Winner of Bravo’s Best New Restaurant competition, Dolce Italian will open its first Georgia location in Buckhead Atlanta in August. A Miami location opened in 2013, and plans are in the works for a Chicago outpost as well. The restaurant is the signature of LDV Hospitality, founder John Meadow says. Diners can look forward to house-made pastas, Neopolitan pizzas, seasonal salads, and more. Meadow offers a glimpse into the company’s plans below.
Who is chef?
Paolo Dorigato is the executive chef. He was with Le Cirque and Cipriani. We’ll have a local chef de cuisine (who we haven’t finalized yet), too. It works differently than the new American restaurant. It’s not about the gimmicks or artistry of one person’s culinary point of view. From my perspective, there’s only one approach to spaghetti pomodoro.
How will the menu differ from the Miami location?
It will be quite similar. It’s a modern Italian restaurant, and the true, authentic Italian cuisine is rooted in Mother Nature and taking the best ingredients and letting them speak for themselves. Miami, New York or Atlanta—it’s the same philosophy. I don’t know how to cook, but I could write this menu. It’s about level of execution, finding the best local farms, and sourcing the right product. A lot of it we do source from Italy.
What’s your favorite item on the menu?
The veal chop Milanese. It’s as simple, straightforward, and indulgent as can be. It’s savory, hearty, comfort food at it’s best.
How does the mozzarella bar work?
We make all of the mozzarella to order. You get to select your accoutrements, and the cheese comes out warm and super creamy. I like to have it with our meatballs. It makes for a fantastic, gluttonous meal.
Tell me about the pizzas.
We use a Neapolitan wood oven and cook them to 900 degrees so they’re crispy on the outside and chewy inside. I wouldn’t dare compete with my friend Giovanni di Palma of Antico, but at the same time, we have a good pizza you’ll enjoy.
Who will be behind the bar?
Julio Cabrera, the head bartender for company, is developing the bar program. Wine is a critical component to the Italian cuisine, but every time I come to Atlanta, I end up drinking something brown, so we’ll definitely be developing a specialty cocktail program specific to Atlanta. We’ll have the Italian classic cocktails like an aperol spritz and barrel-aged negroni, but can also be more playful.
What will the atmosphere be like?
It’s not just another fancy restaurant. There are three components: the bar and café are in the front— where it’s a hint more casual and you might come in for a juice or a glass of prosecco—the main dining room, and the outdoor verandah overlooking Hermes. It’ll be inviting, warm, and comfortable, with smart mid-century modern furniture and teak wall paneling. There’s an elegance and femininity to the space.
You mentioned juices. How do they fit into the concept?
Authentic Italian food is an olive oil-based cuisine. That whole healthy consciousness eating plays well with what we’re doing here. Considering the environment in Buckhead Atlanta with the fancy shops and Spanx headquarters, we think it makes sense to incorporate the juices.