First Look

The $6 Focaccia at Mio Nonno Trattoria May Change Your Life

Focaccia at Mio Nonno
Focaccia at Mio Nonno Lauren Drewes Daniels
Recently while walking to a Mavericks game, I noticed Mio Nonno Trattoria across the street from American Airlines Center. Diners inside were slumped over bowls of pasta and pizzas; they looked warm and happy. After a quick search, it looks like this spot has been here for at least two years and has managed to escape just about any sort of news coverage.

So, the next night we returned for a hockey game and walked into Mio Nonno an hour before puck drop. With zero expectations we snagged one of the last empty tables inside. We slid between our two new table neighbors. Hi there. It was tight but friendly.
click to enlarge Mio Nonno in Victory Park - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
Mio Nonno in Victory Park
Lauren Drewes Daniels
Mio Nonno Trattoria has three locations in North Texas: Flower Mound, Allen and Victory Park. The dishes come from chef Ati Mala, who co-owns these spots with his childhood friend Noti Krasniqi. Before diving into Italian cuisine in Texas, the two had a Mediterranean restaurant in The Hamptons.

The space is a tad bit fancier than what the exterior indicates. A hockey jersey and jeans are fine, but it’s not a sports-night dinner, more of a date or business dinner. Several gold-finished modern chandeliers hang over the dining room and floor-to-ceiling windows trim one wall. A large open kitchen takes up the back half of the restaurants and the lively bar was packed.
click to enlarge Freeform focaccia at Mio Nonno is fantastic and costs less than a water across the street at the American Airlines Center. - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
Freeform focaccia at Mio Nonno is fantastic and costs less than a water across the street at the American Airlines Center.
Lauren Drewes Daniels
Soon after we sat down, a puffy pillow of bread passed by, headed to another table. Turns out it's their free-form focaccia. While cooking in the oven, parts of this bread rise like a balloon, yielding varied flavors and textures. It’s served on a large rectangular cutting board along with a big knife and a small bowl of olive oil. The bread is topped with a bit of oregano and Parmesan. It’s simple, divine and only $6.

There are a few pizzas on the menu, all topped with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and a variety of meats (pancetta, pepperoni or spicy Italian sausage).
click to enlarge Cacio e cream at Mio Nonno - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
Cacio e cream at Mio Nonno
Lauren Drewes Daniels

We had the cacio e cream for our main course. House-made fettuccine is folded with goat cheese from Sardinia, Parmigiano Reggiano, fontina, gorgonzola, cream and topped with cracked black pepper and truffled bread crumbs. A beef ragu lasagna is made with paper-thin sheets of pasta, fontina and a bechamel and Pomodoro sauce. A bowl of big tubes of paccheri pasta in a spicy vodka sauce was a popular order at other tables.

On busy nights, perhaps when they’re trying to get diners out for tip-offs and puck drops, they have a short menu. On not-so-busy nights they have a much larger full menu. It appears that the focaccia is only on the short menu. I'd literally riot if I was there on a full menu night and they didn't have it.

Service here, on what was a pretty busy night, was good. They, like everyone else, were probably a wee bit short-staffed, but they were making the best of it. Our server was friendly and we never waited too long for anything. We were in our seats for the game, with beers in hand, just in time for the national anthems (Canadian and American).

Mio Nonno, 2588 N Houston St. Open 5 -10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5 - 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.