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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.

8 comments on “Restaurant Review: Taverna Rossa in Plano

  1. This place is not very good. I know half a dozen people that have tried it once and won’t go back. It’s expensive and extremely mediocre.

  2. I know a dozen, so 2X the number of people you know, who really like the place. Five of them are my family so that leaves seven. Seven minus half a dozen is one. Ergo, more people like the place then don’t like the place.

  3. My guess is it’s one of those family friendly places that is just not on the foodie radar.

  4. We tried it a month or so ago and have been back 3 times since! We love the wedge salad, lasagna and pizzas. The atmosphere is also great…just wish they started the music earlier in the evening! The only area that is slightly lacking IMO are the appetizers.

  5. Rodney, this is an interesting point. Not every diner in Dallas has a food radar but they are looking for a place they can take a family and not spend $20 a person. Taverna Rossa is not trying to be anything other than a great neighborhood restaurant with a buy-local sensibility, a better-than-average beer list, and live music. I don’t think anyone from Oak Cliff will drive here to eat but it’s a great addition to the area which is filled with the usual suspects of chain restaurants.
    NN

  6. I’ve been there a couple of times and I have to say that it has been pretty darn good. I had a fig pizza that I still crave. It’s nice to have a place that is trying to support local fare in Plano which is usually known for its big box chain food.