Surprise Restaurant Closing

Big name Houston restaurant suddenly closes after only a year, cites "legal reasons"

Big name Houston restaurant suddenly closes, cites "legal reasons"

Hawthorn restaurant in Upper Kirby closes doors
Hawthorn quietly closed its doors this week.  Photo by Whitney Radley

Hawthorn, the underrated Upper Kirby restaurant, quietly closed its doors earlier this week after just a year in business. Acting on a tip from a restaurant insider, CultureMap called Hawthorn several times on Thursday evening (to no answer) and then dropped by the secluded spot to find it locked up during dinner service hours.  

The news comes as unsurprising, despite a kitchen helmed by celebrated chef Riccardo Palazzo-Giorgio. ​The Culinary Institute of America alum has turned out dishes that earned the restuarant several spots on CultureMap's monthly "Where to eat right now" lists and three stars from Houston Chronicle food critic Alison Cook, but the reputation of its former iteration — exclusive members-only club Dorsia — has lingered. 

Palazzo-Giorgio took to Facebook for his thank yous, recognizing investors, staffers and guests for "support in a long and arduous fight to bring Hawthorn to a place of recognition for its contributions to the culinary industry in Houston." Several hours later, he returned to social media to clarify that his previous post was a goodbye, not a celebration of Hawthorn's first anniversary. 

Partner/owner Jeff Gainsborough wrote a personal message on the restaurant's Facebook page: "For legal reasons we cannot go into details, but we did not want to close."

Inquiries to the restaurant for further comment were not immediately returned.

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