Photography by Haley Hill
Preston Hollow felt like a movie neighborhood much of the time for Dalya Romaner. As a kid she spent weekends playing in the Kramer Elementary playground and later rode her bike on the Cottonwood trail. Her favorite spot was the Purple Cow at Preston Royal Village before it closed, and her favorite day of the year was shopping with grandma at Neiman Marcus to buy outfits, followed by lunch at the Mermaid Bar. She even took her senior photos in the NorthPark courtyard. The 24-year-old’s first job after graduating from Southern Methodist University was at Omniplan, the architecture firm that designed the mall. Now she’s public relations director at Eataly Dallas, the most-anticipated opening of 2020.

“My go-to neighborhood spot where I still spend a lot of time is NorthPark,” Dalya says. “I know this mall inside and out, backwards and forward. It’s really fun to be back here working for Eataly.”

She first experienced Eataly in Boston, while studying at Brandeis University.

“I spent hours walking around and exploring all the shelves, and then my friends and I had dinner there and the love affair continued,” she says. “So I have tracked Eataly since that experience.”

What makes it even better — her father, Ron Romaner, is a pizzaioli, pizza-maker, at Eataly’s Pizza alla Pala. He’s come full circle since his very first job at 14, washing dishes in a pizza joint.

The 60-year-old baker previously ran a café at his children’s school and a small baking operation.

“I had done a bit of research about the company,” Ron says. “That, coupled with Dayla’s impressions, convinced me that this was a company with strong values, a family feel, and they support local businesses.”

The 60-year-old baker ran a café at his children’s school and a small baking company before coming to Eataly.

“It makes me so happy to walk into work every morning and see him. I get to say hi, catch up and then get to work,” Dalya says. “He ran his own baking business for the last couple of decades, so I have always helped him in the kitchen, so it makes me proud and happy to feel like I’m back in the kitchen with him again, even if I’m not baking.”

Ron moved to Preston Hollow in 1995, and says his day consist of “pizza, pizza, pizza.” Part of Dayla’s focus is making sure Dallas’ existing food culture is incorporated in everything Eataly Dallas does.

Fast Facts

46,000-square market includes three restaurants and individual counters for cheese, meat, bread, fish, pastries and gelato. The takeaway counter serves hot and cold meals.

Terra: A wood fire grill concept heavily focused on meat. The pollo intero, a three-day brined chicken that’s steamed, smoked and scorched, is specific to the Dallas location

La Pizza & La Pasta from Campaigna imported dry pasta to black truffle and mushroom cream pizza.

Il Pastaio is a sit-at-the-counter pasta and wine bar.

The first Eataly opened in Turin, Italy in 2007 and no two locations are quite the same. They’re not making brisket-in store but the butcher counter sells it, despite not being a traditional Italian ingredient. Just as you wouldn’t see as an extensive fresh greens selection in Eataly Flatiron, you won’t find upstate-New York produce in Dallas. If it’s not made Texas, it’s most likely from a small Italian producer in one from the country’s 20 regions.

Ron hopes other places will realize the value of supporting local providers and getting involved in their community. The majority of the store’s 400-plus employees are local. More than anything, it says a lot about the developing culinary scene here. Dallas was named Bon Appetit’s Food City of the Year in 2019. Ten Dallas chefs were on the James Beard nominee list in 2020. Petra and the Beast, Bullion, Lucia, Regino Rojas of Purépecha and the French Room all received national nods. Stars of the culinary world are flocking here to open high-end joints.

“We have watched our food get more sophisticated and interesting over time,” Dalya says. “So this is validation for everything we believe about how amazing our food scene is here.”

There was a steady line all day to get into the market the first week it opened. Reservations to Terra were booked through the end of December almost immediately.

“You can’t help but fall in love with that kind of passion,” Dalya says. “I was already a big believer in the brand and its products, but now I have seen the behind-the-scenes and I believe in it even more.”