Highlighting the local chefs and restaurants that rock.
Tucked away in white brick on Main Street is Round Rock’s very own taste of Italy, Palermo Pasta House. When you walk inside this cozy dwelling it’s as if you have been transported to Italy. The smells of fresh pasta and pizza fill the air, as the sounds of Jazz and Tango play, a nod to the owner’s Argentine roots. After you take your last bite of your made from scratch meal, you will be dreaming of the next time you can visit Palermo Pasta House.
From Argentina to Round Rock
Opened in 2015, Palermo Pasta House is the creation of chef and owner Antonio “Tony” Giner. Before bringing the tastes of Italy to Round Rock, Tony grew up in Southern California and his parent’s home country, Argentina. His unique heritage spurred him on to travel the world exploring the cuisines of Argentina, Europe, and Mexico. As a self-taught chef, and business major, Tony decided to open a restaurant of his own. In 2002 he opened an Italian wood-fired pizza restaurant in El Paso, Texas. The choice to serve Italian cuisine was natural as Argentina is made up largely of people with Italian descent, “We don’t have ‘Italian food’ in Argentina. We just call it food because it’s part of our cultural heritage” explains Tony.
In fact, the name “Palermo Pasta House” speaks to this history as ‘Palermo’ is the name of the biggest neighborhood in Argentina, and the capital of Sicily.
After over a decade in the restaurant industry, Tony decided to formalize his training at the Culinary Institute of Mausi Sebess in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He earned the title of professional baker and pastry chef and was eager to bring his culinary skills back to Texas.
Tony was immediately drawn to the city of Round Rock. With a rapidly evolving restaurant scene and the friendly atmosphere, he knew it was the perfect location for Palermo Pasta House. The Round Rock community could not be more thrilled to have some of the most authentic, and delicious Italian food in Texas.
Behind The Scenes
What is Chef Tony’s secret behind these delicious dishes? The secret is revealed with a peek behind the Palermo kitchen.
In order for Tony to create Palermo’s mouth-watering Lasagna Bolognese and Fettuccine with Marsala Mushroom Cream, he starts his day grocery shopping. The Palermo kitchen does not have a freezer, so all of the ingredients are extremely fresh and bought daily. With those ingredients, the magic happens in the kitchen. Tony starts by making the thin crust, hand-tossed dough for Palermo’s artisanal pizza’s, or “pizza ala piedra.” These tasty pizzas are cooked to perfection on a pizza stone. Topped with hand-grated cheese and if you like your pizza a little meaty, fennel pork sausage prepared in house.
Next, Tony begins cooking for one of the main stars of the show: Palermo’s fresh pasta. There are seven different pasta shapes that Palermo makes from scratch including spaghetti, fettuccine, taglierini, fusilli, rigatoni, bucatini, and ravioli. However, no pasta dish is complete without a delectable sauce. Lucky for you, Palermo offers 28 different sauces to explore. Tony first creates a base for the sauces from tomatoes packed in juice and basil that he peels himself. From these bases or “mother sauces” in the words of Tony, he is able to create red, cream, and mixed sauces (like pink tomato basil, yum!) Pick your favorite pasta, sauce, and toppings to create your dream dish!
Don’t forget to finish your meal with dessert, like a house-made cannoli.
What To Order
With so many delicious options to choose from you might be wondering, what should I order? We asked the chef himself this very question and here is what he recommends:
Palermo Appetizer Plate
Start your meal off by enjoying an appetizer like you would in Italy with the Palermo Appetizer Plate. This assortment is perfect for the table and includes items like cheese, assorted olives, Italian ham, and prosciutto di parma. Pair with a glass of wine and you won’t want your meal to end!
Sugo with Ravioli
If Tony could pick one meal off of the menu for you to try it would be his favorite menu item: Sugo with Ravioli. This is an authentic Argentine Italian dish that Tony describes as, “simple, but it’s a combination of flavors unlike anything you will try.” Sugo with Ravioli is made with fresh stuffed ravioli pasta and topped with a sugo sauce made from the braising juices from Palermo’s veal short ribs. Delizioso!
And if you are dining with vegan and gluten-free friends, they will have tasty options to choose from as well!
A Trip To Round Rock
You don’t need to escape to Italy to enjoy authentic Italian cuisine. Set aside your passport, head to Round Rocks Main Street, and pop into Palermo Pasta House. A cozy atmosphere and rave-worthy dish awaits you, ci vediamo! (See you soon!).
Additionally, Palermo is now open for dine-in with reduced occupancy, curbside pick-up, and delivery for you to enjoy.
Are you craving something besides Italian? Regardless of your preference, Round Rock has something for everyone! Check out our dining page to see all that Round Rock has to offer.