Ben Berg's changes to Carmelo's restaurant in the Memorial area include more than updating its look and feel. He's changing the name, too.
When the restaurant reopens at the end of April, it will be known as B.B. Italia Kitchen & Bar; in addition, the restaurant will be home to B.B. Pizza, a delivery and to-go pizzeria. The new names leverage the branding of Berg's other concepts, upscale steakhouse B&B Butchers and its more casual sibling, B.B. Lemon. It may also draw in diners who were unaware that Berg added Carmelo's to the Berg Hospitality Group in December 2017.
“Carmelo’s was really a part of the community and had loyal, lifelong customers. We wanted to update it with a new name and look and feel but continue that neighborhood restaurant tradition,” Ben Berg said in a statement. “I grew up eating incredible Italian-American food in New York City, and I can’t wait to give the city I now call home a world-class Italian restaurant and continue the legacy of a family-owned-and-operated business of which I know Houstonians will be really proud.”
Changes to the space should make it almost unrecognizable from its previous iteration. In addition to a "completely remodeled" dining room, B.B. Italia will feature updated private spaces, an all-new horseshoe-shaped bar, and a patio for outdoor dining.
In addition to the new look, executive chef Daniel Berg has drawn upon his experience working for Italian restaurants in New York City to create a new menu that offers a fresh take on classic Italian-American fare. Thankfully, the Carmelo's meatballs will remain on the menu; other dishes may have kept their names but will have new recipes and presentations. Some of the dishes Daniel Berg introduced at Carmelo's prior to the remodel will remain as well.
For its part, B.B. Pizza will serve New York-style pies, subs, and calzones. Although B.B. Pizza is strictly for delivery and to-go, a representative confirms that a "few specialty pizzas" will be available at B.B. Italian on the lunch, dinner, and bar menus.
B.B. Italia will be open for lunch and dinner. Weekend brunch service and happy hour will make their debuts within a month of the restaurant's opening.