This fella Benjamin Berg from New York (!) came down to Houston and has opened so far (at my last count) 3 restaurants and has at least 3 more in the works. He acquired Cafe Annie, which needed a rescue, he has also acquired the property of the recently closed Pax Americana. Those two are under reconstruction and reimagination. He also has an eatery up north in the hinterlands of DFW, but that is an area anti-home to me, so I know nothing.
I myself first met his imaginaton at B & B Butcher, and through the magic of business lunches, grew to love it. Next came B.B. Lemon, across the street. This though did not meet my expectations, not only because I had to pay for the meal out of MY OWN SALARY, but because it is cramped and the food is not above average. That burger everyone talks about did not thrill.
But now, B.B. Italia and its symbiotic twin B.B. Pizza has opened on the moon surface known as Memorial Drive between Dairy Ashford and Eldridge. Mr. BB closed the former revered Carmelo’s, gutted it, and reopened it with only the “leaning tower of Carmelo’s” still an original feature of the space. And I mean, it’s spectacular. Unfortunately, the contractors hired by the City of Houston keep seeking extensions of time to mine the surfaces of Memorial drive in front, first seeking a continuance from May 2019 to October 2019 (granted), then immediately seeking another continuace from October to January 2020 (denied). But city contracts being what they are here in Our Town, don’t look for an easy trip to B.B. Italia anytime soon. Sigh.
You can look on Yelp or whatever and find information on the ridiculously rocky restaurant opening, which by all accounts was an epic SNAFU, with a Mother’s Day total meltdown, but what I’m here about is the bar area scene. And BTW, after Mr. BB closed Cafe Annie, he sent all those seasoned employees over to the moonscape to rescue it, so ignore previous gripes and check it out, at least until Cafe Annie opens again as a new concept.
So the bar. What we don’t have here- west Houston, OTL desert- is a decent happy hour venue. I mean, we have a new neighborhood bar thanks to the Masraffs and it serves food, but for a restaurant setting this has quickly caught on, even with the backhoes 10 feet from the valets (complimentary).
Here’s a pictorial of B.B. Italia Happy Hour in the bar, and thanks, Mr. BB.
Manhattan, $9, huge antipasto, mostly meat - $10
Small pizza, several toppings available $8 - Margarita
Truffle Parmesan basil fries, $4