Last month, the Dallas Design District welcomed the opening of Delucca Gaucho Pizza & Wine’s second location. In creating Delucca, owners Evandro Caregnato and Vanderleia Mallman married the pizzeria with the Brazilian steakhouse concept, a.k.a. the churrascaria. The result? A DDD match made in heaven.
We spoke with Caregnato to learn a little more about how this new (and delicious) concept came about, and what makes it the perfect addition to the DDD.
Congratulations on your recent opening in the DDD! How are you enjoying the district so far?
We are loving it. Everyone is so nice and friendly, and you find so many interesting people.
What made you choose to open your second location in the Dallas Design District?
Our concept is very urban, and we wanted to be in a vibrant area with a lot of energy and within a short distance from hotels, business, convention center and upscale apartment complexes. I think the Design District has all of these elements.
Tell us about the history of Delucca.
Today, most people are very familiar with churrascarias (Brazilian steakhouses). This concept was originated in my hometown of Brazil, and I brought the concept to the USA 20 years ago.
I opened more than 60 restaurants around the world, and it always amazed me how successful and well accepted the Brazilian steakhouses were. So I always thought about bringing a different concept that is also from my hometown and very similar to the churrascaria concept, but with pizzas instead of steak.
Delucca is definitely not your usual pizza joint. Tell us what makes your pizzeria unique.
You are right — Delucca is not just another pizza joint. We provide relaxed, casual service but the place still feels sexy and chic, with the smell of burning oak and rosemary, the dim lights and the simple yet elegant decor.
We also take great pride in making everything fresh every day from scratch using only the best and simplest ingredients. Even the fior di latte mozzarella cheese is made in-house, and our dough is proofed for 36 hours or longer. Because of all these elements, there is such great energy in the place when we see so many large tables with friends or family celebrating and having a fantastic time.
There are no menus at Delucca, so what can customers expect when it comes to ordering?
That is one of the nicest things about Delucca: We have no menu, which means that for a fixed price you can sample so many different things and try different flavors and combinations. The moment you sit down, you are welcomed with a shot of a fantastic lobster bisque made in-house and a charcuterie board containing imported cheeses, salamis, olives, roasted and green vegetables.
When you decide that is time for pizza, our pizza servers start bringing more than 20 different freshly baked pizzas directly from the wood-fired oven to your table for you to sample. Once you have had enough of the savory pizzas, we have a few amazing dessert pizzas for you to finish the meal on a sweet note.
Considering the variety of unique and exotic toppings you offer for your handcrafted pizzas, it’s no surprise that your flavors are always changing! Are there any particular topping combinations you always have available?
Many of the current pizzas will be always available. I would never consider taking the Turkish Lamb pizza (without a doubt, the best lamb pizza in the world) off of the menu, nor the Dulce de Leche pizza — they are simply amazing.
But we also have several other topping combinations that are keepers no matter what: garlic picanha beef, elote with Mexican crema, honey sopressata, hearts of palm, chicken catupiry and many others. Oh, and don’t forget the Nutella and the blackberry mascarpone pizzas — they are everyone’s favorite!
Your caipirinhas are not to be missed! Can you explain this cocktail for those who may not be familiar with it?
Caipirinha is the Brazilian national cocktail. It is made with a spirit called Cachaça (similar to rum but stronger and clear in color), fresh-squeezed lime and sugar cane. It is a refreshing but strong cocktail that is drunk anywhere and anytime in Brazil, especially by the beach.
It's also a must-have drink when you go out for dinner with friends. At Delucca, we serve many traditional caipirinhas with lime every day, but we can also make the drink with blackberries or passionfruit.
Dallasites love happy hour + brunch! Are either available at Delucca?
We will be soon offering brunch and a fantastic happy hour. But even now our wine prices are incredible. We have a fantastic wine list with about 50 amazing handpicked wines that you have to see to believe. With such great prices, it is not a surprise to see a bottle of wine on almost every table. Right now we are only serving dinner at the Design District location, but sometime in January, we will also start serving lunch.
What’s your favorite pizza combination at the moment?
I go through phases. Last week it was the Portuguese pizza with hard-boiled eggs, onions, prosciutto cotto, olives, oregano and a nice drizzle of olive oil. But this week I find myself constantly sampling the Pear and Gorgonzola pizza, with extra honey on mine.
Complete this sentence: “The best pizza always has…”
A good friend sitting next to you and a glass of wine. And phones turned off would be great, too!