USA’s Top Volleyball Players Revealed

volleyball nations league

Volleyball Nations League unveils powerhouse roster for this summer’s 2023 competition

Arlington, TX – May 10, 2023 – For the selected players, being a part Team USA at of the prestigious Volleyball Nations League (VNL) is a remarkable achievement in itself, but it gets even better as they will go on to compete with the top 15 teams in the world in an eight-week international volleyball extravaganza. This year’s competition will be even more thrilling, as the women’s finals will be held in America for the first time ever. The College Park Center in Arlington, TX, will play host to Team USA plus 7 more of the world’s top teams for the final round.

Among the top players and local favorites on this year’s USA team are Chiaka Ogbogu, the Olympic gold medalist and VNL Champion from Coppell, TX, and Brionne Butler, a rising star and USA Team member since 2019 from Kendleton, TX.

Former team captain Jordan Larson, a three-time Olympian, and three-time VNL Champion, is back on the team, and her return is creating a buzz of excitement. Larson’s leadership and experience will be key in helping Team USA go for gold once again.

Among the newest talents added to this year’s team is Ali Frantti who made her international debut at the 2022 VNL. Joining the list of players to keep an eye on is Olympic champion & 2019 VNL MVP Annie Drews who is for sure to be a force to be reckoned with.

With such a talented and dynamic team, it’s clear that the USA is going for gold at the 2023 VNL competition. So mark your calendars and get ready to witness some truly world-class volleyball from this powerhouse team. The excitement is building, and you won’t want to miss a single second of the action!

Finn Taylor, Volleyball World CEO, said: “American Volleyball fans will have a chance to see the world’s best players and national teams take on team USA in what will surely be some of the best international Volleyball played anywhere on the planet this year. We can’t wait to showcase the global superstars of Volleyball for our fans in America and around the world”

USA women’s national team full roster:
Setters: Micha Hancock, Lauren Carlini, Jenna Gray, Ashley Evans, Victoria Dilfer
Opposites: Andrea Drews, Jordan Thompson, Danielle Cuttino, Stephanie Samedy
Outside hitters: Ali Frantti, Jordan Larson, Kara Bajama, Simone Lee, Kathryn Plummer, Kelsey Robinson, Avery Skinner, Khalia Lanier
Middle Blockers: Brionne Buttler, Anna Hall, Haleigh Washington, Jenna Rettke, Chiaka Ogbogu, Asjia O’Neal, Danielle Hart, Madeleine Gates, Kayla Haneline
Libero: Kendall White, Justine Wong-Orantes, Morgan Hentz, Brooke Nuneviller
Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coach: Tama Miyashiro

All rosters will be available on May 11, 2023. Click here to find out more.

Ticket sales are now in full swing. Click here to access all the necessary information and purchase your tickets.

Watch all Volleyball World matches live or on-demand on VBTV

Article by: Credit Paulette Hopkins | blüspark
VNL Press Photos: Credit Volleyball World

Theatrical Events

Share For Me Debuts At The Dallas International Film Festival

The heartwarming short film, Share For Me from writer-director Alexander Georges will make its debut at the Dallas International Film Festival, (DIFF), Thursday, May 4 and Friday, May 5, 2023.

The story follows a young man with Down Syndrome and his aging Greek father. The twosome can’t look after themselves, but together, they can crash a funeral on mom’s birthday. Inspired by a feature screenplay of Georges’ real-life father and brother, for which he is currently seeking financing, the movie accurately depicts the intimate and cherished bond the two share.

“I am very passionate about this story. We don’t often associate a person with Down Syndrome as being a caregiver, we always assume people with disabilities need the care. But especially in a family, where you understand people both physically and emotionally and you can read their needs and wants, a different relationship forms.” said Georges.

The stellar cast includes Down Syndrome lead actor Evan Vourazeris (Tuck from the Netflix series Ozark), based in El Paso, Texas. Evan is an actor, disability advocate and motivational speaker. He’s also a BullyFree advocate and has spoken to over 500,000 kids and families about bullying, cyberbullying and empowerment issues.

Lead actor Apollo Dukakis is an accomplished actor with more than 50 years’ experience. He has performed in many prestigious regional theaters throughout the US, including the American Conservatory Theatre and the Dallas Theater Center. He’s also a recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ and Dramalogue awards, an Ovation award and company member at A Noise Within for more than 25 years.

