Bufalina | A pizzeria balances no kitchen with a 400-bottle wine list

Image description
Octopus
Image description
Taleggio
Image description
Bufalina
Image description
Bufalina
Image description
Today’s mozzarella
Bufalina owner Steven Dilley has mastered the art of the unexpected transition.

After moving from Austin to New York City to attend law school, he segued into a career in finance.

Ten years later he moved back to Austin, not with a juris doctorate but with an education in New York’s restaurant scene.

Dilley then began a career as a restaurateur, opening Bufalina on the near east side in 2013 and Bufalina Due on Burnet Road two years later.

“At the time I was cooking pizza, and I had kind of fallen in love with this style because it had become somewhat prevalent in New York, but it really wasn’t something that was available [in Austin],” Dilley said.

By focusing on one thing—Neapolitan pizza—Dilley hoped to manage quality and keep costs down.

“I wanted to kind of simplify my life,” Dilley said of the restaurant’s early years, when it was only open for 30 hours a week and maintained a small staff.

This approach also helped the restaurant circumvent the issue of not having a proper kitchen. Instead, the dining room shares space with a plating area, some convection burners and a wood-fired pizza oven covered in white tiles and capable of reaching temperatures of 900 degrees.

Today, Dilley oversees both restaurants as well as their robust wine programs, which focus on wines from “places that historically were maybe less heralded,” Dilley said, such as the Loire Vallery and Jura region in France, and that are more affordable.

Bufalina’s menu also includes a number of natural wines, which are made with minimal intervention and adhere to Dilley’s philosophy: “Basically as close as you could get to from-grape-to-bottle,” he said.

The original Bufalina offers a selection of more than 400 wines, a stock that has tested the limits of the restaurant’s small space and led to what a front-of-house employee calls “wine Tetris.”

Rather than expand the program further, Dilley may be in for another transition. “I would like to, maybe, open a wine-related project,” he said.
By Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her beat includes the Travis County Commissioners Court and local business news. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.


MOST RECENT

Rendering of an apartment complex
Ground breaks on Capitol Quarters, Austin's first car-free multifamily housing development

Developer Weaver Buildings said the project is aimed at urban commuters who are committed to getting around wiithout cars.

Hays County opened its COVID-19 vaccine portal Jan. 22. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Vaccine portal opens in Hays County; read Austin business news and more Central Texas info

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.

The Austin Community College District's 28,000-square-foot culinary arts wing is now open at ACC Highland. (Courtesy Austin Community College)
Second phase of ACC Highland campus opens in Central Austin

The campus is home to the Austin Community College District's Culinary Arts Department.

Registration for Williamson County COVID-19 vaccines opened Jan. 19. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
Register for vaccine in WilCo; 24 restaurants to try in Leander, Cedar Park and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said those who wish to return to campus can do so beginning Jan. 25. (Courtesy Austin ISD)
Austin ISD families can return to campus after 2 weeks of encouraging virtual learning

Austin ISD has seen a 28% decrease in weekly coronavirus cases since the first week of January.

The legality of reinstating tighter restrictions on public camping, solicitation, and sitting and lying down remains vague. (Courtesy Office of the Texas Governor)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats ‘statewide camping ban’ as homeless debate heats up

The legality of reinstating tighter restrictions on public camping, solicitation, and sitting and lying down remains vague.

Teal House Coffee & Bakery’s menu includes items such as the cinnamon roll croissant. (Courtesy Teal House Coffee & Bakery)
Teal House Coffee & Bakery opening South Congress brick and mortar in Austin Jan. 30

The location will be the food truck's first brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. (Courtesy Texas Children’s Hospital)
'We still have a long way to go': Central Texas physician answers questions about COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions for Community Impact Newspaper related to the coronavirus vaccine, its efficacy and costs, and other related matters.

Goodwill Central Texas opened a location at 2415 S. Congress Ave., Austin, on Jan. 14. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
New South Congress Goodwill now open

The new store is open for retail services and also accepts donations.

Lawmakers have returned to the Capitol. The Texas Legislature began its 2021 session Jan. 12. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
School funding once again a major focus for Austin ISD during legislative session

The district will also be watching for legislation regarding charter schools, accountability, pandemic relief and local control.