Restaurant Review: Taverna Rossa in Plano

Queen Margherita pizza. (Photography by Kevin Marple)
Queen Margherita pizza. (Photography by Kevin Marple)

Preston Lancaster spent the summers of his teenage years working at his mother’s pizza restaurant in Springfield, Missouri. She appreciated his help but gave him strict career advice: “Whatever you do in life, do not get into the restaurant business.”

Lancaster was a scratch golfer, and, after graduating from Lake Highlands High School, he received a full golf scholarship to the University of San Diego. He graduated in 2006 with a degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance. If Lancaster had taken his mother’s advice, he could have taken a shot at the pro circuit. Instead, he put down his Titleist blades and, in 2007, bought Palio’s Pizza Cafe, a small pizza restaurant in Little Elm.

After a lengthy phone interview with Lancaster, I wanted to call his mother and enlist her help in conducting an intervention at Taverna Rossa, Lancaster’s new restaurant in Plano. I rolled my eyes at some of his youthful, naïve reflections on the restaurant business.

I asked him how he came up with the concept for Taverna Rossa. “We basically serve the kind of food we like to eat and the kind of beer we like to drink, and we think that is what the people of Plano like, too,” Lancaster says. “We set out to create our favorite restaurant. I enjoy serving people and creating a product to make people happy and have fun.”

He did not mention money, investors, food costs, or a passion for cutting-edge cuisine.  Who gets away with a making-people-happy business plan? More here.