Is it closed?

Ambitious Washington Ave restaurant mysteriously closed — Is it gone for good?

Ambitious Washington Ave restaurant mysteriously closed — Is it gone?

Commonwealth closed sign Washington Ave
A mysterious note about electrical problems has been posted at Commonwealth's door. Photo by Eric Sandler
Commonwealth  Michael Sanguinetti
Chef Michael Sanguinetti came to Commonwealth from Artisans. Courtesy photo
Commonwealth chocolate chip cookies
Commonwealth featured innovative plating like this tower of cookies. Courtesy photo
Commonwealth closed sign Washington Ave
Commonwealth  Michael Sanguinetti
Commonwealth chocolate chip cookies

What's going on at Commonwealth? Only open since March, the ambitious neighborhood restaurant on Washington Ave has been closed for more than a week with a mysterious "electrical problem," but area residents are beginning to suspect it's gone for good. 

The first piece of evidence is that the restaurant never posted its Houston Restaurant Weeks menu, which cuts it off from the potential revenue that participating in the event could generate. Furthermore, no signs of activity existed at the restaurant Thursday evening, which was locked up tight (although tables are chairs are still present in the dining room).

A sign on the door promises to update patrons on the restaurant's status via social media, but neither the restaurant's Twitter nor its Facebook page have been updated since July. 

CultureMap called both chef Michael Sanguinetti and the restaurant's marketing coordinator about the restaurant's status but has yet to receive a response. The chef has previously announced plans to open a second, related concept called Black Orchid that would feature both a cocktail lounge and nightly tasting menus. Whether those plans are also scuttled remains to be seen. 

Update: Owner Thomas Kolodziej tells CultureMap that Commonwealth has closed temporarily for restructuring. “We want something that’s a little less expensive, a little more fun,” Kolodziej says.

Part of that restructuring includes the departure of Sanguinetti. “Michael went too high end, too fine dining,” Kolodziej says. Still, he’s confident the restaurant can move forward with its new direction.

Calling Commonwealth’s original incarnation “too once a month,” he says the reborn restaurant will be a place that’s more accessible, with bigger portions and more value.

“You live and you learn,” he concludes.