Even though Arturo's Uptown Italiano Restaurant is closing this weekend, the atmosphere was festive Friday night as Houston notables jammed into the Uptown Park eatery for one last meal.
Neil and Maria Bush were dining at one table while former Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and a sizable party were at another table not too far away. Leisa Holland Nelson, Frann Lichtenstein, Beth Wolff, Courtney Hopson, Yvonne Stern, Dan Zindler and Lori Freese also jammed into the restaurant for one last meal.
In the bar, a who's who of Houston media and politicos filled the room. Among them, former Channel 13 investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino, University of Houston political science professor Richard Murray and wife, publicist Deborah Hartman, Channel 13 reporter Miya Shay and husband, State Rep. Gene Wu, TV blogger Mike McGuff, Houston Chronicle sportswriter Dale Robertson and wife, Debbie, Houston Chronicle columnist Joe Holley, Channel 11 reporter Doug Miller, former Channel 2 reporter Mary Benton, Channel 2 reporter Phil Archer, former Houston Press columnist Tim Fleck, political strategist Sue Davis and Helen Mann, a regular on Channel 8's Manor of Speaking, were spotted in the throng.
For years, owner Bill Sadler hosted a weekly "off the record" roundtable of political strategists, candidates, elected officials and reporters at various restaurants he has owned throughout Houston, including Cafe Noche, The River Café and The Moose Café. As CultureMap's food expert Eric Sandler reported, Sadler decided to close Arturo's Uptown to make way for a new upscale Tex-Mex concept from Lasco Enterprises in the prime Uptown Park area space next to M Penner and Elizabeth Anthony. Sadler said he is looking forward to retirement and spending time at his ranch once the restaurant closes.
Arturo's general manager Shanon Scott plans to open Sud Italia Ristorante, an Italian seafood concept, in the Rice Village space that formerly housed Bistro de Amis at 2347 University Boulevard and was encouraging guests to visit the new restaurant, which plans a mid-April opening.
Arturo's remains open Saturday night for another round of goodbyes before closing on Sunday (March 1).