When….the…moon…hits…your…eye…like…a big-a’…pizza pie….
Just a few weeks ago, this was a cute little Mom & Pop dining destination on the main thoroughfare (yes, Main Street) in downtown Grapevine, Napoli’s. The pizzas were good, and you could get a nice meatball or eggplant sandwich at lunchtime. For dinner, pizza was a popular choice.
I’ve always been fond of their eggplant parmesan sandwiches, and the gelato selections in the little room they opened some time back next to the dining room are lovely.
Owners Lisa and Brett Kinzel have expanded the space, re-decorated and re-furnished and created a top-notch restaurant that reflects the growing sophistication of the area. They’ve added a bar. Homemade Italian cakes line the deli case in the front, where the chocolates – which they will eventually upgrade, too – are on display.
The eggplant sandwich is now a real Italian grinder, sub or whatever I used to be able to properly call it when I lived in New York. Even in LA, it was hard to get anyone to understand how a piece of properly breaded eggplant on a beautifully grilled roll — and not drenched in marinara sauce or served as the ubiquitous suburban panini — was supposed to look and taste.
It’s here. I just had one for lunch. That’s amore!
With the help of consulting chef Ted Reemtsma, the Kinzels have tweaked the menu mightily. King salmon, for instance, is wild-caught while produce is local and organic whenever possible. Pizzas and sausage rolls are puffier than ever and will easily trump anything available in the area that is passing for pizza. Several house made pastas have been added.
Everything is an upgrade.
The beautifully house made desserts aren’t perfect looking, and that is a compliment, coming from me. I love handcrafted. But most of all, I love authentic. These are my favorite kind of authentic, with good ingredients. There is a rich, fruit filled Sicilian cassata — and a lemon cake layered with the silky filling, from-scratch batter and soft, rustically poignant kind of icing someone’s Italian grandmother might have labored over before every home cook in American owned a Kitchen Aid mixer.
I’ve eaten cakes like these before. But not in Texas.
Homemade Limón cello, in Grapevine? Yes, please.
Along with handcrafted Bellinis and Negronis, Brett Kinzel is expecting a truckload of Italian reds from famed Piemontese small-production winemaker Angelo Gaja, whose offerings sell for up thousands of dollars per bottle. He plans to price these by the glass at $20 to $50 – and sometimes more — a pour.
It shouldn’t be long before the streets of Grapevine are lined with Teslas.