Borgo goes bye-bye

River Oaks restaurant freshens up with new name and bold Italian flavors

River Oaks restaurant freshens up with new name and Italian flavors

Mina Ristorante Monica Fallone Luis Mancera
Luis Mancera and Monica Fallone are transforming Borgo into Mina. Photo by Leah Wilson Photography

The trend of Houston restaurants changing concepts shows no signs of slowing down — and even to-go spots are jumping on the bandwagon. Borgo Food Station, a concept known for its ready-to-eat healthy meals, will soon give way to Mina Ristorante, owners Monica Fallone and Luis Mancera announced.

"Our customers were always requesting to enjoy their favorite dishes at Borgo instead of taking them home, so we added a few tables and chairs and then actual silverware," Mancera says in response to CultureMap's request for comment about the decision. "We wanted to give our customers what they were asking for so we decided to turn it into Mina Ristorante, where they can sit and enjoy our food in a dining room."

As its name implies, Mina Ristorante will serve Italian fare inspired by its owners' families. The husband-and-wife duo, owners of restaurants in both in Miami and Caracas prior to moving to Houston, have created a  menu centered around many of the Italian dishes that had been popular at Borgo, ranging from antipasti and housemade pastas to "comfort classic entrees" and desserts. Menu items include burrata with baby tomatoes, lasagna bolognese, shrimp with spicy tomato sauce, and Colombian trout with Sicilian almond butter; the restaurant will continue to serve lunch favorites from the Borgo menu like the turkey and Swiss on cranberry and pecan bread and the chicken Cobb croissant. A selection of both natural and traditional wines will complement the dishes.

“Together, our restaurant experience spans three continents and thirty years” Mancera said in a statement. “Both Monica and I were raised in families where everything revolved around the kitchen...We want to inspire through food and spark a sense of community with every meal, every glass of wine, and each bite of panna cotta.”

Borgo will shutter later this month to allow for the transformation into Mina to begin. Fallone and Mancera recruited local designer Erin Hicks (Helen, Pax Americana) to create a look that will include stone countertops, dark walnut tabletops, and aubergine and brass accents. If all goes according to plan, the space will reopen in April with its new look, new menu, and new name.