Mi Piaci to Replace Ocho Kitchen and Cocktails in Park Cities

The road to Ocho-geddon has been paved for quite some time. At first, its food wasn’t impressive. Next, the owners recruited veteran chef Joel Harloff to change the menu. That still didn’t work. Nancy reported in early June that Ocho closed for renovation and remodeling. She also said, “‘If I was a betting man, and I’m neither, I might wager DiStefano has pulled out of the partnership and the menu, which contains some of his creations, is in for an overhaul. Then again, the first time I saw Madonna perform at Live Aid in Philadelphia in 1985 I turned to my friend and said, “This gal is going nowhere.'”

Turns out she’s right. Ocho is gone for good. Remodeling, in the dining world, is code for a restaurant concept change. Mi Piaci Restaurant Italiano, which already has a location in Addison, is opening its second location, Mi Piaci Cucina Italiana, inside the Ocho space. (The owners of Mi Piaci and Ocho are the same.) Staff training is already taking place inside the Addison spot and chef Joel Harloff has already made the switch from Latin cuisine to Italian. He’ll still be going to work at the same Park Cities location every day.

UPDATE: From owner Brian Black: “The owners of Mi Piaci and Ocho ARE not the same. Ocho had a lot of investors and I was one of them. Mi Piaci has been around for 23 years so I know we have been doing something right and are excited to bring the exact level of service and Innovative Italian cuisine to Park Cities. This article really misses the mark even in the “prediction” at the top. Lets get facts straight guys.”–N.N.


  • A. B.

    There is a cute little banner hanging in front of the former Ocho space proclaiming Mi Piaci is coming soon.

  • FoodiePc

    We cannot wait for MiPiaci to open in our backyard!!! Love everything it has to offer.

  • E.R

    I sure hope the service is better than it was at Ocho! With the same people involved I won’t be quick to try it when it opens.

  • AmyS

    If memory serves, Joel worked at one time as the chef at Natura, which was owned by Brian’s mother, Janet Cobb. She was the original founder of Mi Piaci in Addison. I believe their opening chef was Kevin Ascolese, who is now chef at Il Princi at Preston/Royal. Edible history.

  • AmyS

    Or it might have been Mark Morrow as opening chef at Mi Piaci?

  • amanda

    So excited to have a Mi Piaci closer to home and work! It really is a Dallas icon. 23 years and counting! Count me in to eat there!

  • Tom

    Both Chefs mentioned did work at MiPiaci
    But neither was the opening chef.

  • Jeff Barker

    The opening Chef was Helmut Wisseman…..a Swiss German guy with a lot of authentic Italian food experience. The food was AWESOME and the restaurant was very true to its concept. Mark Morrow came a few years later……I hired them both. Jeff Barker

  • Anne Marie

    It was great back then and still is!!!!
    Thanks for the insight. What happened to
    Mark? Never see or hear of him.

  • AmyS

    Yup, Jeff would know. At some point Mark went to Natura (at least according to an old, and complimentary, review in the DMagazine archives).

  • AmyS

    Mark opened a catering company in 1996, and still runs it. http://myhousecatering.com/ABOUT_US.html

  • Jeff Barker

    Mark Morrow just helped out at Natura Cafe from time to time and never was the chef there…..Amy is correct in that Mark opened My House Catering back around 1996 and is still doing that as far as I know.

  • Corky Luxembourg

    Why is Mi Piaci viewed as some intrinsic good? Leslie Brenner wrote an article recently about the sorry state of Italian cooking in Dallas and I couldn’t agree more. Mi Piaci is the poster child for bad Italian fare. It’s the only restaurant in Dallas where I have sent food back because “it’s inedible.” Paper, water, glue, paste, are all words that come to mind when describing their ravioli.
    The wait staff, at their very best, are indifferent. I have had better bellinis at gay bars in Third World countries. Please, someone, tell Mi Piaci to change the cooks and management before they prove once and for all that this space is Snake Bit Permenenté.

  • gabe

    Some great Italian food can be found at Aboca, at Meadow and Central. It is BYOB, makes it’s own homemade bread daily, with a dipping sauce of olive oil, fresh garlic, oregano, basil. Also, wonderful Italian food at the original Prego Pasta on Greenville near Lovers, but they charge extra for garlic bread, and it is not BYOB.

  • AmyS

    I would add the new (original) Momo’s on Forest next to TI. It moved last October or November. BYOB, but nice wine glasses.