b.b. goes west

Beloved Memorial-area Italian restaurant reopens after total transformation

Beloved Memorial-area Italian spot reopens after total transformation

B.B. Italia Energy Corridor
B.B. Italia is bringing life to a beloved favorite.  Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

The Houston food scene continues to expand. And at times, that means re-purposing familiar concepts and giving new life to old names. 

This week sees the opening of B.B. Italia Kitchen, a two-in-one concept from Berg Hospitality Group, taking over Memorial-area institution Carmelo’s. Berg purchased Carmelo's in January 2018 to renovate the spot and revamp the menu. The restaurant closed January of this year and reopened on Thursday, May 2.

Located at 14795 Memorial Dr., B.B, Italia Kitchen & Bar touts itself as a “a fresh take on classic, Italian-American food using only the best ingredients in a lively atmosphere.” B.B. Pizza To Go is located inside the restaurant and will serve New York-style pizza, subs and calzones. Diners can order in advance and grab their meals to go, although the restaurant plans delivery service soon.

The restaurant plans to launch an all-new weekend brunch menu along with a happy hour menu to be enjoyed in the bar area and a new outdoor patio (that seats at least 60) shortly after opening.

“As an Energy Corridor resident, I put a lot of thought into what this area needed and the people would like,” said Benjamin Berg, founder of Berg Hospitality Group, in a statement. “B.B. Italia is the perfect combination of authentic, Italian-American food with a great ambiance — two things that this neighborhood was missing.”

Executive chef and partner, Daniel Berg, created a menu of more than 50 items, featuring authentic Italian-American food with a contemporary twist. Look for appetizers to share, a selection of homemade pastas, pizzas and Italian classics, along with chicken, veal, beef, pork, and fish entrées.

The lunch menu is similar to the dinner menu with the addition of Italian-influenced sandwiches. Everything is made from scratch daily.

In addition, a small bar menu includes a selection of appetizers and pizzas. The restaurant’s cocktail menu was designed by B.B. Lemon’s beverage director, Monique Cioffi-Hernandez, who is using cutting-edge spirits to create traditional and unique Italian-focused cocktails along with a few on tap. The wine list, curated by B&B’s Sommelier Lexey Johnson, features Italian wines ranging from $30-$300.

The comfortable, 8,000-square-foot space has modern, minimalistic design elements with an Italian influence. The main dining room holds up to 100 guests, and the bar area has a large, 20-seat horseshoe-shaped bar, booths and high-top tables. There’s also an 850-square-foot outdoor patio lined with boxwoods for those who want to dine al fresco. The six semi-private and private rooms, all named after schools in the area, can accommodate between 8 to100 guests for a seated dinner and up to 125 for a cocktail party.

“Ben and I grew up eating incredible Italian-American food in New York City and several of the dishes on the menu are inspired by ones at our family’s favorite spots,” says Daniel Berg, who has several years of experience focused on Italian cooking, working under acclaimed chef and restaurateur Andrew Carmellini, and studying in Italy. “I can’t wait to give the city we now call home a world-class Italian restaurant and continue the legacy of a family-owned-and-operated business.”