I say this with love: Flower Mound is a desert when it comes to good food. Very few non-chain restaurants are able to survive and thrive in this northern suburb, and places like Empress of China are your best bet along Justin Road. Lunchtime options, if you’re not into Subway and Chick-fil-A, are basically nonexistent. It’s a little sad.
But now, hope comes in the form of Dolce Cafe Bakery at 1913 Justin Road. When the small, independently owned place opened next to the Village Church, it came as a real shock. Here was a restaurant so different from all the other surrounding joints, it didn’t make sense. But then again, it did. Flower Mound people were starved for something cool, and after December 9, Dolce’s first day, they started trickling into this Italian bakery and restaurant, eager to try something new. Word spread quickly about the tasty house-made artisan breads, savory scones, and coffee.
The entrance to Dolce opens to a beautiful carbohydrate display. There’s focaccia, walnut raisin bread, pugliese, ciabatta, and so many more anti-Weight Watcher breads available. They’re all made fresh daily, and they’re the perfect item to take to a house-warming party. Bring some jam or cheese spread, and you’re good to go. You’ll be the most popular person at the shindig.
But Dolce, owned by Catherine Vexler, is more than just a gourmet bread stand. It’s also a cafe, where beans are roasted on-site. Order a cappuccino with a side of mascarpone cheesecake topped with blueberry compote, and life will look sweeter. There’s a pretty, rum-forward tiramisu that everyone needs to try; a hazelnut croissant that my friend is in love with; and a napoleon filled with vanilla bean cream that I plan on attacking next time. But save room for the savory good stuff. The scones come sweet or salty, but I personally prefer the sun-dried tomato. Flavors change every day.
Owner Catherine Vexler’s family hails from Sicily, and she wanted to make sure she brought a little slice of Italy to Flower Mound. Hence, the 5-8 different kinds of house-made gelato we can look forward to this spring. During lunch hour, families fill up the dining area. They dig into their four-cheese pizzas and panzanella salads. Jeanette Moore, the director of operations and marketing, says, “Every single thing we make for our panini… everything is made from scratch. We use European butters, we use our own flours that we bring in, and we have our own herb garden out back. We don’t use anything frozen.”
The creamy tomato basil soup, which comes with fresh tomato chunks, comes with an order of panini. It’s a perfect remedy to this crazy winter weather we’re having. Most grilled chicken panini usually err on the side of dry meat patties that make your mouth ache for water. Dolce’s is the opposite. It’s juicy and tender. I can only complain that there wasn’t enough between my ciabatta halves.
Service here is friendly and all the employees are super affable. By my second visit, two of them recognized me, greeted me with smiles, and jokingly asked if anyone would be joining me. They all go above and beyond their duties to make you feel comfortable and happy, without being creepsters. It doesn’t take long for them to coax you into buying another dessert, too, so beware. These guys are good. Really good. Their love for Dolce is infectious.