UPDATE: Lombardi Family Concepts provided the following statement in response to CultureMap's request for comment about the situation: “The investment group with Taverna River Oaks has decided to close Taverna and to reconcept the space as Bijou to better fit the demographics of the area. Bijou will be an upscale, high-energy, American-style restaurant with French undertones.”
River Oaks District has lost its first restaurant. Dallas-based Italian restaurant Taverna Pizzeria and Risotteria has closed after two years in business. The restaurant's signage has been removed and its windows have been blacked out.
It is not clear at this time when exactly the restaurant served its final meal; CultureMap has contacted Lombardi Restaurants, Taverna's owner, for more information and will update this article when they respond. Toulouse Cafe & Bar, Taverna's French-inspired sister concept that also has a location in River Oaks District, remains opens.
Since opening on 2016, River Oaks District has emerged as the home of some of the city's most popular restaurants. Glitzy steakhouse Steak 48, Vietnamese-inspired Le Colonial, and Austin-based burger joint Hopdoddy have all been popular dining destinations. The recent arrivial of East Hampton Sandwich Company and the upcoming MAD, a tapas-style concept from the chef and owner of Spanish fine dining restaurant BCN, seem poised to strengthen that reputation.
With all that in mind, don't expect the Taverna space to remain vacant for long. Two CultureMap sources claim that the property already has a new owner that's planning a new concept that could open in the later summer or early fall. Expect more details on that as soon as they're available.