Co-star, Dallas native, actor and stand-up comedian Willis Turner is a recipient of the “Up and Coming Comic” award at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival, and he has performed on both Comedy Central and BET.

For the casting of other characters with disabilities, Share For Me partnered with Easterseals and disability acting pioneers Pacific Arts Studio West.

“I wanted to tell a personal story, I watched my father be the caregiver for my brother, but as he grew older, my brother began to care for my father,” said. Georges. “They have an interesting dynamic that I am fascinated by,” he continued. When my father was in his 70’s, my brother began to do things for him, like buckle his seatbelt and give him directions and it’s only grown.”

This outstanding film, centered on disability and increasing disability visibility, will play a vital role in educating audiences. The characters are warm, relatable, and touching. “I’ve never seen a movie like this, or represented anywhere in film, said Georges, that’s why I wanted to tell this story.”

The 17th Annual Dallas International Film Festival will run from April 28 to May 5, 2023 at the Violet Crown Cinema in West Village Uptown at The festival includes powerful films from both established and emerging artists in a wide range of styles. To purchase tickets to individual screenings, use the film guide or schedule at

Theatrical Events

His Story: The Musical Debuts In Dallas, May 2023

Best of Guide recently attended a special media sneak peek performance of a faith-based Broadway-style theatrical event. This insightful modern-day take on a story as old as time, chronicles the life of Jesus. His Story: The Musical, is a contemporary pop/rock/rap lyrical event that shares the iconic story through a dynamic and uplifting theatrical experience.

Featuring a book and score by Anna Miriam Brown, His Story will make its world premiere next month at the new Broadway Tent at Grandscape in The Colony, Texas. Directed by two-time Tony nominee, Jeff Calhoun (Newsies, Bonnie & Clyde), and presented by award nominated producer Bruce Lazarus, the musical will begin performances May 5, 2023. The musical is also backed by Willie and Korie Robertson (stars of Duck Dynasty, and best-selling authors), Brad Reeves / Bill Noble, Thinking Tree LLC, Jill Wilkinson, Cooper Collins, Christian and Sadie Robertson Huff, Mike Collins, and Troy Duhon / Bob Katz in association with Matthew Churchill Productions.

While living in Ukraine, as Anna Brown was coming into her own faith, she realized that she had a desire to tell the remarkable story of Jesus. Inspired by the hip-hop style musical Hamilton, her goal was to deliver an impactful, yet relatable story to others — just the way she had been impacted.

Two-thousand years in the making, this powerful story depicts Mary and Joseph and the life of Jesus, a common-man-from-an-obscure-family. He arrives in the big city and defies expectations. He speaks great wisdom but chooses friends from the dregs of society and hangs out in the wrong part of town. Mocked by the establishment, he is adored by the people. This timeless and lively perspective engages the struggles of humanity worldwide, reminding us of the ubiquitous power of love and redemption.

Calhoun said, “This show is about great suffering, but it’s also about light breaking thru that darkness. It has helped me both personally and professionally.”

“We think Dallas is the rising star, the next cultural icon in the United States,” said Lazarus. “We are thrilled to be here, and we’re excited to make Dallas a destination. We will use Dallas as a springboard to take this show to other cities,” he continued.

His Story, The Musical is choreographed by Eamon Foley with arrangements by Rick Hip-Flores, scenic design by Tobin Ost, and sound design by Daniel Lundberg. The original concept recording of His Story, The Musical is available on Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify and all major platforms. Designed by Matthew Churchill Productions, The Broadway Tent at Grandscape is a state-of-the-art 1300-seat theater tent featuring plush seating, 360-degree overhead projection mapping and full air conditioning and heating.
The Broadway Tent is located at 5752 Grandscape Blvd., The Colony 75056.

Tickets are available now and may be purchased online Special rates are available for groups of 20+. Email or by calling the toll-free number (855) HISSTORY / (855) 447-7667.

Restaurant Reviews DFW

Reunion Tower’s New Restaurant Crown Block Debuts April 17

Following a three-year hiatus, epicureans can once again enjoy an exquisite meal at the city’s most recognized and iconic landmark, Reunion Tower. The all-new and highly anticipated Crown Block Restaurant, located on the 18th floor, will open on Monday, April 17.

Crown Block is presented by Hunt Realty Investments, in partnership with celebrated James Beard Award-nominated hospitality industry veterans and husband and wife business partners Elizabeth Blau and Chef Kim Canteenwalla. Cantenwalla and Blau, of Blau and Associates have extensive experience opening fine dining restaurants. They have opened establishments in Las Vegas and Vancouver. They have also done some consulting in Dallas, where they have worked with Del Frisco, Legends Hospitality and helped launch The Virgin Hotel’s food program.

Dining at Crown Block includes a short 68-second lift to the soaring twinkling dome. Once inside the sky-high restaurant, you’ll see an amazing floor-to-ceiling display of fine wines. But the irrefutable focal point is an impressive bar featuring a backdrop of the most spectacular birds-eye-view of the Dallas area. Guests will appreciate the smart and stylish new look of the restaurant. The modern and chic inspired décor radiates a pleasant and relaxed vibe. From the hosts and servers to the management and executive chef, you’ll find the entire staff to be attentive, knowledgeable, and friendly.

Initially, patrons might make notice that the restaurant will remain in a fixed position. But you’ll soon forget about rotation once you taste the luscious and unforgettable dishes that Crown Block has to offer. Sourced from local purveyors, the menu features rare steaks and seafood but will also include an exciting array of plant-based fare and sushi. Gluten-free options will also be available, including a delectable key lime pie. Guests will savor the luscious desserts, and appreciate the generous wine list, mixed drinks, and house cocktails.

Patrons can’t miss the impressive seafood bar showcasing an array of fresh fish. The bar also includes a selection of the finest caviar and seasonal oysters procured from the East and Gulf Coast. Also available is a sharable C.B. Texas-Style Hot Seafood Boil. This spectacular feast includes an abundance of Maine lobster, jumbo prawns, mussels, scallops, Alaskan king crab, fingerling potatoes, seafood and tomato broth served alongside grilled sourdough bread.

At a recent media event, Best of Guide caught a sneak peek of the extraordinary menu. Exquisite starters include a Lobster BLT Salad. This amazing dish includes Neuse’s Bacon, endive, hearts of palm, tomatoes, avocado, and a citrus vinaigrette. Another delectable bite is a blue crab cake served with a sea bean and fennel salad and a vadouvan-spiced curry aioli.

The extensive menu also includes salads, plentiful sides, entrees, and a selection of grilled items. While many of the dishes are prepared for the most discerning connoisseur, you’ll also discover some fun and fanciful favorites such as the triple-dipped hand-cut fries and mac and cheese waffles — both of which are unexpected full-flavored savory surprises.

A private event space, The Crown Room, is located on the 17th floor. Guests may host birthdays, bar mitzvahs, bridal showers, brunches, or any other celebratory event. This level will still feature the 360-panoramic view of the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex.

Crown Block’s menu has something to satisfy every palate. So, dive in, and try something new. Currently, the restaurant serves dinner seven days a week. Reservations can be made at and can be booked up to three months in advance. Classic, stylish attire is appreciated. No flip flops, workout gear or baseball caps are permitted.

Restaurant Reviews DFW

Contemporary European Steakhouse Concept Reaches Monumental Heights

Chef Andreas Kotsifos is on a mission to deliver his globally inspired modern Mediterranean dishes to North Texas later this month. Drawing from his 40 years of world-wide restaurant experience, he will present his latest culinary vision at his new fine dining restaurant in Allen, Texas. His namesake restaurant, Andreas Prime Steaks and Seafood will emanate an upscale steakhouse experience but with a modern spin that includes sharable plates: like a steakhouse with a tapas twist.

An impressive array of appetizers, salads and entrees will be offered, including the finest quality steaks, chops, and seafood. From charcuterie boards to salads to Filet Mignon with lobster Béarnaise, truffle mashed potatoes, and asparagus, the menu promises exquisite dishes prepared for the most discerning palates. Guests can also indulge in a cut of premium A-5 Japanese Wagu Steak. This particular cut is world-renowned for its buttery texture, subtle umami flavor and unmatched tenderness.

The focal point of the restaurant will be an exquisite bar, surrounded by a lounge where guests can choose to drink and dine in their own private retreat. The bar menu includes craft cocktails ranging from traditional to experimental, with fresh ingredients, elixirs, and sodas. In addition, a wine wall will display a vast wine selection with global provenance. More than 130 bourbons will also be offered. Tableside service is also available with martini carts rolling around the Art-Deco styled dining room, making cocktails at the table; and flambe carts serving table-side steak Diane, bananas Foster, and baked Alaska.

