goodbye, eatalia. hello, barnaby's

Upscale Italian eatery's sudden shutter makes way for Houston neighborhood favorite

Upscale Italian eatery's sudden shutter makes way for Houston favorite

Eatalia Houston
The highly acclaimed Eatalia has suddenly closed.  Photo courtesy of Eatalia
Barnaby's Cafe
Barnaby's will take the Fountainview spot. Courtesy photo
Eatalia Houston
Barnaby's Cafe

The Facebook post on May 7 was greeted with a host of “likes” and “wows.” Bernstein Investments, owner of the Fountainview Square Shopping Center that sits between Fountain View and San Felipe touted: 

Beyond thrilled to announce that Barnaby’s Cafe will be opening at 1936 Fountain View Drive!!! #breakfast #lunch #dinner.

A photo sent in by a CultureMap reader reveals a banner in the window, noting the restaurant is now hiring. The new Barnaby’s Cafe is expected to open in August.

The beloved spot takes over the space that was occupied by Eatalia, which opened last summer with much anticipation and closed suddenly — and with very little explanation. Eatalia was, itself, a more upscale concept from the team that runs the popular Romano’s Pizza on West Gray.

“The Eatalia/Romano’s guys are great guys who have run a successful restaurant for over 20 years,” Brian Bernstein, vice president of Bernstein Investments, tells CultureMap. “They built out a beautiful space, but they just couldn’t execute a successful business with their new concept for whatever reason.”

But Bernstein is optimistic about the new tenant. Barnaby’s has one other location outside the Loop, over at Woodway and Bering. The new spot for the restaurant will be the only one outside the Loop to serve breakfast, however, and that’s great news for residents in the area.

“With Fountain View Café closing recently we now have a breakfast spot in our center again,” says Bernstein. “It’s a great family restaurant, because they have so many choices on their menu. It’s going to bring a lot of traffic which will help the area and co-tenants. Barnaby’s is simply my favorite restaurant, so I’m beyond thrilled personally.”

Bernstein says he’s fielding a lot of calls from diners and fellow Barnaby’s lovers who want to know if the Woodway and Bering locale will be shuttering after the restaurant’s move to Fountain View Square. He says in his discussions with the company, they’ve been adamant this is an addition to the Barnaby’s family, not a relocation.

Each Barnaby’s differs slightly from its sister spots, and this one will be no different in that respect. It will have a bar — something not every Barnaby’s boasts. And Bernstein calls the space “beautiful inside.”