After 28 years of managing restaurants for an established brand, Carlos Smith took a chance by bringing a new fast-casual Italian venture to Texas.

Smith was a joint venture partner managing nine restaurants for Outback Steakhouse before a former coworker introduced him to Mici Handcrafted Italian, which is based out of Denver. The coworker is the chief operating officer of Mici Handcrafted Italian. After trying the food and observing the fast-casual concept that delivers convenient artisan food, Smith was ready to make the next career move with restaurants of his own.

“Leaving what was comfortable has allowed me to spread my wings,” Smith said. “The concept itself and the food is just fantastic. I have been in the restaurant industry for 38 years, and this concept is not something I have seen.”

Mici Handcrafted Italian launched in 2004 and now has nine locations in three states. The company recently expanded into franchising, and Smith will open 15 restaurants in Texas. His first one in west Frisco opened July 18. Mici’s menu includes pizza, pastas, salads and desserts.

“Great Italian food is about high-quality ingredients and proper cooking technique,” Partner and Chief Growth Officer Matt Stanton said. “We’ve focused our menu on creations where the time is in the preparation but not the creation after an order comes in. This way customers can get artisan food fast.”

Mici Handcrafted Italian offers dining services but also relies heavily on pickup and delivery orders. Once the restaurant has established its presence in the community, 60%-70% of sales will be takeout and delivery, according to Smith.

“Customers are loving it,” Smith said. “Every customer I spoke with has stressed to me that they're glad that we're here, and they love the quality of food that they do receive for the price. So it's fast, casual, great food.”

Now that the west Frisco location is open, Smith is ready to continue bringing the concept to Frisco, Little Elm, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Prosper, Celina and Denton, where he has franchise rights. He plans to open his next two stores in Prosper and McKinney.

“Now that the final product is done, I am just ready to do No. 2,” Smith said.

Mici Handcrafted Italian

8244 FM 423, Frisco


Hours: Mon.-Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.