Andreas Prime Steaks & Seafood will be one of the most impressive fine dining establishments to come to Allen, Texas. Using only the finest and freshest selections, Chef Andreas will create bold, colorful dishes packed with enticing flavors for both lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Given the welcoming atmosphere, and outstanding cuisine, this new concept promises to be the place to see-and-be-seen hotspot in Collin County.

Andreas is located at 610 W. Bethany Drive, in Allen and is scheduled to open in April 2023. For the latest updates on the opening, specials and more, follow Andrea’s on Facebook at: or visit their

Restaurant Reviews DFW

Mandarin By Howard Wang Now Open In Far North Dallas

For nearly twenty years, Howard Wang has been taking food lovers on a culinary journey throughout the distinct regions of China. His family of restaurants offer a comfortable and welcoming dining experience you won’t soon forget.

An all-new Mandarin by Howard Wang recently celebrated their grand opening Feb. 11 in Dallas. This relatively new concept by Howard Wang will quickly become a family favorite in your line-up of great meals for dine-in or to-go.

Mandarin offers an array of delicious dishes, each with its own distinctive flavor and taste. Each menu item begins with the finest ingredients and is prepared with great finesse and expertise. From fried rice and noodles to sides, soups, salads, and desserts, it’s nearly impossible for diners to go home hungry.  Other menu items include healthy dishes, veggies and HW favorites.

They offer an assortment of appetizers for vegetarians or meat eaters alike. Some of their most popular appetizers include traditional fried egg rolls, lettuce wraps, mandarin wings and jade vegetable dumplings that can be prepared steamed or pan seared.

A wide variety of entrees are bound to satisfy everyone in your party. If you are in the mood for a mild fish entree, the ginger salmon is a tasty choice. The dish includes snow peas, red bell peppers and mushrooms. But, if you fancy something hot and spicy, the jalapeno ginger beef is another fantastic option. The zesty flank steak is stir-fried with red onions, red bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms. Don’t forget to satisfy your sweet tooth with their decadent five-layer chocolate cake. You won’t be sorry.

Overall, the food is beautifully balanced for color, taste, texture, aroma, and presentation. The ambience of Mandarin is modern, relaxed, yet stylish. With their moderate prices, delicious food and a fantastic customer experience, Mandarin will keep people coming back for more, lots more.

Chinese food is loved world-wide, and Howard Wang’s restaurants offer some of the best Chinese cuisine in the D/FW metroplex. The new North Dallas Mandarin by Howard Wang is located at 6859 Arapaho Rd. Suite 601, Dallas, TX. 75248. They can be reached by phone at (214) 484-6369.

They also provide catering for office parties, at-home celebrations, or any special event. To inquire about catering or to order online, visit Additionally, customers who log-in to their website, can enjoy 10% off the bill. For even greater savings for this restaurant and many more like it, download the FREE BOG Rewards app at

Restaurant Reviews DFW

A Taste of Authentic Italian Cuisine

Proprietors Giuseppe Piccinini, Executive Chef Luigi Iannuario and Riccardo Ravaglia.

A Taste of Authentic Italian Cuisine. Real Italian Food at Its Finest

The Dallas Arts District is home to a La Stella Cucina Verace, a new fine dining restaurant and bar

Deeply rooted in authenticity, tradition, and the finest ingredients, La Stella Cucina Verace is a welcomed addition to the Dallas Arts District. Under the direction of Executive Chef Luigi Iannuario, an Italian-born chef, La Stella offers a combination of modern and old-world Italian dishes. Joining Iannuario in partnership is Riccardo Ravaglia, and Giuseppe Piccinini.

Il Cavaliere alla Nerano – Spaghetti, Provolone Stagionato, Zucchini Pureed, Fried and Sauteed

The bona fide Italian recipes and traditions the restaurant prides itself on have been passed down through generations. From Iannuario’s treasured family memories, La Stella preserves and honors the wistfulness of his Italian roots and is a precise representation of Italian lifestyle, food, flavor, and décor.

They offer a wide variety of antipasti plates including meats, cheeses, seafood, shellfish, and bread. Che Burrata – is a satisfying bite of buttery Burrata — a soft Italian cheese, Sicilian sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, leeks, and garlic chips. From the delicate creaminess of the cheese, along with the perfect balance of vegetables, herbs, and spices, this combination of ingredients is extremely well crafted.

