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Alberto Lombardi

Alberto Lombardi is a legend in the Dallas restaurant scene and is now opening his lively spots across the country.

FEATURES

Best of Dallas: Food & Nightlife

By The Editors with Rob Brinkley

Photo by Allison V. Smith

12.27.16

These are the people and businesses that made our city an exciting vibrant place to live. If this was last year, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2017.

The Scene Stealer
It’s impossible to live in Dallas and not be a fan of Alberto Lombardi’s restaurants. There’s family-style Penne Pomodoro, the bustling trattoria Taverna, the Parisian-inspired Toulouse and the crowning jewels of Highland Park Village’s nightlife, Bistro 31 and Lounge 31 (named for the year that Highland Park Village was built). Since 1974, the Forli, Italy, native has made his mark on Dallas on his own terms, much as he did in his formative years. A rebel if there ever was one, he was twice kicked out of schools—once from a Franciscan seminary, no less—and worked in the European service industry as a teen and young adult until a job on a cruise ship brought him stateside. His girlfriend’s job as a hairdresser led him to Dallas, and a job as a waiter at The Grape on Greenville Avenue followed (his nickname there: “Speedy Gonzalez”). His first night in Dallas, at a hotel across the street from Lovefield, a fight broke out in the lobby. “I thought, what is this place? Then I found out it was Texas-OU weekend.” Within two years, he opened his namesake restaurant, Lombardi’s, on McKinney Avenue. “I did everything,” says the father of four. “I bought the food and cooked it, and then I would change clothes and work the front of the house.” There are now a total of 12 restaurants located in Atlanta; Houston; Austin; Laguna Beach, Calif.; Fort Worth; Las Vegas; and Akumal, Mexico; and he’s still not finished. Later this year, he opens additional locations of Toulouse and Taverna, as well as debuts his newest concept, the Asian-fusion City Social in the much-buzzed-about Legacy West in Plano. “I’m blessed to have this crazy personality,” he says. “My biggest dream was to become a maitre d’.”

Dolce Riviera

SECRET GARDEN The gorgeous bar at Dolce Riviera opens onto a lush outdoor terrace.

Until now, it’s been our little secret and that’s why we adore Dolce Riviera, the most perfect clandestine spot just off McKinnon Street and tucked away inside the Frost Bank Building. The latest restaurant from Harwood and the Barbier-Mueller family, it’s inspired by the Côte d’Azur. The beautifully designed interior and the outdoor terrace with its climbing vines is simply transportive, and we’ve come to this conclusion: It’s the easiest way to get to the South of France without ever boarding a plane. 2950 N. Harwood St., Ste. 115, 469.458.6623

Dolce Riviera Photo by Jill Broussard

Dean & DeLuca

Number Crunch: 9,489
The number of square feet Texas’ only Dean & DeLuca store will take up at the new Legacy West development in Plano. The New York City-based gourmet grocer will open its doors early this year and is already getting involved locally. Last May, they were the title sponsor of the Dean & DeLuca Invitational Golf Tournament at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. Just one more reason to head up north.

Reader's Choice
When it comes to getting the party started, these are the premier musical entertainers in Dallas as voted on by our readers.

1. Inversion Band This is one of the most sought-after live bands in the city. With a broad playlist that includes everything from Top 40 to old-school Motown, this 11-piece band can please any crowd, big or small.

2. Andy Austin DJ Andy Austin has worked the city nightlife circuit for years. In fact, he worked his first wedding reception when he was 15 years old. With his experience with improv and as a public speaker, he gets people off their feet.

3. Steffi Burns She looks like a Botticelli painting, but Steffi Burns is a modern master when it comes to spinning tunes.
The Dallas DJ can be heard at galas, venues and maybe even at
your next event. @steffiiburns

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