Where Locals Go

Napoliテ「冱 Italian Cafe
& Confectionery

Review by Frank Geslaniテつテつ |テつテつ Photos by Lorraine Haan-Stewart

Itテ「冱 Thursday at rush hour.テつ The commuters are feasting on the construction surprise du jour down at the DFW Connector Project, not on comfort carbs and red sauce.テつ Those smart (or lucky) enough to escape the snarl snag and get an early table at Napoliテ「冱 can get a jump on the sudden dinner rush.テつ In a matter of a few minutes this small Italian eatery goes from buzz to boom.

Napoliテ「冱 can fill up very quickly, so when it was time to expand, owners Brett and Lisa Kinzel jumped to acquire the shop that closed next door. Then they went slightly against expectations. Napoliテ「冱 as you knew it still exists, but it has spawned a second, distinct identity.テつ The Cafe continues to serve crowd-pleasing Italian-American classics, but its sweeter alter ego, the Confectioneryテ「馬early abandons the テ「廬talianテ「 side of the hyphen. It is utterly, romantically American, a fresh and sparkling take on old-fashioned sweet shops and soda fountains.

The Kinzels were inspired by nothing less than a Gulf Coast icon and one of their favorite places to visit, La Kingテ「冱 Confectionery in Galvestonテ「冱 historic Strand. They hope to impart some of La Kingテ「冱 candy-coated wholesomeness to Grapevine.

テ「弩e donテ「冲 want to be pastry chefs,テ「 says Lisa Kinzel.テつ テ「弩e already have a fine bakery across the street.テ「敕つ True, thereテ「冱 an abundance of desserts along the length of Main Streetテ「把upcakes, chocolate truffles, eclairs, bread pudding, frozen yogurt.テつ But youテ「决e not just buying sweets at Napoliテ「冱, youテ「决e buying an experience, something that is at once unique in the thoroughfare and also wholly in line with its historic charms.

Amidst the neatly arranged fudge, gummy worms, chocolate bark and sour belts, thereテ「冱 also some Americana on sale. The Confectionery harkens to a time when sweets were enjoyed with child-like abandon. テ「廳id in a candy storeテ「 almost says it all. For the overgrown kid in me, it says so much more. テつ

It says things like, テ「廩ow outrageously good is this salted caramel gelato!?テ「敕つ Itテ「冱 not a rhetorical question. Iテ「囘 really like to know how they achieved its caramel complexity without scorching the sugar.テつ And whose inspired idea was it to mix in actually bits of caramel?テつ Genius. And, equally fantastic is the pistachio gelato with an undeniableテ「巴ut not overpoweringテ「廃istachio flavor and just enough nutty grit to know they used the real thing.テつ Their fruit sorbettos are not to be ignored. I can think of no better remedy for heat wave malaise than their frosty tang.

Chocolate items nearly cry out from behind the irresistibly lit glass cases. A dark chocolate pecan clawテ「蚤 toothsome layering of chocolate, pecans and caramelテ「琶s one of lifeテ「冱 uncomplicated satisfactions. Further down is a selection of desserts carried over from the cafe. Try the tiramisu or Italian cream cake.テつ I have had tiramisu elsewhere that was so aggressively boozed that it tasted like dry erase markers. Napoliテ「冱 version has a mellowed complexity, just hinting at coconut rum and bourbon. テつ

Their Italian cream cake has an almost homemade quality and Iテ「囘 say thatテ「冱 a good thing. It doesnテ「冲 try too hard to impress with culinary school trickテ「把oconut, pecans, cream cheese frostingテ「琶tテ「冱 all easy to identify and even easier to appreciate.

Perhaps itテ「冱 because the baking responsibilities have fallen to Michelle Mankin, a Kinzel family friend and stay-at-home mom at the start of this endeavor, who now helms Napoliテ「冱 confectionary team. テつ

I can only hope that she continues to keep it simple, because thereテ「冱 nothing so sublimely nostalgic as momテ「冱 cooking.

309 S. Main Streetテつ |テつ Suite 100テつ |テつ Grapevine 76051テつ |テつ (817) 310-0385テつ |テつ www.napolisgrapevine.com