U’ Purp – Sous Vide Mediterranean Octopus, Charred, Italian Olives, Potatoes, ‘Nduja

Torre di Crostacei – Lobster, Shrimp, Crab, Oysters
and Traditional Sauce

The tradition of authentic Italian dishes continues with assorted main courses that include delectable pasta and flavorful protein selections. A definitive example of classic Italian cuisine fused with a modern twist is the short rigatoni pasta. It’s served with tomato and white wine braised oxtail sauce and mixed cheeses. A perfect combination of classic flavors with a modern twist.

Astacus – Imported Pasta from Gragnano Napoli, Maine Lobster Fra Daviolo, Brodetto, Fresh Herb, Tomato

Risotto Oro – Aged Acquerello Rice, Spanish Saffron, 36 Months Parmigiano Reggiano, Edible Gold, Roasted Bone Marrow

Other succulent dishes include short ribs, grilled giant prawns, and gnocchi gratin are just a small part of the exceptional line-up. Chefs will be dry aging their own meats, including imported prosciutto, which will be sliced table-side before serving. A selection of a la carte vegetables includes asparagus, fingerling potatoes, local seasonal wild mushrooms, and broccoli rabe.

Cannolo – Ricotta Gelato, Dark Chocolate Tuile, Candied Orange Peels, Pistachio Sauce, Chocolate Chip

Tempting and indulgent desserts will round out your meal. From tiramisu to semifreddo and gelato to seasonal assortments, you really can’t go wrong with any of the decadent desserts.

If by chance you have trouble deciding on which mouthwatering selection to choose from, the wait staff is knowledgeable, attentive, and extremely helpful. In addition, they are professional, yet friendly and very accommodating.

The restaurant includes a well-stocked centerpiece bar, with an impressive wine list and cocktail program to perfectly pair with each exquisite dish. The ambiance is elegant, yet relaxed, with cozy booth and table seating that is exceptionally comfortable.

For those who have a fondness for the finer things in life, La Stella’s also offers Il Club dei Fondatori, an exclusive Founder’s Club membership for the quintessential world-class experience. Membership has numerous perks and benefits including priority reservations, special seating, and private party bookings. Complimentary wine consultation, complimentary executive Uber (within a 5-mile radius) are also included in the membership. Several other advantages are offered. Formore information on this service, email

Finally, the cuisine at La Stella is both flavorful and satisfying. The selection of fresh, high-quality ingredients is an effortless way to enjoy the flavors and aromas of rustic Italy. This memorable dining experience of authentic and distinctive dishes will satisfy the most discerning palette.

Close friends and proprietors of La Stella each share an extensive history of notoriety and great success. Giuseppe Piccinini, is a real estate mogul, and owner of Vesuvius Holdings which is the Venture Capital company of La Stella. Riccardo Ravaglia, is a warm and a seasoned world-class hospitality professional. He serves as managing partner and maître d’. Executive Chef Luigi Iannuario, has worked at Michelin restaurants in Europe. His culinary creations at La Stella focus on authentic Italian dishes with a modern and upscale flair.

La Stella is by far, one of the best new restaurants to open in Dallas this year. Buon appetito! – “Enjoy your meal”

La Stella Cucina Verace is located at 2330 Flora Street, #150, Dallas, TX 75201. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 469-663-7800 or online They are open Monday – Thursday 4:30pm – 10:00pm; Friday – Saturday 4:30pm – 12:00am and closed Sundays.

By Gina Wiklund

Fashion Events DFW Food Events DFW

Couture and Cuisine Collide – Food in Fashion Charity Event Returns Feb. 22, 2022

Tickets and Sponsorship Opportunities Still Available

Food In Fashion - A Charitable Event - Where Food & Fashion Collide
Runway Magic – With Designer Fashion Featuring Food and Restaurant Service Items.

DALLAS, TEXAS, USA, February 3, 2022 / — There’s just one thing on everyone’s mind… The Fifth Annual Food In Fashion Charity Event. To Be Held in Dallas February 22, 2022

Couture and cuisine collide later this month when Food in Fashion returns for its fifth annual charity event, benefiting the Texas Restaurant Foundation, Texas ProStart and other local career development programs.

