Looks like the rumors are true. Lasco Enterprises, the restaurant group behind Max's Wine Dive, The Tasting Room and Flow Juice Bar, announced today that it will open Anjeo, which will offer "an elevated and modern interpretation of traditional Tex-Mex dining," in the space currently occupied by Arturo's Uptown Italiano.
The Italian restaurant will operate until the end of February. Anejo will take over March 1.
"Our goal is to do a fairly quick turnaround," Lasco chief brand officer Jonathan Horowitz tells CultureMap. The company will only make design changes to the space and expects to be open by the third week of March.
The company will only make design changes to the space and expects to be open by the third week of March.
"There's not a lot of real, good Tex-Mex in that area," Horowitz notes.
Given that opportunity, the desirability of the location and a concept that aims to elevate Houston's most popular cuisine, Horowitz is optimistic about Anejo's prospects. "We feel like there's a market for (Anejo), but it doesn't exist in this town," he says. "We believe there's room for an elevated experience . . . that maintains the traditions of Tex-Mex."
Horowitz acknowledges that Houstonians have many Tex-Mex options but explains that Lasco thinks Anejo is something different. The restaurant will use "top of the line" ingredients and feature elevated "plating, presentation and service standards" that will set it apart from other restaurants, which includes tableside preparations of both dishes and cocktails.
On the beverage side, a selection of over 100 tequilas and mezcals that will be paired with Mexican sodas and juices from Flow.
Longtime Max's Wine Dive/The Tasting Room chef Michael Pellegrino is working to craft the menu. "He grew up in the Valley. He has lots of experience with this type of cuisine," Horowitz says.
“I am thrilled to be creating the menu for this new concept,” stated chef Pellegrino in a statement. “It’s an honor, and I feel a significant responsibility to properly represent the culinary traditions of Tex-Mex while taking the cuisine to a new level.”
Max's Wine Dive successfully elevated comfort food and became a brand that's spreading across the country. Can Anejo do the same thing for Tex-Mex?
"We like a challenge," Horowitz replies.