I Fratelli ~ Irving, Texas
When I wrote the review in 2008, that represented our first visit. Since then, I Fratelli has become my go to place for local business in the area. Since all of my DFW co-workers are based in the Plano-Richardson-Garland region, while I'm here in Northeast Tarrant - we needed a meeting place that is halfway. I Fratelli is about 30 minutes away for each of us. As well, the DFW airport location makes it ideal when we meet with partners, vendors, and clients. I Fratelli is absolutely perfect for business: It's local; popular; has a nice bar; easy to get to; plenty of parking; and most importantly - great food. Everyone from out of town asks if we can meet there again.
Drink: Full bar with a couple of local craft brews usually on tap, plus a real Belgian once in awhile.
Location: I Fratelli is in a fine stand alone building that once housed Jack Astor's, a Canadian chain that has since exited the market. It sits on the west side of MacArthur between 161 and I-635, in front of a massive strip mall, and has its own street light to enter to and from. As you enter, it becomes apparent this is going to be a trip back to the 1960s and 70s. Open the door and you get a darkened waiting room (sans chairs) with a handful of plaques containing various newspaper clipping and other accolades. Facing you is another door. Open it up and there's the hostess table. Looking around, the restaurant is dark, with candlelit tables, dark woods and the air of spirited conversation. A welcoming place to be sure, and besides, everyone looks good. The RJG has long complained about restaurants that look like supermarkets with bright overhead lights. Save that for the fast food takeout joints. When I'm dining, I want to focus on food, drink and conversation, rather than noticing scars, wrinkles and spider veins for the first time - my own, that is... In general, I prefer the bar area, which has full table service, and is actually more comfortable than the restaurant proper.
Notes: In 1987, the Cole brothers first opened up I Fratelli just north of where they are located now (note comment and correction from Mervis - their first restaurant was not far from Jimboy's Tacos actually!). At that time, if you wanted Campisi's, one had to go to Dallas. Why not open a similar restaurant near the DFW airport? It was a hit, and the restaurant is enormously popular throughout the area, as evidenced by the proliferation of I Fratelli pizza stores that dot the landscape. This location, however, remains their sole restaurant.
Rating: 5.0. It rarely gets better than this!
Hours: Sunday - Thursday 11 a.m. - 10 p.m; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.