First Look

First Look: Sfereco Serves Serious Italian with a Playful Vibe in Lewisville and the River Walk in Flower Mound

Kristina Rowe
A bacon, pepperoni and jalapeño pizza.
When Sfereco opened last month in Lewisville, in the space that was formerly Cavalli Pizza, it marked the completion of a remake of the Old Town Lewisville restaurant park. Weeks later, another Sfereco opened just a few miles away in the highly anticipated River Walk in Flower Mound.

These are just the first of several upcoming openings for Sfereco and other restaurants by Refined Hospitality Concepts (RHC), a local hospitality and culinary management company. At the River Walk, Primo’s MX is slated to open next, followed by other RHC properties Scout, Parliament and Boi Na Braza.

If some of these names sound familiar, you may have seen them at The Statler Hotel where Sfereco, Scout and Primo’s MX reside. At a recent media dinner at the Lewisville Sfereco location, we had a chance to sample the food and experience their tongue-in-cheek take on spaghetti Westerns.

Chef Jason Tilmann leads the kitchen. The Michigan-native worked as a junior sous chef at Union Square Café in New York City as well as Le Cirque (NYC too). He moved to Japan where he worked for Hide Yamamoto in Tokyo and was eventually a sous chef for Iron Chef's Masaharu Morimoto.

Dark woods, interior brick and red booths are expected decor in Italian eateries, but here the space is accented with lightbulb-framed movie posters and Western-style light fixtures. Pizzas are served on rustic thin slabs of wood. A private dining area with picture windows, a retractable patio door and a lifesize horse figure takes the Western theme even further.

At a restaurant named in honor of spheres — Sfereco is the Esperanto word for "sphere" — you can certainly expect some tasty meatballs, which can be ordered with pork, brisket, chicken, classic beef or Impossible Veganball. The latter was one of the surprises of the night; it was a favorite at our table of all carnivores and one vegan. It was lighter in texture than the classic beef spheres, flavorful and served with a robust sauce and vegan cheese.
click to enlarge KRISTINA ROWE
Kristina Rowe
Other appetizers we tried included the whipped ricotta topped with apricot jelly, toasted pecans and house-made focaccia. Italian pizza puffs come with from-scratch tomato sauce and white queso. The Great Balls of Fire were the star of the appetizers. These bite-size balls of breaded and fried pepper jack cheese had a wake-you-up spiciness that might make you never want regular mozzarella sticks ever again.

The Chop Chop salad was a great combination of veggies (olives, tomatoes, chickpeas, pepperoncini, artichokes) and Italian meats. There's also a Caesar salad and a house salad (called the Straight Shooter) and cream of tomato or minestrone soup.

The next big surprise came when we sampled the pizzas. The gluten-free cauliflower crust was well-liked by even the most devoted bread lovers in our group.
click to enlarge The carciofi pizza - KRISTINA ROWE
The carciofi pizza
Kristina Rowe
Pizza toppings were generous, and the signature pizzas range from basic cheese to a Bandito layered with pepperoni, bacon and jalapeño to the carciofi, a white pizza with spinach, garlic cream sauce, artichokes and fresh basil. The cheese pull on the carciofi slices was eye-popping, and the Bandito had a nice spicy bite, which could be mitigated for the I-don't-like-spicy-food folks in your party by removing the jalapeños. Five other signature choices and a build-your-own menu ensure all pizza devotees can find a pie they like.

Desserts include traditional tiramisu, seasonal bombolini (Italian doughnuts) and vanilla or pistachio soft serve ice cream. If you’re not fully stuffed after dinner (and maybe even if you are) the pistachio ice cream is a must-try.

While the food is good, where Sfereco excels is in providing a gathering space with a menu that satisfies many different tastes and preferences. From a girl's night out (one of which was in progress during our visit) to a family dinner or a date night, the combination of comfort and lightheartedness make it a fun spot.

The Sfereco opening completes a whole new set of restaurants from those that originally opened in the Old Town restaurant row in 2015. Baha Rita's next door replaced Twisted Root and local breakfast, brunch and lunch chain Seven Mile Café is in the space that once was Prohibition Chicken.

The interior of the Flower Mound location is much like the Lewisville location, but instead of a shared park-like area outside, there’s a stunning river walk almost 15 years in the making. Waterside dining at Sfereco is just the start of RHC’s projects here.

Primo’s MX is set to open there in the next week, with Scout, Parliament and Boi Na Braza not long after. Diners in southeast Denton county will soon have two new dining destinations within a few miles of each other. Both the charming Old Town Lewisville and the beautiful waterside complex in Flower Mound are perfect settings for day and night time dining.

Sfereco, 233 W. Church St. (Lewisville) is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The location at 4120 River Walk Drive (Flower Mound) is open 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The original location in downtown Dallas at The Statler (1914 Commerce St.) is open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.