There was a time when the only people who knew about The Colony were those who happened to live in the small suburb nestled between Frisco, Carrollton and Lewisville. That seems all in the past, however, thanks to the booming development around The Colony's biggest corporate citizen, Nebraska Furniture Mart. Restaurants and entertainment venues have sprouted up like wildflowers in the shadow of the massive retailer and offer up plenty of reasons to visit outside of a need for home furnishings.
The latest establishment to join the area is Heritage Pizza and Taproom, which quietly opened on Feb. 20. Heritage is the brainchild of the 33 Restaurant Group, operators of Cadillac Pizza Pub in McKinney and Taverna Rossa Craft Pizza and Beer in Plano and Southlake. With their pizza chops already established, Heritage offers a twist on the pizza and beer formula: growlers. You read right; stop in with your growler, and you can have it filled at Heritage from any of their 40 taps. Think of your favorite local brewer, and chances are they have a beer on Heritage's menu: Bitter Sisters, Lakewood, Peticolas, Noble Rey, Tupps and Deep Ellum all had at least one beer on the list, while several other Texas and regional brewers are also represented.
Expanding on the growler theme, Heritage will even deliver a filled growler to your door, as long as the beer being delivered is under 5 percent ABV (of which just four beers on the menu qualify — thanks TABC). A customer loyalty program is also in the works, and it will reward repeat growler-fillers with free pizza.
If all this talk of beer makes you hungry, Heritage has you covered in their pizza parlor. The space is clean and casual with lighting that's not antiseptically bright but not so dim as to make identifying your food difficult. Also well balanced is a great rotation of alt rock that plays overhead, loud enough to be noticed and appreciated but not so loud as to interrupt conversation. Ordering and paying takes place at a small counter before you take a seat, then diners wait for the staff to bring food to the table. The staff will gladly run a new tab for you if you'd like to order more food (or beer), and there's a modest bar at which to plant yourself as well.
The menu covers quite a bit of ground, starting with appetizers like delicious goat cheese and sausage-stuffed mushroom in an Alfredo sauce ($9), or good selection of salads. If you're not feeling a pizza, Heritage offers several baked pasta dishes and an assortment of hot sandwiches.
But seriously, you should get a pizza. Heritage pies comes in two sizes. The "Little Guy" is 10 inches and great for the solo diner, while the "Big Guy" stretches 14 inches and can feed two or three at a table. Should any of the dozen preconfigured pizzas not strike your fancy, you're welcome to build your own from any of the ingredients on the menu. The thin crusts that Heritage turns out are firm enough stand up to almost anything you throw on your pie without being too crunchy, although if a chewy or doughy crust is your thing, you'll likely be disappointed.
We settled on the Bee's Knees ($12), with a spicy red sauce, soppressata, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and locally sourced honey drizzled on top. The complexity of spicy, savory and sweet flavors made it the favorite of the table. We also ordered a classic Margherita ($11) but fancied it up with fresh tomatoes, sausage and caramelized onions. All of the ingredients tasted fresh, although in hindsight, we probably overloaded the pizza.
Just two desserts are on the menu. On the night of our visit, the candy bar brownie was sold out, so we settled for the ice cream sandwich. Two large homemade chocolate chip cookies bookended a healthy serving of Henry's vanilla ice cream. The desserts aren't breaking new ground, but we were hardly disappointed.
To be honest, if a place half as good as Heritage Pizza and Taproom were in the Dallas city limits, you'd likely never get in the door, especially on the weekend. And with the quality beers on tap and quality food coming out of the kitchen, it may not be long before lines form in The Colony as well. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Heritage Pizza and Taproom, 3750 Plano Parkway, #600, The Colony.