With a name like Cibo Divino, which means "divine food" in Italian, you might assume Italian chef Daniele Puleo's new market, wine bar and casual eatery must have been inspired by his upbringing in Sicily. You'd be wrong.
"This is not Italy," he says. Italian markets are much smaller.
The farmhouse chic space is actually this Italian chef's homage to Napa Valley gourmet market Dean & DeLuca.
"I've been in love with Dean and DeLuca all my life," Puleo says on Friday, when the market opened. Customers can grab fresh-cut flowers, wine, pasta and house-made sauces, sandwiches and traditional Italian dishes. Tables inside and out are available; customers can also take groceries and prepared dishes to go.
Puleo is the former owner of Daniele Osteria in Dallas and Inzo Italian Kitchen in Roanoke and Fort Worth. He and his wife Christina Puleo are excited to be out of the traditional restaurant business, he says.
"I think people are getting a little tired of restaurants," he says. "They can be so boring. The big action is at the bar." He says Cibo Divino is his stab at bringing a more exciting food experience to Dallas.
Here are some things to know about the new spot:
There's nothing in West Dallas like this new place.
Those who dig the quick, pre-made meals at Central Market, Eatzi's or Green Grocer might like Cibo Divino. Daniele Puleo is quick to point out that this new market is not an Eatzi's, and he's right: There are many dissimilarities. But it is a quick place to get gourmet food, and Oak Cliff and West Dallas sorely needed a market like this one.
Ask for the "secret cellar."
On the floor of the market, Puleo is selling more than 300 wines made in California or Italy only. He's also keeping a stash to the side that he calls his "secret cellar" -- a group of special-reserve Italian wines you can't buy unless you ask for them specifically.
Pizza delivery is coming soon.
Puleo's team makes Neapolitan-style pizzas in an 850-degree, gold tiled oven. (The oven's a stunner, and it's one of Puleo's greatest prides in the new shop.) Wait a month or so and you won't have to leave home to get Puleo's pizzas. He'll hire delivery drivers soon, he says.
Also coming: 24-karat-gold pizzas. Really.
It's not available yet, but Puleo is working on a pizza that's topped with 24-karat-gold edible leaves. They're part of an homage to his shiny gold oven.
The chef will offer wine and cooking classes.
Puleo plans to host cooking classes once a month to "teach people what we do here," he says. One class might be a lesson in making risotto; another might be Puleo's tips on pizza dough. Wine classes will also be monthly, hosted by Italian winemakers. Smaller, informal wine tastings will take place every Saturday, noon to 3 p.m., in the store. Those will be free.
Stay for a glass of wine.
You can stop in for a pizza, or a taste of Puleo's arancini (rice-and-bolognese filled balls), or take some sauce and pasta and be on your way. But don't do that: Stay for at least one glass of wine. The market has indoor/outdoor walls that open up to a spacious patio. On a pleasant afternoon, sipping a glass of wine at the Cibo Divino bar has to be one of the best ways to enjoy this growing West Dallas neighborhood.
1868 Sylvan Avenue, D100, in the Sylvan Thirty complex, Dallas. Open now, Monday through Sunday, 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. 214-653-2426. cibodivinomkt.com.