Well-known restaurateur Patrick Colombo (Cru, Steel, Ferré, Victory Tavern) plans to open an Italian restaurant in the former Popolos space at Preston and Royal (8411 Preston). The space has been split practically in half — 4,000 square feet went to AT&T and the remaining 3,000 square feet to Colombo’s intriguing new concept. He describes his vision for the new digs as “modern Tuscan farmhouse” where “rustic (beam ceilings, natural stone) meets modern with some contemporary elements.” The menu is focused on wood-fired pizzas (the crispy, Naples style) and housemade pastas, desserts and breads. Chef Kevin Ascolese has worked with Colombo on and off for almost 20 years. His résumé includes stints at Fuse, Ferré and Mi Piaci. When asked why he chose this location for the new restaurant, Colombo answers, “My new concept embraces families, and this is a very family-oriented area. There is a mature family market here.” The name had not been finalized at press time, but Colombo expects to have it nailed down soon. Construction began in May, and the opening is planned for the end of August. “I want to take the time and put the focus on getting everything right; I want this to be a part of the community,” Colombo says.

The Plaza at Preston Center recently welcomed Calypso St. Barth Home (8413 Preston Center Plaza, 214.750.4266) to its bevy of stores. Located just around the corner from its apparel counterpart, Calypso St. Barth Home carries Maison de Vacances bedding, Heidi Merrick textiles, custom upholstered furniture, and signature poufs and rugs. “We have enjoyed such a strong following from the Dallas community,” president Stefanie DiRienzo Smith says. “The small amount of home items we could carry in our apparel store always sold out, so when our manager, Amy, made us aware of a store vacancy, we jumped at it.”

The corner of Hillcrest and Northwest Highway has seen a lot of change with the opening of Elevation Burger and Tasti D-Lite. Most recently, Tiff’s Treats (8611 Hillcrest, 214.613.4700) opened. Started in 1999 by two University of Texas students, Tiff’s Treats has garnered countless fans of its made-from-scratch goodies. Available for pick-up or delivery, it offers 10 flavors of warm cookies plus brownies, ice cream, ice-cold milk and soft drinks.

M Crowd’s marketing guru, Hillary Arzt, tells us that this summer marks Mi Cocina’s (11661 Preston, 214.265.7704) 20th anniversary. Being the original Mi Cocina, the Preston-Forest location will hold the 20th anniversary celebration in July.

The burger and grilled cheese joint Mooyah Burgers & Fries just opened the doors to its latest location at Northwest Highway and Hillcrest (6713 W. Northwest Hwy). Since its debut in 2007, this Plano-based burger-and-fries concept hasn’t stopped growing. By winter 2011, Mooyah will have 25 locations.

Mark your calendars for Kids Cooking Company’s (6025 Royal, 214.265.9949) “Dinner for Dad” June 18 from 10 a.m.-noon or 4-6 p.m. In preparation for Father’s Day, pint-sized students will learn how to make oven-fried chicken, “marvelous” mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuits and triple berry cobbler. One parent or special guest is invited to stay and cook with each child, and the cost of the class is $60.

Celebrity Café & Bakery (10720 Preston, 214.373.0783) now has online ordering and a “Grab & Go” section, featuring select sandwiches and salads freshly pre-prepared, plus some pre-packaged baked goods.

According to Jon Alexis, co-owner of TJ’s Fresh Seafood Market & Catering (11661 Preston, 214.691.2369), we are deep in the middle of crawfish season. “June … is the best time to get them,” Alexis says. “They are bigger and cheaper than anytime in the season.” TJ’s can cater your entire crawfish boil. “We bring the bugs, boiling equipment and staff; the heaviest thing you’ll lift is your beer,” Alexis says. Save the date: TJ’s chef, Chase Cheatham, will be at Taste of Dallas in Fair Park July 8-10.

This month, Jennifer Carr of Jen Rosie Designs (214.876.2466) has started an “Apron of the Month” club. It’s free to join, and every month members have the opportunity to purchase a Jen Rosie apron for only $28 (including shipping), as opposed to the usual $39 per apron. “I will create a new apron every month; it will be totally different from anything that I have online or in stores, and there will be a limited quantity. Once they are gone, they are gone!” Carr says.

Do you know of a neighborhood business renovating, expanding, moving, launching, hosting an event, celebrating an anniversary, offering a special or something else noteworthy? Send the information to livelocal@advocatemag.com or call 214.292.0487.

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