Marco Wiles Divorces the Woodlands: Dolce Vita Closed

Last month, Marco Wiles told me over lunch how frustrated he had become with clientele at his satellite Dolce Vita location in the Woodlands at 1701 Lake Robbins Drive. Customers were coming in and leaving as soon as they saw that Wiles didn't have Bud Light on draft. They were demanding Ranch dressing for their pizza. Their kids were disappointed that there was no Skee-Ball.

"This isn't a Chuck E. Cheese," he muttered as we spoke.

Yesterday afternoon, rumblings that the place had closed for good were heard around the office. And this morning, I received confirmation that it had, indeed, shut its doors. There's no cause to ask why; Wiles's concept of thin-crust, authentically Italian-style pizza simply wasn't a match for the Woodlands residents seeking a more family-oriented place that dealt in pepperoni and Pac-Man.

Yet some upscale concepts continue to thrive in the Woodlands. Hubbell & Hudson just opened its second location, while smaller, boutique-style places like Cru Wine Bar and 1252 Tapas are always busy.

It's a blow to the Woodlands' small dining scene, which was seen to have grown a tremendous amount with the opening of Dolce Vita. But I still remember the pangs of jealousy from people in Clear Lake or west Houston when they heard that Wiles had picked the great white north for his second location, and hope that these will encourage him to keep a second Dolce Vita up and running.

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