Passerella the pasta, please

Hot new Italian eatery from successful Houston restaurateur headed to Washington Avenue

Houston restaurateur's new Italian eatery headed to Washington Ave

Passerella spread
Passerella offers a diverse menu of Italian-inspired dishes. Photo by Jenn Duncan

A new Italian restaurant has had so much success that its owner is already planning a second location. Gr8 Plate Hospitality, the local company behind The Union Kitchen and Jax Grill, will bring its recently opened Italian concept Passerella to Washington Avenue this fall.

The new Passerella will be located in the former Union Kitchen space at 6011 Washington Ave. Gr8 Plate expects the new restaurant to open in September.

“We saw an opportunity and we took it,” Gr8 Plate owner Paul Miller said in a statement. “After seeing such wild success at our Passerella location in Cypress, we knew that we had to bring the concept a little closer into town. We think that the change will breathe new life into the space, and will provide folks in the neighborhood with easy access to some fine Italian dining. We couldn’t be happier to do this in an area that we have come to know and love over the years.”

Open since May, Passerella offers a diverse menu of Italian-inspired fare that includes appetizers, pizzas, pastas, salads, soups, entrees, and desserts. Highlights include: Fritto Misto with fried shrimp, calamari, and lemon wheels; Zuppa di Arogasta with Maine lobster; Branzino alla Calabrese with spinach risotto; mushroom pizza; and bucatini with meatballs.

Pair them with selections from Miller's wine list, which  includes primarily Californian and Italian producers at a range of price points. Cocktails named after elements of Dante's Inferno also take inspiration from Italian classics.

The new restaurant will preserve the winning elements of the former Union Kitchen, including its expansive patio and 30-seat private dining room. Gr8 Plate corporate executive chef James Lundy will work with executive chef Victor Ortega to oversee the menu.

Passerella is one of many new Italian restaurants to open in Houston in the past year or so. Others include: Amore, an upscale restaurant from former Da Marco chef Alfredo Mojica; Concura Italian Bites, a Galleria-area restaurant that serves traditional dishes; Trattoria Sofia, a stylish concept from B&B Butchers owner Ben Berg; Marmo, an Italian steakhouse from Loch Bar owners Atlas Restaurant Group; and Lulu's, a neighborhood spot from Armandos owners Cinda and Armando Palacios. The months to come will see even more, including Il Bracco from Dallas, Pastore from Underbelly Hospitality, and Tavola from Berg Hospitality. 

The new restaurant joins five locations of The Union Kitchen (Memorial, Cypress, Katy, Kingwood, and Garden Oaks/Oak Forest) and three locations of Jax Grill (Bellaire, Shepherd Drive, and Katy) in the Gr8 Plate family.