Dolce: A touch of Italian by the waterHudson’s newest café is a pleasant little Italianesque affair on a corner between the marina and the boat landing. Dolce is reminiscent of those little eateries along the streets of villages in the Caribbean or Europe, or for that matter Little Italy in Manhattan.
By: Jon Echternacht, Hudson Star-Observer
Hudson’s newest café is a pleasant little Italianesque affair on a corner between the marina and the boat landing.
Dolce, at 106 Buckeye St., on a mild early spring day by the St. Croix River last week is reminiscent of those little eateries along the streets of villages in the Caribbean or Europe, or for that matter Little Italy in Manhattan.
And if the enthusiasm owners Mike and Jeannette Kunz have for the business after less than a week in operation means anything, Dolce is off to a running start.
“We’ve already had repeat business from the marina,” said Mike, 47, whose background is in construction.
“We thought in the beginning we would be doing business at the counter for take-out,” said Jeanette, 41, an interior decorator, “but people like to be served.”
The café has seating for 50 people inside at stylish chrome tables and chairs and seven tables of four on the patio. In the early afternoon last Thursday with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s, all customers were enjoying alfresco dinning.
Mike and Jeanette are residents of North Hudson and first-time restaurateurs although they have done their time as food industry employees in the past. They took a month to fix up and equip the space before opening on May 1.
“We looked at other people’s kitchens,” said Mike. The couple checked out and used equipment in established places.
The experience led to purchasing a new piece of equipment. “We can cook a homemade pizza in two minutes,” he said. “It takes me longer to make one than cook one.”
The Turbo Chief oven’s technology uses a variable-speed blower and impingement heater. “Depending on what kind of toppings is on the pizza, it will bake between two minutes and two minutes, 40 seconds,” said Mike. “I don’t know how to explain it but it’s the best investment we made.”
“It creates a 60 mph wind,” said Jeanette.
They also had a couple of dress rehearsals. “The Wednesday and Thursday night before we opened, we had a free night for friends. We served 30 the first night and 100 the second,” Mike said.
They offer a limited delivery service for the marina and immediate downtown area. “We have a golf cart for deliveries,” he said.
The menu features appetizers, “The Italian chicken wings are the most popular,” said Jeanette, along with salads, soups, sandwiches, panini and 14-inch pizzas. There is also a menu for kids under 11.
Desserts include tiramisu and gelato, and the establishment offers a substantial wine list.
Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday-Sunday. It is closed Tuesdays. For more information, contact Dolce at (715) 381-1200.