WAXAHACHIE

A new Italian neighborhood dine-in marketplace, Panza’s Tapping Italy, stands in the downtown Waxahachie square with the aroma of pizzas and Italian sandwiches.

Brian and Teri Panza opened the family-ran café in early November and said it’s been a “delight” operating in the historic downtown district. The entire building was renovated from the new floors, painted the walls and pressed tin ceiling. They even created a loft upstairs where they now live. He agreed, saying it’s like living in New York City.

“We love it. We’ve noticed that we’ve had a lot of neighborhood people and that’s basically what I’ve built my places on are the locals,” Brian said.

Brian has decades of experience running restaurants in lower Greenville like Nero’s Italian and The Prospect Grille. He’s known for the 500 Café he opened in Deep Ellum in 1985.

Stopping in at Panza’s Tapping Italy and grabbing a bite to eat will cost $8 to $10 for either lunch or dinner. For first-timers, Brian will suggest ordering the margarita pizza or a muffuletta, which is an Italian sandwich with different Italian meats. But the main ingredient that makes it unique is “tapenade,” a mixture of olives, that’s spread on it.

Brian said his pizzas are one of a kind and a local won’t find anything like it. Teri said, “It’s a very thin crust and when you have a thin crust like that you need good ingredients, your toppings have to be excellent.” Brian added, “It’s paper thin, and very crispy.”

On the menu are a range of pizzas from cheese, cheese with meat, margarita, veggie and they even sell a dessert pizza.

All the pizzas cost under $5.

A variety of bruschetta is available from your classic tomato and basil to fig with mascarpone. They also sell Italian sandwiches like their muffuletta and caprese, both are served with either chips or portions of pasta, costing under $6.

“I make my own ingredients in some way. I make my own crème fraiche for the margarita. The tomatoes that we put on the margarita, they are cherry tomatoes, I marinate those before I even put them on. It’s a tedious thing but I like it, it makes the quality of it,” Brian said.

With a range of pizzas and sandwiches on the menu, there are also cannolis, biscotti, and pastries that are shipped directly from Italy. Customers can also indulge in bottled or draft beer and a range or Italian wines.

Brian tries to make the most he can from scratch, like his pizza dough and sauce for the pizza are his own recipes.

The café has a selective marketplace too where customers can purchase goods to cook with that are straight from Italy. They sell strozzapreti and orecchiette pasta, pesto and tomato past, Rao’s homemade pizza sauce and much more.

Their number one sellers are the olive oils and balsamic vinegar. Along the wall of merchandise are three testing stations for the oils and vinegar. They sell infused oils and flavored vinegar. They will bottle the preferred liquid in a two-ounce bottle for $3.95 or a five-ounce bottle for $5.95.

“Everyone’s welcome and I’d love for them to try the food. I always guarantee my food. If you don’t like it, I’ll either replace it or give you your money back. But I really encourage people to try the different stuff we have. That’s very important to me,” Brian said.

Panza’s Tapping Italy is open Wednesday, Thursday from 11 a.m. — 8 p.m. and Friday, Saturday from 11 a.m. — 10 p.m. On Monday, Tuesday the Panza’s are catering. It is located at 107 N. Rogers St. Visit them online at panzasti.com or give them a call at 214-869-1269.