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Least Surprising Closure Ever

The least surprising Houston restaurant closing ever? This overhyped chain never stood a chance

Brio, restaurant, Kirby Drive
Brio Tuscan Grill has closed its Kirby location, but what will replace it? Photo by Jill Hunter
Brio Tuscan Grille - Kirby
Get Directions - 3029 Kirby Dr. Houston

Brio Tuscan Grille, a national chain known for its suburban outposts, abruptly ended its inside the Loop adventure by closing its location in the former Pesce space at West Alabama and Kirby. The restaurant's sign has been removed and workers were spotted loading furniture into a box truck on Monday (as first detailed in a Swamplot post).

Is this the least surprising restaurant closure in recent memory?

Back when Brio opened in August 2012, CultureMap columnist Marene Gustin noted that it was competing head to head with a wealth of better executed options including the original Carrabba's, Giacomo's and Tony's (although that's a big step up in price.)

 A restaurant insider doesn't think the wave of closures on the block, which also includes the funeral bars Roak and OTC and bar Saint Genevieve, is done.  

Brio's locations in chain-heavy CityCentre and The Woodlands continue to do well, based primarily on a sterling reputation for attentive service, but the one on Kirby never found a footing in the face of such stiff competition. A restaurant insider doesn't think the wave of closures on the block, which also includes the funeral bars Roak and OTC and bar Saint Genevieve, is done.

"Stay tuned for additional departures," he tells CultureMap, ominously. "I don't know anything specific — but I do get the TABC reports."

As for what could replace Brio, another restaurant insider has grand plans, predicting that the size and location could finally be the key to luring celebrity chef John Besh to Houston. CultureMap has contacted Besh's representatives about their potential interest in the space, but there has been no response yet.

Surely CultureMap's vibrant community of commenters has a few thoughts about which restaurant replaces Brio as the worst in the neighborhood. Feel free to share them below.

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