October 21, 2011

Dolce Vizio Brings Customizable Tiramisu to the West Village

A few months ago, the former Christopher Street Deli site on the corner of Christopher and Hudson Streets took on a brand new identity when a sleek, red-trimmed storefront opened. Dolce Vizio Tiramisù specializes in one thing: tiramisu, the Italian dessert of mascarpone custard, espresso-soaked ladyfingers and cocoa powder.

The two entrepreneurs behind Dolce Vizio are Alessandro  Radici, 27, and Nadia Tade, 25, natives of Bergamo, Italy who met as business students and fellow competitive skiers at Bocconi University in Milan. The concept of an all-tiramisu shop came to the couple after a visit to the Roman café, Pompi, known for its classic tiramisu and variations on the dish.

For their venture, Radici and Tade teamed up with Michelin-starred chef Fabrizio Ferrari, who cooks at a Bergamo restaurant owned by Radici’s family.  Ferrari develops different-flavored tiramisu recipes for the shop based on suggestions from Tade and Radici, and between occasional onsite visits and frequent Skype sessions, says Tade, “he is mentoring us” from afar. The shop’s name combines the words for “vice,” and “sweet,” explains Tade, because Dolce Vizio trades in “something you don’t really need in your life but is a nice indulgence that makes your life happier and sweeter.” She notes that the neighborhood has extended a warm welcome to her and Radici, overjoyed that it is neither another Marc Jacobs boutique nor a chain store.

When Radici was accepted at Columbia University’s business school, Tade quit her job as a financial risk consultant for Deloitte Milan so the duo could move to New York together and settle in Columbia graduate student housing. They worked with the city’s New Business Acceleration Team, which helped expedite their way through Gotham's bureaucratic thicket. Radici loves the fact that New York is a “global city” filled with so many foreigners that he doesn’t feel like one himself, and that the U.S. “is a much more business friendly place” than his homeland.  At Columbia's business school, which is less theoretical and more practical than comparable schools in Italy, Radici adds that he can study entrepreneurship while he practices it in the West Village.

The store offers $7 ready-to-eat single portions of tiramisu in six flavors, including the most popular varieties of classic, orange-espresso, and nutella. $5 or $8 single-serving-size cups feature lady fingers soaked in either chocolate, citrus or coffee sauces, with a choice of two toppings. Think of it as the more sophisticated, Italian, take on the ubiquitous frozen yogurt shop.  There is also a cake-size option that will feed 9 to 12 people for $39. A variety of coffees and teas and a simple dining area round out the take-out or eat-in experience.

“We still don’t have any expansion plans yet,” says Radici.“We are fine turning this store; we want to make it perfect.”

Dolce Vizio Tiramisù,
131 Christopher Street (Hudson Street)
Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
(646) 669-7432