A First Look at Bocce, a BYOB Italian Spot That Opens This Weekend in Oak Cliff

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A new, small Italian restaurant opened in Oak Cliff recently, but a grand opening is set for this weekend. Owners Donna and Robert Rice describe their menu as southern Italian and the restaurant is BYOB.

Don't take the name too literally; there are no Bocce courts to be had. The moniker is meant to evoke a favorite family past time of the Rice's, while the menu is inspired by their love of eating.

I sneaked in earlier this week because menus with Sunday gravy on them tend to freak me out a little. "Gravy" references a tomato sauce not embraced by southern Italians, but by northern Italian Americans. Immigrants made use of odd cuts from the butcher and leftover meats to make a sauce for Sunday supper. It was a way to clean out the refrigerator and spin up a huge meal on the cheap. It's also delicious.

The Rice's use sausage, meatballs and chunks of beef cooked until they're fall apart tender, and then they toss it with pasta that's made right in the kitchen. That's not all that's homemade. There's bread, too. A basket hits the table and a whole loaf studded with bits of olives and rosemary perfumes the air.

All the pasta classics are represented from the pappardelle bolognese, to manicotti, to lasagna and spaghetti and more. They've also got subs and other Italian-American sandwiches on the menu.

The dining room doesn't inspire much, but the smells wafting through it do. And any time a kitchen takes handcrafting ingredients to this degree, it's always worth a look.

Bocce, 244 West Davis St., (214) 943-1714, bocceoffbishop.com

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