Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Vapiano: Dinner and a Show

I had the pleasure of visiting Vapiano, Mockingbird Station's new "fresh-casual" restaurant, last weekend for lunch and a chat with owner Tim McCallum.  In addition to serving up delicious, made-from-scratch Italian pastas, pizzas and salads, McCallum is also committed to making this first Texas outpost of the European chain reflect its unique location.  Here are  just a few of the local touches I loved:

- Texas wine.  Vapiano offers an eclectic array of wines by the glass and bottle.  I was pleasantly surprised to note Grape Creek Vineyards' Bellissimo is on the list.

The restaurant's indoor herb garden

- Local "greens".  Over 1,000 herb plants are growing at restaurant, many surrounding two olive trees transplanted from Bella Vista Ranch in Wimberley.

- Resident artists.  Works by local artists decorate the walls in Vapiano's chic red cocktail lounge and a giant blackboard hangs in the dining room, painted with colorful scenes by SMU art students.

A chef at Vapiano, putting on the "show"

This attention to detail is also reflected in the food - and that's the most important part, right?  All of Vapiano's pastas and sauces are made fresh in-house, and the aforementioned herbs are harvested for use in the restaurant's signature dressings.

And speaking of pasta, one of the most interesting aspects of a trip to Vapiano is watching the chefs prepare your meal right before your eyes.  “Part of Vapiano is the show," McCallum explained to me, with a smile. Utilizing futuristic magnetic induction cooktops, their chefs can whip up a simmering sauce in the blink of an eye.  Add some fusilli and call it a meal!  Limitless choices for customization (make it spicy, try a new pasta, add some chicken or steak, etc.) also make the process interactive.

...Oh, and did I mention that no dish is over $10.95?  In fact, many ring in at around $8.  Nice.  Check out for more info and menus.  



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Josh said...

Josh is the best chef Vapianos has!

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