getting saucy in Sugar Land
Ben Berg's red sauce Italian-American bistro splashes into Sugar Land Town Square
Ben Berg’s red sauce Italian restaurant has opened in its new home. B.B. Italia bistro & Bar has begun dinner service in Sugar Land Town Square (16250 City Walk).
Originally opened in 2019 in the former Carmelo's space in the Energy Corridor (now Maize), B.B. Italia serves classic Italian-American fare like chicken parmesan, spaghetti and meatballs, fried calamari, and pizza. The original location closed in February 2021 due to diminished business as office workers stayed home during the pandemic. It joins other Berg Hospitality concepts such as B&B Butchers, The Annie Café & Bar, and newly opened nightclub Emilia’s Havana.
“It’s a concept that I love in the sense of it’s a food I grew up with. It’s a place where I feel comfortable,” Berg tells CultureMap. “To be honest, it’s a toss-up between this and Chinese food what would be my last meal. Maybe both at the same time.”
Converting a former Charming Charlie’s store into a restaurant meant that the Berg Hospitality, including operating partner Sam Governale and local architect Isaac Preminger, had a blank slate to work with from a design perspective. They chose to give the restaurant an old school, bistro feel with red and white checkered floors, exposed brick, and banquette seating. Berg expects the bar to become a happy hour destination for area office workers.
“We have a big pizza and gelato station, taking the fun stuff of American Italian and putting it right in front of you with an open kitchen,” he adds.
B.B. Italia executive chef Marcelo Mintz and Berg Hospitality corporate chef Brian Sutton updated the menu. They kept the signature housemade pastas but dramatically expanded the appetizer selections with options that include focaccia paired with different spreads, more cheeses and charcuterie, and a mozzarella tasting flight. A hot antipasto tower comes loaded with enough fried calamari, meatballs, pork ribs, clams, mussels, arancini, and more to feed a group of six to eight.
Entrees include Italian American classics like eggplant parmesan and chicken marsala alongside steaks, sandwiches (cheeseburger, meatball sub, etc), and a couple of steaks that can be enhanced with add-ons like sauteed shrimp or a gorgonzola crust. Desserts, including a tableside sundae that Berg says “could be eaten by six people,” are appropriately celebratory and over the top.
“It’s an adult place where everyone can go and have a good time,” Berg says. “Families with children can go and be comfortable, but we built it more for that adult aesthetic.”
Beverage options include an extensive list of Italian and California wines. James Beard Award winner Alba Huerta consulted on a cocktail menu that includes a margarita, Old Fashioned, and sangria.
After a series of practice openings and communities events, the restaurant officially opened for dinner on Tuesday, November 8. Lunch and to-go service will begin November 15. Happy hour and brunch menus will launch in the months to come.
“The response has been awesome,” Berg says. “We put a lot of time into the training. It’s been very positive. People love the bar.”