Q&A With the Dough Boys

by Steven Doyle

The Dallas outpost for the interesting and much lauded restaurant Dough has been quietly generating plenty of buzz around the Preston Hollow area of Dallas  since opening August 16, 2011. Since then the restaurateurs have been knee deep in dough and mozzarella.

The pizza Brad Liles and Keith Hall are putting out is nothing short of spectacular. It  is exactly like the award winning pizza from San Antonio.  We reviewed that pizza  just before the duo opened their shop in Dallas. But what truly stands out is their burrata. We are so smitten with Dough’s burrata bar that we stopped by for lunch yesterday and chatted with the Dallas owners to discuss cheese and much more.   

How did you happen in the restaurant business?

Keith and I are old telecom guys and have similar corporate backgrounds. We both have this passion for food. It was about ten years ago we hooked up with Bill and Barbara Harris, the Celebrity bakery folks and opened up a store at Midway and Park. Celebrity was sold so we changed over to Chocolate Angel and became a fast casual version of the original location in Plano.  About three years ago we opened up this location [Preston and Forest] with Chocolate Angel Too.

How did you enter the pizza game?

We really liked the Neapolitan style pizza and had heard about Jay Jerrier. We knew about his portable oven and he was one of the owners at Campania in Southlake. We started a conversation back and forth and he saw we closed at 4pm each day. He thought that was a waste of space and offered to do a gorilla deal in the parking lot Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. We wanted to open together in this location but we couldn’t agree on terms, so he moved on.

How did you hook up with Dough from San Antonio?

Jay had mentioned that Dough was one of the best  Neapolitan pizza’s in Texas, so we emailed Doug Horn and proposed we open a Dough in Dallas.  We were actually shocked when they contacted us wanting to open here. We worked out a loose licensing agreement, so this is not a franchise. We went down to work in San Antonio for about eight months. It took that long to have the oven made and shipped to Dallas from Italy.

We heard the oven had some problems reaching Dallas.

We ordered the oven during the rainy season in Italy.  They build the oven literally out in a field, so when it rains they go off and drink wine.  That hurt us for a while. When it finally shipped it hit customs in Houston and they didn’t like the box it was shipped in. The wood was not stamped that it was fumigated so customs was concerned there might be insects aboard, so they ordered it to be deported out of the country

How did you work through that problem?

We were calling everyone we knew and eventually called our Congressman Sam Johnson and they worked with us to have the oven shipped.  It was eight hours before it was to be shipped back

You have a wonderful quality product.

The mission of Dough, if you will, is to give every customer the experience of going having pizza in Naples without boarding a plane. We want to bring in the most authentic ingredients possible the way they have been making it for over three hundred years.  We spend a lot of time looking for that organic produce, the cured meats, the olives we serve on the antipasti platters

Also, Doug has a philosophy that any employee in the restaurant can reject any food going out to the customer.  If any line person, or the dishwasher for that matter, sees something that is not quite right they have the ability to reject the food and start over

Your burrata bar is genius. How do you actually make that?

What we do is smooth out the fresh mozzarella to maybe a half inch thick oval. We take a scoop of the stracciato for the fior di latte burrata and folding it over like a purse and mold it into its shape. Then we pinch off the bottom where the ends meet

It’s a beautiful thing

We work hard to do the same plating Doug does in San Antonio. He is a CIA grad and very much into the details of how things are sent out.

We will be back soon to visit with the Dough boys and find out how they make their pizzas.

11909 Preston Rd
(972) 788-4600

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Filed under Bake Sale, Cheese, chefs, Crave, Dallas, Neapolitan Pizza., Steven Doyle

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