Louisianians call it a po'boy. Philadelphians order hoagies. New Yorkers might say it's a sub or a hero or a wedge. But, for most New Englanders, it's a grinder. And, North Texans no longer have to travel to Rhode Island to try that state's number one recipe.
Shayna's Place, a breakfast and lunch shop lauded for its Vinny's Kitchen sandwich — which USA Today readers voted as the state's overall best grinder in 2017 — has opened a second location in Dallas' Sylvan Thirty neighborhood.
Why Texas? Why Dallas?
Owner Lou Olerio says he came here to attend SMU in 1995 and never left. Over the years, he worked in the construction industry and was a passive investor in a couple of restaurants; as the original Shayna's Place grew successful, he saw an opportunity to expand the concept to West Dallas.
"It seemed perfect for a family-oriented local restaurant," he says.
The family part is key. The restaurant is named for Olerio's cousin Shayna, a young woman with Down syndrome who is "the ultimate foodie" with an "extraordinarily diverse palate," according to the RI location's website.
She collects cookbooks and likes learning family recipes — the prosciutto-and-provolone-stacked Vinny's Kitchen grinder is named in honor of her grandmother — and, that passion inspired the original Shayna's menu.
In Dallas, you'll find those recipes with Italian roots and other options that aren't easy to find in North Texas such as New England clam chowder (when the right ingredients can be sourced); bagels smothered in Atlantic smoked salmon, capers and cream cheese; and, a sandwich with lightly breaded eggplant — one of Shayna's favorite things to eat, Olerio says.
Decadent as those regional favorites sound, much of the menu is dedicated to healthy ingredients like avocados, sprouts and multigrain breads, and the drink menu includes a lengthy section of fresh raw juices featuring beets, ginger, kale and cucumber.
For balance, most greener choices are outfitted with rich aiolis and chutneys, and you can enjoy a caffeine fix from coffee and espresso drinks brewed with beans from Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters and craft sodas from Oak Cliff Beverage Works.
Despite some earlier reports, Olerio says the Dallas shop isn't currently employing people with special needs. He may consider those roles in the future, he says.
The shop, which is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, features indoor and patio seating.
Scroll through for a glimpse from Friday's grand opening: