La Stella Cucina Verace will takeover the Flora Street Cafe space in the Arts District. Kathy Tran

News Bites

News Bites: Italian Restaurant Replaces Flora Street Cafe and El Centro Freshman Dubbed World Food Champion

SideDish’s weekly digest of need-to-know dining happenings in Dallas.

Welcome to SideDish’s weekly dispatch of need-to-know News Bites, from quiet closures to opening updates and everything in between.

La Stella Cucina Verace Headed for the Arts District

If you’ve strolled down Flora Street recently, you might’ve spied papered up windows announcing a forthcoming restaurant: La Stella Cucina Verace. The restaurant, helmed by chef Luigi Iannuario, promises authentic, regional Italian fare. Expect, then, imported prosciutto that’s hand sliced tableside, house-made pastas, and a dry-aged meat program. Can it really replace the house that Stephan Pyles built? Probably not in the same way. But it’s nice to have another pre- and post-event dining option in the Arts District. Dallas Morning News has a few more details here.

Val’s Cheesecakes Closes on Maple Ave.

Owner, baker, and cheesecake maker Val Jean-Bart, tells DMN, that he’s outgrown the small dessert shop in Oak Lawn next to Grapevine Bar. It posted up inside the sweet shack for more than six years, but will close on November 21. The location on Greenville Avenue, now its standalone bakery, will remain open.

Villa Azur Is Dallas’ Latest Nightclub-Restaurant

Inside the W Hotel, the white and blue interior of Villa Azur evokes a Mediterranean-meets-South-of-France feeling. It’s exactly what co-owners Jean-Philippe Bernard, Michael Martin, and Paul Breuza envisioned: a place for fine food and fun. On the food front, there’s executive chef Carlos Torres, whose menu includes cognac-flamed Dover sole, seared octopus, and truffled-up burrata. As for the fun, at 10:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays Villa Azur “transforms from a glamorous and upscale dining room into a nightclub, where guests can dance to DJ entertainment, live saxophonists, dancers, and more,” per a press release. More at DMN.

El Centro Culinary Freshman Bests the Pros at the World Food Championships

Preston Nguyen is a culinary student at El Centro. Nguyen can now add to his resume: World Food Champion. When the WFC rolled through Fair Park earlier this month, chefs, amateur and professional alike, vied for the coveted title and cash prize. With his parents by his side—literally, Peter and Emma Nguyen were his sous chefs for the competition—Preston Nguyen was named the 2021 World Chef Champion. (Jean Francois Fortin of the Fairmont Hotel Dallas took second place.) Next, Nguyen is destined for the final round of WFC in South Carolina later this year. Read the full recap from The Dallas Observer.

The Silos of Celina

If Celina, some 40-odd miles north of Dallas, isn’t already on your places to visit, it soon might be. There’s a “booming food scene,” reports Dallas Morning News, where a set of unutilized silos will be transformed into a whiskey and wine bar and restaurant. It won’t open until perhaps spring of next year, but when it does, The Silos will have a huge outdoor patio and an upscale lounge with crowd-pleasers: pizzas, burgers, tacos, and charcuterie boards.

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