On Friday, February 28, Gianpiero Lorenzo and David Pedack were merely setting up chairs outside of their new cafe for a Facebook photo, when a flood of people stopped by and started enjoying the first fruits of their labor. Lorenzo, from Naples, and Pedack intended to open their brand-new sidewalk street cafe at 1520 Elm Street, aptly named Cafe Strada, quietly. But clearly that didn’t happen.
“We completely sold out of gelato!” Lorenzo tells me. On the very first day, the Euro-style cafe ran out of 20 gallons of house-made gelato. The pistachio, black cherry, and hazelnut mocha—all gone. Only a little bit of mango sorbet was left.
Situated inside a charming, earthy blue building, Cafe Strada now occupies what used to be Stone Street Newsstand, between Sol and Campisi’s. It’s directly across from that big eye ball structure that stares into the Joule hotel.
The cafe is open seven days a week, and modeled after Italian street cafes that sell gelato, coffee, cappuccinos, and affogatos. Savory items like German potato salads and Caprese sandwiches offer downtowners some light bites. Everything is made in-house, including the amazing German cheesecake made with curd. It’s light and airy, and not quite as heavy as a cream cheese-based cheesecake. Lorenzo says when it bakes, it puffs up like a soufflé.
Pedack, who’s been in the restaurant and nightlife industry for a while, is a veteran restaurant-opener. He’s done Urbino Pizza e Pasta and Divine Cappuccino in Arlington. “We definitely want to be a neighborhood spot,” he says.
The cafe is open, but the owners still have more plans in mind. They’re still tweaking the menu. In the future, they might bring in chess, magazines, newspapers, and a community board to make it feel more like a hangout place.
1501 Elm Street, Dallas.
Open: Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Thurs-Sat, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.