By June Naylor
In the wide swath of territory reaching from Keller and North Richland Hills east to Southlake, Grapevine and Colleyville and points beyond, chain and fast-casual restaurants rule. So we salute the entrepreneurs who understood that their friends and neighbors deserve food made with distinctive ingredients and a familiar face in the kitchen. Following the lead of The Classic
at Roanoke, a mainstay since 1993, a number of indie favorites have opened in the past decade.
Il Calabrese Chef-owner Luciano Salvadore makes weeknight dinners a special occasion. Starters include aged cheeses with salumi, honeycomb, olive tapenade and walnut crostini. Chase that with bucatini with shellfish or bourbon-braised osso buco on Gorgonzola polenta. 1281 E. Texas 114, Southlake, 817-251-8798, ilcalabrese.com.
DeVivo Bros. Eatery Siblings John and Ralph DeVivo serve carefully prepared casual fare: roasted airline chicken with grapes and thyme, flat iron steak, and linguine with shrimp and pesto. Breakfast is an event, and baked goods alone — Italian cream cake to banana pudding — are worth the trip. 750 S. Main St., Keller, 817-431-6890, devivobroseatery.com.
FnG Eats Chefs Carlos Arevalo and Bob Stephenson serve upscale food in a come-as-you-are setting. Dine on smoked brisket cottage pie; mac and cheese loaded with Maine lobster, wild mushrooms and spinach; and bourbon caramelized banana French toast. The popular pairings dinners sell out quickly. 201 Town Center Lane, Keller, 817-741-5200, fngeats.com.
Great Scott A vast charcuterie selection sets this place apart, along with daily specials that can include togarashi-seared tuna, roasted venison in sweet cherry demiglace and buttermilk fried rabbit tenderloin. Owner Matthew Scott’s passion for wine is reflected in a big, diverse list rich in California and smart Old World picks. 1701 Cross Roads Drive, Grapevine, 817-717-7701, facebook.com/greatscottrestaurant.
Loveria Caffé Andrea Matteucci and Stefania Bertozzi are the husband-wife team who moved from Italy a few years ago to open a sleek restaurant serving handcrafted pastas (the tagliatelle with cheese and cracked black pepper is sublime) and braised wagyu beef cheek with rosemary polenta. The wine list brims with Italian choices you don’t find elsewhere. 5615 Colleyville Blvd., 817-893-5880, loveriacaffe.com.
Next Bistro Ying Aikens is the chef and Tom Aikens is the reformed business executive who loves food and wine so much that he quit the corporate world to open a place to showcase his wife’s significant talents. Her menus of elegant dishes — chicken-fried lobster or escargot and grapes in puff pastry — pair well with his award-winning wine cellar selections. 5003 Colleyville Blvd., 682-325-4046, nextbistrotx.com.
Oliva Italian Eatery Chef Justin Loeb and his wife, sommelier Cynthia Loeb, brought their New York restaurant experience to a boutique restaurant in Keller. Salmon piccata, linguine carciofi and lobster ravioli win a loyal clientele, and specials like beef tenderloin with cognac cream and chocolate pot de creme seal the devotion. Justin even makes limoncello. 12477 Timberland Blvd., 817-337-6999, olivaeatery.com.
Trio New American Cuisine Chef Jason Harper and pastry chef wife Miriam Harper celebrate 10 years this spring at what began as a charming lunch spot and grew into a bistro serving impressive fare. Seared skate wing with smoked pomme puree, hazelnuts and pomegranate brown butter is a prime example of Jason’s weekend features, while the menu standards range from Korean short ribs to pecan-crusted rack of lamb. 8300 Precinct Line Road, Colleyville,