Welcome back to our weekly installment of ‘Exploring Legacy Hall, One Bite at a Time‘ where we have been breaking down the incredible amount of food available in the dining hall. Going at this alone and without a plan can be a bit overwhelming so this week, we’re mixing things up a bit and offering some advice from our friends of at the ‘Dallas Eatery’
Here’s what they suggest:
Situated in the sparkly new Legacy West development, Legacy Hall is already a major dining destination. It’s home to 22 different chefs, vendors, and bars, including quick-service restaurants from award-winning (and famous) chefs like John Tesar, Tiffany Derry, and Uno Immanivong.
Because walking into a giant building with nearly two dozen dining options is the definition of overwhelming, use this guide to Legacy Hall to make deciding between the dizzying array of choices a little bit easier.
- Bring a credit/debit card — vendors at Legacy Hall are operating on a cashless basis, which makes the process of ordering and checking out go pretty quickly.
- Find a seat upstairs — The crowds at Legacy Hall are thick right now, and primo seating on the first floor (amongst the majority of the Hall’s restaurants) can be hard to come by. Instead of wandering around for a seat, head upstairs to the second and third floors where chairs are more plentiful.
- Grab a cup — For folks not ordering beer or cocktails from the bar, a selection of sodas and water are available in two central drink stations on the first and second floor. Bottled waters, sodas, and other specialty drinks are also available at most stalls.
- Take a lap — it’s easy enough to think that the Ozersky at Knife Burger is an obvious choice, but it’s a mistake to stop at the first stall. Definitely order the burger, but only after you’ve grabbed macarons from Haute Sweets Patisserie or a s’mores doughnut from Glazed Donut Works.
This week we’re taking a look at those Neopolitan pies made by Forno Nero, better known as the local pizza chain Cavalli.
Cavalli was the first Neapolitan pizzeria in the Dallas area when it opened its inaugural branch in Irving in 2007. A second branch opened in McKinney in 2010, and a third in Lewisville in 2016. Original owners were Paolo and Clara Cavalli; Paolo passed away in 2016.
The new owner is Chase LaFerney, who worked with Plano restaurant company Yum! Brands and whose family was in the restaurant business. He was first intrigued by the pizza but ultimately became involved because of the stability of the company.
“I think we have the best pizza in town, but I was also impressed by the tenure and loyalty of the employees, some of whom go back to when the company began,” he says. “Paolo was an engineer before Cavalli, and he set up a system that’s really effective.”
LaFerney took over when there were two branches, and oversaw the opening in Lewisville. The basic menu is the same at all three, but each key into its neighborhood.
“The audience in Lewisville is completely different from McKinney,” he says. “We added a couple of pizzas that are unique to Lewisville, including a white pizza with chorizo, cilantro, mozzarella, and crema. In McKinney, they’d been doing this giant tapas menu but a lot of those dishes weren’t getting ordered, so we added some fresh pasta instead.”
“We’re calling it Forno Nero, which means ‘black oven,’ because it will feature a showpiece domed black oven,” he says. “But to give you an idea of what it’s about, we almost called it ‘Test Kitchen.’ It’ll be a little different. We’ll be doing 10-inch pizzas instead of the 12-inch pizzas we usually do. There will be five to six pizzas that will be staples that are always on the menu, and four to five that are seasonal. That seems like a good fit for a place like Legacy Hall.”
The smaller size will address what is the most frequently heard feedback, regarding the nature of the crust. Many parts of Dallas are still grappling with the nature of the Neapolitan-style pizza crust, which is more supple than the flat cardboard bottom that previously dominated the local pizza scene. If you scan Yelp for local Neapolitan pizzerias, half of the comments seem to dwell on the fact that the crust is not crisp.
“The crust on the 10-inch pizzas holds up much better, you can pull up a slice and the toppings don’t fall off,” LaFerney says.
When Cavalli first opened, the Neapolitan-style pizza was still relatively unknown, and acquiring a VPN certification from the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, proving that your pizza was made in the true style of Napoli, Italy, added value. But with numerous chains doing the style, such as Spin, Blaze, Project Pie, and the latest, MiDici, VPN certification has become less of a thing.
“We switched to APN, Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani, which certifies the pizzaiolo, not the restaurant,” LaFerney says. “But we’re still doing things the Neapolitan way, using the ingredients and fermenting our dough for 36-48 hours. We’re basically bringing Neapolitan-style pizza to the suburbs.”
Well the reviews that we found, and it was hard to find ones that were specifically for Forno Nero and not Cavalli, were great. Everyone loves this ‘test kitchen’. It also seems like from the time you place the order until the time you get your food is pretty fast as well. Check these out:
How Do You Eat Yours?
However you eat your pizza, be it folded or unfolded, with your hands or with utensils, we all just love a great slice of that delicious pie.
Have you eaten at Forno Nero? What did you think? We would love to hear from you. Also, if you’re a business at Legacy West and would like to be featured on our blog, you too can drop us a line. Just click here and leave a message.
We love Legacy West and everything about it, so much so that we’ve had our home built here. You can read all about our journey in our blog series. We’ve enjoyed sharing all the moments with you. Speaking of sharing, we’ve also made a map of places we’ve been at Legacy West so far and we’ve been updating it as we go along. Feel free to use it and share it as we’ll continue to make it as comprehensive a map of Legacy West as we can.