Presented by the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Texas Restaurant Association, this exhilarating evening includes a food-inspired runway-style fashion show, small bites and beverages, a silent auction, and a VIP after-party reception.

Food In Fashion is a surefire bet for foodies, fashionistas, and just about everybody in between. Top fashion designers – partnered with local restaurants – create food-inspired fashion that models will sashay down the runway. Be wowed by the new and dramatic couture!

The Amazing Foie Gras Gold Dust Star Burger Created by Chef Sharon Van Meter. Availabe for a limited time at Beckley 1115.For Food In Fashion Is The Bomb
Foie Gras Gold Dust Star Burger Created by Chef Sharon Van Meter only available at Beckley 1115

A minimum of twenty percent of what models wear on the runway must come from the restaurant sponsor. Designers and their restaurant partners agree on what to work with, and the item(s) can be edible or not. The fashion show portion of the event is theatrical in nature. Models will stroll down the runway in a slower pace, so that each showcased outfit and fashionable configuration can be savored by guests. Each “performance” is amplified by the music of the designer’s choice. The fashions will be judged by a panel in the audience and prizes will be awarded to the top designers.

Excellent, first-rate hors d’oeuvres will be prepared by local student culinary teams during the Ben E. Keith Culinary Competition. Both sweet and savory scrumptious fare will be sampled by guests and then will be carefully considered by a scrupulous professional panel of judges. The top teams will be in the running to have a program “wish list” donated by Food in Fashion.

Acclaimed Chef Sharon Van Meter
Renowned Chef, Restaurateur, and Lifelong Philanthropist Sharon Van Meter

Renowned Chef, restaurateur, and lifelong philanthropist Sharon Van Meter created a phenomenal Food in Fashion Foie Gras Gold Dust Star Burger, which will be served all month long at her new establishment Beckley 1115 in Bishop Arts. Partial proceeds from the sale of this burger will benefit Food In Fashion.

Beckley 1115 – one of many event sponsors – is an all-new bright, airy, and quaint neighborhood wine bar that serves delectable bites. Wine, beer, seasonally influenced food, and monthly chef dinners are highlighted. Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, the menu features small plates, sandwiches and salads, large plates, and a wide assortment of sweets, including the daily counter cake. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made online: or by phone (214) 941-1115 or email: The restaurant is located at 1115 N. Beckley Ave., Dallas, TX 75203

Hurry, attendance for Food In Fashion is limited! Tickets may be purchased online: or

Three Ticket Tiers are available:
Super VIP — Reserved Seating/Valet Included: $250.00
Includes front row seating, free valet at the event, and early entry at 6:00 p.m.

VIP — Reserved Seating: $175.00
Includes second row seating and early entry at 6:00 p.m.

General Admission — Standing Room Only: $100.00
Ticket prices above do not include service fee or sales tax.

Restaurant Sponsors: Beckley 1115, Dude Sweet Chocolate, Fletcher’s Original Corny Dog, Freebirds World Burrito, Garden Café, Henry’s Homemade Icecream, Jack in the Box, Lorenzo Hotel, Mr. Phil’s BBQ and Catering, Saint Rocco’s New York Italian at Trinity Grove, Snacks for a Cause and The Original Pancake House.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the 2022 Food In Fashion event. Contact or office (972) 671-4372 | mobile (850) 375-8373

For more information regarding Food In Fashion, contact:
Corey Mobley, Texas Restaurant Association Executive Director, Dallas | North Texas Region by email: or by phone: (972) 671-4372.

Or contact:
Tammany Stern/PR by email: or by phone: (214) 727-6325.

Tammany A. Stern / PR
+1 214-727-6325
Visit us on social media:

Restaurant Reviews DFW

Lombardi Family Concepts Announces the Grand Opening of Lombardi Cucina Italiana

Alberto Lombardi, founder and president of Lombardi Family Concepts, announced that he will be opening a new restaurant at The Star in Frisco, Texas in early 2022. In celebration of Lombardi’s 45th Anniversary as a restaurateur, he will be bringing back his namesake, as his new concept will be called Lombardi Cucina Italiana. As a long standing fixture in the local restaurant industry, Lombardi will bring the same sense of community to Lombardi Cucina Italiana as he has to his many other successful restaurants, such as; Toulouse, Taverna, KĀI, Bistro, Lounge 31, and Penne Pomodoro – just to name a few.

