a good selection of reds, whites, roses, and champagnes by the glass or bottles. And who doesn’t love wine with their pizza?
Although Sfuzzi will be a bit more grown-up than some of This & That’s other concepts, they plan to keep similar hours — the spot will be open until 2 am every night. Brunch will come later on Saturdays and Sundays, and you can expect DJs and more fun programming on weekends. Cheers!