Dolce Riveria in Dallas reopens after 800 days of closure

The pandemic has taken its toll on many restaurants in Dallas and Fort Worth. Too many closed favorites forever. Too many workers have been laid off. And now that we’re living in the new normal, too many places are feeling the negative impact of supply chain issues and labor shortages. Amid the chaos the hospitality industry continues to face, Southern Italian-inspired Dolce Riveria in the Harwood district is reopening this week after nearly 800 days of closure.

It sounds like an unlikely story. The Harwood Hospitality Group has made the strategic decision to close all of its restaurants during the mandatory restaurant closures in 2020 and to use this time to make changes. For Dolce Riveria, that meant a redesigned dining room, the addition of a wine and cocktail tasting room called The Parlor, and a new menu under Executive Chef Paul Latkowski.

The new Dolce Riveria dining room.
Kathy Tran

“It’s a reopening but there’s energy and excitement with a brand new opening,” Warren Richards, vice president of hospitality at Harwood Hospitality, told Eater Dallas. He attributes the energy to chef Latkowski, who worked with the group’s executive chef, Taylor Kearney, to dream up a new menu focused on upscale coastal Italian fare.

“We’ve doubled our pasta program,” says Richards. “We are going to have nine different types of fresh pasta every day. There’s definitely a seafood-centric focus on the menu, but there’s still plenty of those familiar classics that people enjoy.

Lemon trees add a touch of freshness to the Dolce Rivera patio.  Seats with white and blue cushions rest under them.

The Dolce Rivera patio, with lemon trees floating above the pergola.
Kathy Tran

Part of the reason Dolce Riveria and its parent companies have been able to maintain the restaurant during such a long shutdown is because it owns, rather than rents, all of the real estate in which it operates. This allowed them to pick the perfect time to open to the public again. “As the temperature rises, everyone heads into summer vacation mode and that’s what Dolce Riviera is,” says Richards. “It’s such a beautiful outdoor space and it made sense in this late spring/early summer time for people to come here and feel like they’re on vacation.”

This weather allowed Harwood to rework the patio as well, installing lemon trees that had time to grow in the pergola above. “Personally, for me to see restaurants across the country reopening with these beautiful outdoor spaces — I think that’s something that all of our customers are missing,” says Richards.

He also revealed that the new patio dining area includes a roof that can be opened, weather permitting, to give guests a view of the evening sky.

White upholstered chairs sit at tables with blue checkered tablecloths under the retractable roof on the Dolce Riveria's outdoor terrace

The patio for dining at Dolce Riveria, with a retractable roof.
Kathy Tran

A new addition to the space is a warm and intimate room called The Parlor. Richards explains that the inspiration for the room was the tradition in southern Italy of going for a cocktail or an aperitif between the end of work and before dinner, to open the stomach. But the room only holds 15 to 20 customers.

“The Parlor allows our guests to come to this cozy and intimate hideaway where you can have a cocktail before dinner, but also come back after dinner when the sun goes down,” says Richards.

Le Parlor, a wine and cocktail bar in Dolce Rivera, is an all-wooden bar with moody lights.

Inside the Parlor, a wine and cocktail bar at the Dolce Rivera.
Kathy Tran

The Parlor will serve traditional Italian cocktails, as well as selections from the new cocktail program, and a carefully curated wine selection that reaches for the high end and champagnes. Some are rare wines with a very high price tag, ranging up to hundreds of dollars a glass. It is also available for private parties.

Dolce Riveria is now open at 2950 N. Harwood Street. Reservations are possible from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 5 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

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