When it was announced as the new headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys, it was difficult to imagine The Star in Frisco as any type cosmopolitan destination. A mecca for Cowboys fans, for sure, but what about the non-football-loving rest of us? On the food front, it turns out there will be plenty of reasons to visit, with some enticing dining choices for our northern neighbors that until now have only been available closer to Dallas proper.
The Omni Frisco Hotel opened this week, and Dallas Cowboys owner/part-time innkeeper Jerry Jones enticed Nick Badovinus to open a northern outpost of Neighborhood Services as the hotel's anchor restaurant. The third iteration of Neighborhood Services brings much of what made it successful in Dallas and Addison to The Star, including most of the popular lunch and dinner dishes on the menu. Inside feels familiar, too, with soft, warm lighting, rich wood textures and an expansive bar and patio area that overlooks the outdoor practice field of the Ford Center. With seating for 200, the space still manages to feel cozy, as if it held half as many patrons.
Beginning in August, the newest Neighborhood Services will add a new twist not available at the other locations: brunch. Executive chef Richard Blankenship (formerly of CBD Provisions) will bring "simple but interesting" breakfast and brunch fare to the menu — although a Badovinus-style burger for breakfast doesn't seem like a bad idea, either.
Across the street from Neighborhood Services will be the ninth location of Jay Jerrier's Cane Rosso pizzeria. Jerrier hopes to have his newest spot open by the end of July and recently invited us for a preview while the finishing touches go on the space. In the bright and airy dining room, there are Cowboy-centric features such as blue upholstered booths with Cowboys-themed tables and, most blatantly, a Stefano Ferrara-designed, face mask-wearing pizza oven tiled to look like a Cowboys helmet.
Jerrier also commissioned local artist Clay Stinnett to add some colorful paintings to the decor, many of which are larger-scale versions of Star Wars-themed art that decorates Jerrier's home. Jerrier describes the decorating process: "I'll call up Clay and say, 'What if we took the Run DMC picture and made them all stormtroopers?' and we go from there."
Food-wise, Cane Rosso promises some unique fare for the Frisco location. We tried a fried calzone with prosciutto, ricotta and mozzarella encased in a light but sturdy crust. Cane Rosso will sell them to go, wrapped in paper cones, for those who want a quick bite while wandering the complex. Keeping with the sports theme, chicken wings will make an appearance on the menu, and we also tried a delicious calamari dotted with thin slices of carrot, jalapeños and zucchini.
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Cane Rosso's pizzas get a Frisco twist: They're cut and baked into star shapes. The house pizza, eponymously named The Star, comes with arugula, pepperoni, heirloom tomatoes and shaved Parmesan. The points of the pizza are stuffed with ricotta before getting a high-temperature blast in the helmet oven, and the results are predictably spectacular.
Next door to Cane Rosso is another of Jerrier's ventures, Cow Tipping Creamery. The brick-and-mortar spot serves up the soft serve you know and love but also makes life easier for Cow Tipping's food truck that still lives in Carrollton. Instead of running the entire operation from the truck (a challenge made more difficult in the Texas heat), the Frisco store will serve as home base for deliveries and production for both locations. As a bonus, the additional space for prep will let Cow Tipping Creamery experiment with additional flavors and specials, all of which will surely make bubble cone converts of people in Collin County.
Later this year, additional dining options such as Liberty Burger and Mi Cocina are also expected to open in The Star. The Ford Center is set to host Cowboys training camp before a regular schedule of high school football games this fall, and we imagine the new restaurants will benefit greatly from traffic generated by these events. Two years ago, we would have never imagined Frisco as a dining destination, but the development of The Star is doing its best to change our minds.