Longstanding Montrose Restaurant Dolce Vita Set to Close Soon
After nearly a year on the market, owner and chef Marco Wiles says that Dolce Vita Pizzeria Enoteca at 500 Westheimer is now sold. He declined to name the purchaser, only saying that it is an investment group. “I have no idea what their plans are,” he said. Sunday, May 24, is the last day for diners to enjoy bites and sips from Dolce Vita. It’s important to note that, like many other Houston restaurants, the dining room is only open at 25% occupancy, per Texas governor Greg Abbott’s current orders for managing the COVID-19 crisis. To-go orders are also available.
Dolce Vita, with its bright red awning, has been a Montrose mainstay for 14 years. As we previously reported in June 2019, Wiles put the restaurant up for sale because he simply believes it’s time to move on. “Through the years my wife and I have made some realty investments,” he wrote in a statement to Houston Food Finder. “Some of them are all of our restaurants. With our kids working and our baby in college, we decided to cash in on some of our ‘chips’ Let’s say this is a bit of an exit plan to retirement!”
Dolce Vita opened in 2006 and was loosely modeled after Mario Batali’s Otto Enoteca Pizzeria in New York City. Three months later, Houston Chronicle restaurant critic Alison Cook declared that Dolce Vita was making “some of the best handmade pizzas served in America.” The pizza accolades just coming through at least 2015 when the Houston Press gave it a Best of Houston nod. In addition, Dolce Vita is known for well-crafted pasta dishes and vegetable-focused small plates that are ideal for enjoying alongside an extensive selection of Italian wines.
Wiles assures us that his other two Montrose restaurants, DaMarco and Vinoteca Poscol, aren’t going anywhere yet — and some of the dishes from Dolce Vita will live on. “I actually totally renewed DaMarco! I have no plans to sell. Poscol will also carry on with some of the favorite items from Dolce Vita, including a new style of pizza,” he said. So, at least that is some news to hearten fans of one of Houston’s most enduring chefs and restaurateurs.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.