Dolce Vita to close doors by end of October

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Maddie Cook, who started working at Dolce Vita at the beginning of summer 2018, is one of many cashiers/bartenders that runs the front counter there in Hyde Park. What she enjoys the most about the job are the regular customers and the surrounding neighborhood.

Photo Credit: Ashley Ephraim | Daily Texan Staff

While you’re saying your goodbyes to the chicken fried steak at Threadgill’s on West Riverside, start saying your goodbyes to Dolce Vita located in Hyde Park. The two beloved establishments will cease operations by the end of October.

The longtime gelato, coffee and cocktail bar located at the corner of 43rd and Duval street is closing its doors after over 26 years of service in Hyde Park. The final day of operation has yet to be announced, but it is set for the end of October, according to Dolce Vita’s Facebook page. The bar did not wish to comment on the upcoming closure.

From college students to longtime Austinites, the community has stepped up to show their support for the 70s style bar tucked right behind Julio’s Mexican restaurant and Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. Cassie Shankman, a long-term resident of Hyde Park during her time at UT, said although she has since moved out of the neighborhood, it is nice to go to a place with a rich history.

“Dolce Vita was my go-to spot for hanging out, for first dates, for a lot of things,” Shankman said. “You could go there and just grab a coffee or a drink and a cheese plate and just cozy up and get to work. It really did make my life just that much sweeter.”

Shankman said now that Dolce Vita is leaving the neighborhood, she won’t be frequenting Hyde Park anymore.

“There is so much change in Austin, but people get used to change,” Shankman said. “Whatever takes its place, people will get used to, but it will take a long time.”

Omar Zia, a resident in the Hancock sector, has been going to Dolce Vita for 20 years. He said neighborhoods such as Hancock and Hyde Park are not just bedroom communities where residents simply close their doors and go to sleep but are openly creative localities that rely on hubs like
Dolce Vita.

“Long-standing incumbent establishments are important for the identity of a neighborhood,” Zia said. “You can count on seeing people you are familiar with and establish a relationship with them, even if you don’t know them well. That really contributes to a sense of well-being for everyone.”

Much like Shankman, Zia said change is inevitable in Austin nowadays. He said he hopes whoever replaces Dolce Vita can respect the situation left behind and try to build an environment that is just
as welcoming.

“I’ll miss the familiarity and repartee,” Zia said. “I won’t say that the closure of Dolce Vita damns us to a sterile and solitary life because these things happen and I’ve seen it a lot over the last 20 years. It is still sad to see them go.”

Hyde Park resident Erin Smith said Dolce Vita is one of her favorite neighborhood spots, because it is one of those places where you can grab a cup of coffee and watch the bustling neighborhood — people waiting for the bus, doing their grocery shopping or working independently on their laptops.

“It always forces me to step outside of myself and appreciate the moment,” Smith said. “I was grateful for the opportunity to live in such a walkable area and will miss it dearly. I hope something just as special pops up in its place.”