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

Nanna's Sunday gravy is loaded with tomatoes and braised meats.
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

Bocce's small, minimalist dining room.

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Can't wait to try their Italian Nachos, Tuscany Queso, and Florentine Margaritas! 


Ahhhh, Nanna's Sunday gravy; akin to Pa's Sunday Antipasto, which included everything left over in the fridge.  Italians hate to waste food, and I come by my "thriftiness" naturally.   Nothing like a nice Antipasto, some pasta, stuffing balls and a good old Wilted Salad, replete with Bana Peppers-yum. 

primi_timpano topcommenter

That picture is not very appetizing. That sauce is way too thick and there is too much of it relative to the pasta. But thank you for it, as a picture like that not only saves a thousand words, it saves me the trip to Bocce.

Why is there so little quality italian food in the metroplex?



What?  All that sounds just weird.....and overtly girly.  I've tried many times to do Tex-Mex/Italian fusion, and just wind up abandoning such travails, and concocting regular Medi dishes, which are delicious. 

Besides, Italian Nacho's are just nacho's with a white cheese....big deal?. 



Was thinking the same thing PT!  I find it very rare that folks like pasta drenched in sauce. Then the sauce overpowers everything-the spices, the meats, etc. 

primi_timpano topcommenter

@myrna and Scott: handmade pasta is too delicate for a thick "gravy" and hunks of meat. If it is Sunday gravy you want, go to Carbone's.

I find it ironic this picture resembles the picture of the momo at Everest, but the momo looks good and the pasta with gravy looks chef Boyardee.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@primi_timpano Yes.  That dish is aimed straight at Americans.  In Italy the large chunks of meat are reserved as another course.  The pasta only is served as the pasta course.  A ragù or a bolognese with tagliatelle would be more authentic.

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