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Dallas Design District shutter makes way for beloved Oak Lawn restaurant comeback

Dallas Design District shutter makes way for beloved Oak Lawn comeback

Bellini's Cafe
Bellini's was a neighborhood favorite for nearly 20 years. Yelp

Bad news first: Foxyco, a Dallas Design District restaurant that was a sibling of Stock & Barrel in Oak Cliff, has closed, as in for good.

Owners Jon Stevens and MG Green originally hinted that the closure might be temporary: On March 24, they posted that they'd be closing Foxyco "for now," stating that it was too difficult to keep two restaurants afloat.

But they subsequently cleared the place out, to the studs as they say, leaving it open for a new tenant. Which brings us to the good news.

Bellini's Italian Cafe, the longtime Oak Lawn neighborhood favorite at its previous location at 3810 Congress Ave., has returned and will take over the Foxyco space at 921 N. Riverfront Dr.

Owner "Lorenzo" Ilir Cakaj confirms that he'll fire Bellini's back up again after a hiatus of nearly three years. UPDATE 6-26-2020: Bellini's is opening on June 26.

"It's been a strange journey," Cakaj says. "We were in that shopping center for 18 years until the landlord sold the property and the new owner made the decision to demolish the shopping center."

The old shopping center where Bellini's used to be is now home to a just-opened Total Wine & More liquor store, with an accompanying parking lot.

Cakaj was on the brink of moving back to New York, where he lived previously — but then the virus happened. "The virus changed everything, and I ended up staying here," he says.

Bellini's was an amusingly charming neighborhood joint with a time-capsule ambience and aspirations that included marble columns and a statue of Bacchus, the god of wine, in a completely non-ironic manner.

The menu featured classics well done, starting with the irresistible house-made bread served warm with olive oil and herbs. Dishes included stuffed mushrooms, spaghetti & meatballs, linguine with clam sauce, fettuccine Alfredo, chicken piccata, and shrimp scampi.

At the new location, he'll be open for lunch and dinner, reprising all of those signature dishes and more including osso bucco, Chilean sea bass, tuna, grilled lobster, lasagna, lobster ravioli, and Bellini cioppino. There'll be a full bar with Bellinis which he makes the old-school way with champagne and peach schnapps. And maybe late-night music on Friday and Saturday nights.

He's currently working on getting inspections done and his liquor license, which he anticipates will come together in a few weeks. If not by then, he may open and serve free wine.

It fulfills a plan he had to relocate to the Design District back in 2018.

"For three years, I cannot go into a store without someone asking me, 'Are you going to open Bellini's again?'" he says.