Etta has come along

Chicago-based Italian restaurant signs on to new downtown high-rise

Chicago-based Italian restaurant signs on to new downtown high-rise

Etta pizza
Expect wood-fired pizzas at Etta. Courtesy of Etta

Downtown Houston's newest high-rise will be home to a Chicago-based Italian restaurant. What If Syndicate will bring its casual neighborhood restaurant Etta to the Texas Tower.

Slated to open in February 2022, Etta will occupy approximately 6,400 square feet in the new building, which is currently under construction at the site of the Houston Chronicle's former headquarters at 845 Texas Ave. 

Developed by chef Danny Grant, Etta serves dishes made with a wood-fired grill and oven such as fire baked focaccia, ricotta with honey & truffle, pizzas, handmade pastas, and more. Diners may also select shareable entrees such as a 40-ounce, bone-in short rib, roasted whole branzino, or a porterhouse steak. The restaurant touts local sourcing, so expect some tweaks for its Texas outposts in Houston and Dallas. 

Prices run in the $18-25 range for pastas (tagliolini with shrimp scampi, buccatini cacio e pepe), $20 for pizzas, $10-22 for starters, and $12-15 for salads. Entrees start at $30 but go up quickly for the heartier, shareable items.

In addition to Etta, What If will open a separate concept in the tower's pavilion area. Details on the 2,000-square-foot establishment are not yet available.

What If has big plans for Texas. The company also announced it will bring Maple & Ash, its upscale steakhouse concept, to Dallas in early 2023. The restaurant group previously announced plans to open an Etta in Dallas in 2022. Dallas is already home to two of the company's other restaurants: Italian steakhouse Monarch and Kessaku, a lavish sushi and cocktail lounge, CultureMap Dallas reports.

“We are thrilled to be once again expanding our Texas footprint through this multi-project partnership with Hines,” David Pisor, partner at What If Syndicate, said in a statement. “The vision and professionalism their teams bring to our projects is unmatched, the Maple & Ash Dallas and etta Houston will be world-class restaurants delivering on what we do best – good food, great service and incredible experiences.” 

When complete, the 47-story Texas Tower will offer 1 million square feet of class AA office space. Prominent tenants include global real estate development firm Hines, which is building the project in partnership with Ivanhoé Cambridge, and law firm Vincent & Elkins, which will occupy the top seven floors, as CultureMap has previously reported. Other amenities include community gardens on the 12th floor and a high-performance fitness center.