Museum Eats

Something new percolating at Museum of Fine Arts with Italian restaurant and coffee bar

Italian restaurant and coffee bar percolating at Museum of Fine Arts

Houston, MFACafe, July 015, Paolo Fronza and Matteo Alessandri
MFACafe owners Matteo Alessandri and Paolo Fronza. Courtesy photo
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The Museum of Fine Arts is getting an Italian cafe come fall. Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Houston, MFACafe, July 015, Paolo Fronza and Matteo Alessandri
Places-A&E-Museum of Fine Arts, Houston-exterior-1

Come fall, a taste of Italy is coming to The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Paolo Fronza and Matteo Alessandri, who previously co-owned Fellini Caffe in Rice Village, will launch a new restaurant in the Cafe Express space located in the museum's Audrey Jones Beck Building.

The casual eatery, called MFACafe, will boast Italian works of art from the museum’s collection peppered throughout four seating areas and a bar with communal tables and free WiFi, with an abundance of outlets allowing diners to stay connected.

The menu will focus on Northern Italian-inspired fare featuring fresh, local ingredients and unique imported Italian meat and cheese offerings, according to a MFAH press release.

The kitchen will turn out salads, pastas, soups, pressed panini, and sweet and savory breakfast options while the European-style coffee bar will feature gourmet brews including espresso, cappuccinos, flat whites, lattes, smoothies, and frappès.

“I’m excited and confident about it being a success. It’s a natural continuum of what we were doing before (at Fellini) only in a different, more stimulating environment. It’s a bigger concept and a more extended menu — we can be more playful with the food and the events,” Alessandri tells CultureMap.  

Cafe Express will remain open through August 1. A temporary pop-up restaurant in the lobby of the Beck Building will open August 4 and continue service until the revamped space is completed. Service in the temporary location will run from 11 am to 3 pm Tuesday through Saturday, and 12:15 pm to 3 pm on Sunday .