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Dallas restaurant to reopen after nearly 800 days closed


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Dallas Italian restaurant Dolce Riviera reopens May 12, 2022 after being closed for more than two years, ever since the mandated dining-room shutdown in March 2020 at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dolce Riviera is one of the only remaining restaurants in Dallas that promised to reopen — and will actually do it. Thousands of other Dallas-Fort Worth restaurants, hoping for a rebirth, closed mid-pandemic after rent, labor and safety issues created an unsustainable environment for so many small businesses.

Blood orange granita is added to oysters at Dolce Riviera in Dallas during a peek inside the restaurant 10 days before it opened.(Juan Figueroa / Staff Photographer)

Dolce Riviera is among a portfolio of 10 restaurants from Harwood Hospitality, which operates in an urban area of ​​Dallas between Uptown and Victory Park. You know the Harwood District as the sector near the American Airlines Center where a series of high-rise buildings sprung up from empty fields within the past decade.


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Dolce Riviera, with its spacious patio and Southern Italian menu of pasta and fish, is one of the neighborhood’s most upscale restaurants.

Despite its extended closure, chief operating officer Matthew Minichino says it was never in jeopardy of shuttering altogether.

“Dolce was always coming back,” Minichino says.

Inside the luxury wine bar

The Parlor is a cocktail and wine bar in the evenings, but it serves a second purpose as a...
The Parlor is a cocktail and wine bar in the evenings, but it serves a second purpose as a grab and go breakfast and lunch spot on weekdays, which will be helpful for tenants of the 22-story Frost Tower. Pictured here: the Samurai Old Fashioned.(Juan Figueroa / Staff Photographer)

In the past 800 or so days, executive chef Taylor Kearney has redone the menu, designers have refreshed parts of the restaurant and patio, and Minichino and his team have added a luxury wine and Champagne bar called The Parlor.

We can picture folks clinking glasses at The Parlor, a new space in the Harwood District in...
We can picture folks clinking glasses at The Parlor, a new space in the Harwood District in Dallas. (Renato Rimach)

The Parlor fits 15 to 20 people and will serve hard-to-find wines — some, with a hefty price of $100 to $200 a glass.

The Parlor will use the Coravin wine preservation system so it can open pricey bottles and re-cork them. Beyond rare vintages, The Parlor will sell glasses of wine for $35 to $40 each and a selection of cocktails like Old Fashioneds and martinis.

Minichino describes it as an “intimate cellar” that will be available to reserve for private parties.

During the week, The Parlor will serve breakfast and lunch, grab and go style. Italian bites include biscotti and cannoli in the morning and ciabatta and focaccia sandwiches midday. It transitions to a cocktail lounge Wednesdays through Sundays at 5 pm

Minichino thinks the best place in the restaurant to dine is on the bar/lounge patio, which now has a faux lemon tree reaching above diners’ heads. “I know that’s where I’ll eat,” Minichino says.

Corporate executive chef Taylor Kearney expects the peccheri, a tubed pasta, to be popular...
Corporate executive chef Taylor Kearney expects the peccheri, a tubed pasta, to be popular at Dolce Riviera in Dallas. The restaurant reopens May 12, 2022 after being shut down for more than two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.(Juan Figueroa / Staff Photographer)

Everyone’s talking about Italian food right now in Dallas

When New York City celebrity magnet Carbone opened in Dallas’ Design District in late March 2022, Italian food again became one of Dallas’ most talked-about cuisines. (We also saw a surge of great Italian food a decade ago, too, when Nonna and Lucia opened.)

Bistecca alla Fiorentina is on the menu at Dolce Riviera when it reopens May 12, 2022 in...
Bistecca alla Fiorentina is on the menu at Dolce Riviera when it reopens May 12, 2022 in Dallas.(Juan Figueroa / Staff Photographer)

Dolce Riviera will have some healthy competition as an upscale Italian restaurant in Dallas among a handful of new, good eateries. One of chef Kearney’s changes was to “activate” some of the dining room — “to make it more of a show,” he says.

He clarifies: “We don’t want it to be over-the-top because we think the venue speaks enough for the food. But we want guests to come back, obviously for the ambience but also for the food and service and wine program,” he says.

The pasta, made in house, will feature more seafood. Kearney also added some vegan and gluten-free dishes.

Some core items remain on the menu, like the frutti di mare (a seafood appetizer), gnocchi al tartufo (gnocchi with truffle), whole branzino, and the beloved spaghetti pomodoro. Given the restaurant’s location in a highly-trafficked business district in Dallas, Dolce hosted a fair amount of regulars pre-pandemic, Minichino says. Harwood’s team took that into account when giving the restaurant a face lift.

“I would say that if a guest was coming for a very specific dish, pre-COVID, more than likely it’ll be on the menu — maybe in a new form or fashion,” the chef says.

Dolce Riviera is at 2950 N. Harwood St., Dallas. Valet is recommended but street and garage parking are also available. Reservations recommended but not required for Dolce Riviera and for The Parlor.

Dolce Riviera is open Wednesday through Friday for dinner and drinks, and on Saturdays and Sundays for brunch and dinner. The Parlor is open seven days a week.

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.

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