Lombardi Cucina Italiana’s atmosphere will remind you of an open air villa in Italy surrounded by olive trees, Italian marble and Venetian Chandeliers. Their luxurious bar and cocktail lounge is the perfect setting for an evening of relaxation, while listening to live entertainment.

Lombardi Cucina Italiana will be a celebration of authentic Italian cuisine with a modern touch, led by LFC’s Culinary Team; Alfio Longo (LFC Director of Culinary) and Ty Thaxton (LFC Corporate Chef). Their menu will feature a large selection of ‘fatto a mano’ pastas, which will be produced daily in an open style ‘pasta laboratorio’. Offering sustainable and locally sourced products, Lombardi Cucina Italiana will focus on an extensive array of fresh fish, meats and produce.


Some signature ‘piatti’ to to look forward to; Bistecca alla Fiorentina, Branzino al Sale and their housemade Tortelli.

With a vast selection of worldly wines and handcrafted signature cocktails, Lombardi Cucina Italiana will offer a curated beverage program that appeals to every palate. From ‘vini classici’ to rare verticals, the wine list will represent all main wine regions of the world, with a primary focus on the Italian Peninsula. Their forward thinking cocktail menu uses innovative ingredients from the kitchen, such as prosciutto, rosemary and amarene. These food driven cocktails will allow their guests to experience something truly unique.

Lombardi Cucina Italiana will be located at The Star – Frisco, TX • 6655 Winning Circle Drive, Frisco, TX 75034. To receive updates on exclusive events, secret menus, special offers/discounts, loyalty rewards & more, sign-up online at

Restaurant Reviews DFW

Find Out Why Dallas was Named the #1 Restaurant City in the U.S.

As a longtime resident of Dallas, I was thrilled to hear that our city had finally been recognized by a national food magazine as the top restaurant city in the U.S. Since editors at Bon Appetit named Dallas the #1 Restaurant City of the Year in a recent issue, everyone seems to be standing a little taller. That’s especially true of those in the hospitality industry.

“It is an honor to be recognized by Bon Appetit as its 2019 Restaurant City of the Year, and we look forward to welcoming the many visitors this distinction will bring,” said Sam Coats, Interim President and CEO of VisitDallas. “Dallas’ dining scene is as vibrant as ever, and the city’s many talented chefs create a diverse range of cuisines that continue to elevate and bring recognition to a wide range of establishments.”

Find Out Why Dallas was Named the #1 Restaurant City in the U.S.

Photo: Tammany Stern-Best of Guide

The magazine article also singled out Chef Donny Sirisavath and his Laotian food restaurant, Khao Noodle Shop, for high praise. The restaurant was named the #2 Top-rated Restaurant in the Country. Chef Sirisavath was applauded for his made-from-scratch boat noodles and other delicious recipes. Since the Laotian dishes are served on small plates, the food writer recommended their readers should take a group and order everything on the menu. High praise indeed!

Petra and the Beast (brainchild of Chef Misti Norris, pictured with Eric Federlain, Executive Chef of Sevy’s Grill) is another Dallas restaurant that received special recognition in the magazine’s top 50. The small restaurant, located in a former gas station in East Dallas, is decorated with animal skulls. Chef Norris uses a variety of animal parts in her recipes, and oversees a charcuterie board called “Meatums.” The board changes daily, and it’s one of their most popular items.

Grasshoppers Anyone?

Find Out Why Dallas was Named the #1 Restaurant City in the U.S.

Karel Anne Tieszen, a Dallas-based Chef for KXII TV, also teaches a variety of culinary classes in the area. Chef Tieszen said the Dallas restaurant scene is extremely diverse now. She noted that the most difficult question she’s ever asked would have to be “What’s your favorite restaurant?” The only proper response is to fire back with some important questions, like what type of cuisine? What area of the city? A newly-opened place or long-time favorite?

Deep Ellum and Bishop Arts Historic Districts are mentioned in the article as areas known for their diversity. I recently attended a Mezcal pairing at Coco’s Fire & Ice in Bishop Arts, a Mexican restaurant specializing in authentic Mexican food (not your mama’s Tex-Mex) found in Oaxaca. I recoiled when our starter course, chili-grilled grasshoppers, arrived. Some of us may not be ready to explore all the diverse cuisines found in our newly famous #1 Restaurant City in the U.S. Thankfully, they also brought a side of guacamole!

By Jo Ann Holt | October 14, 2019