For the people behind Greenville Avenue Pizza Co., their newest location is a homecoming.
The intersection of Peavy and Garland roads is an increasingly popular food destination with the likes of Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House and Cultivar Coffee Bar & Roaster, but it’s also where Molly and Sammy Mandell have their roots.
The two grew up in East Dallas and graduated from Bryan Adams High School, and their creative director (who’s spitting out shiny promotional videos for the restaurant) and director of operations are BA Cougars, too.
“We wanted to bring our success closer to home,” Sammy Mandell says.
The new restaurant is a shotgun design, with a narrow space allowing just enough room for a bar with chairs and a line to form up to the register.
The menu will look familiar to GAPCo fans, with the exception of the meatball sub. Don’t worry — it’s not absent from the menu, just transformed into a slider.
The meatball is decent enough — better than tasteless mounds of meat you’ll find elsewhere — and it is a messy task to handle. One out of five at the table may dare to eat it like a sandwich while the rest will use a fork and knife.
Whether or not GAPCo has your favorite type of pizza, it at least gets a gold star for consistency, thanks in large part to the culture Sammy and Molly Mandell aim to create.
“You can feel the culture when you walk in. You can feel [Sammy’s] passion in the way the employees prepare the food,” says assistant general manager Polly Conner.
Conner started with the company Sept. 18 and said she was impressed with the amount of time the new employees were trained.
“They’ve been here a whole month before opening,” she says. “At other restaurants, I’ve seen them bring in people two weeks before opening.”
Sammy Mandell wants his employees to do a good job — both so customers receive what they expect and because he wants to equip the employees with skills to have fun and succeed in their careers.
“Some of them say they learn more here than in culinary school,” he says.
If you check out the company's Facebook page, you’ll see the fun the owners try to promote for staff members. The reason is the same hurdle facing many restaurants in town: not enough talent to go around.
“Having not enough people is like a disease,” Sammy Mandell says. “You need happy employees.”
And the results show in the food, with pizza dough rolled consistently to a quarter inch and the cheese spread a quarter inch from the edge of the dough. The five-cheese pizza is a must-order, with perfectly swirled mounds of fresh ricotta. Sammy Mandell has been this particular about his food for years, and it shows.
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For a more complex pizza experience, try the pesto sciutto pizza, a pie with pesto sauce, prosciutto, Roma tomatoes, arugula, fresh garlic and sun-dried tomatoes, finished with GAPCo’s pizza crack and Parmesan.
One considerable advantage for the Greenville Avenue location is its late closing time (3 a.m. weekdays, 4 a.m. weekends). Peavy customers will have to make due with the 1 a.m. closing time, but at least they’ll have GAPCo deliveries east of the lake.
GAPCo, 1145 Peavy Road, 214-324-2726