Stylish new Montrose wine bar blending sips and sandwiches pops open in hood's hottest hub
The Montrose Collective mixed-use development recently welcomed its latest culinary destination — a wine bar with a stylish aesthetic, an eclectic selection, and a passion for sandwiches.
Meet Fiora’s Bottle Shop. Located across the development’s courtyard from Austin-based restaurant Picnik, Fiora’s comes from partners Natalie Navi and Amir Sed. Navi brings experience from her time as a general manager at Paulie’s while Sed has worked extensively in multiple hospitality concepts in Houston. General manager and wine director Sean McNeely worked at Camerata before working for a wine distributor.
For Navi, Fiora’s provides her with an opportunity to combine two of her favorite things — wine and sandwiches.
“I felt like there wasn’t really a place in Houston that had wine plus sandwiches,” she tells CultureMap. “I wanted it to have a kind of natural aesthetic that was still fun with a good vibe for the city.”
The sandwiches are hefty specimens. Served on breads from Houston’s Slow Dough Bread Co., they include options such as mortadella, prosciutto, and capocollo on foccaccia, a deli-style turkey and Swiss, and Boquerones with vegetables and burrata on a baguette.
A true show-stopper is The Goat — a 14-inch long combination of salami, mortadella, applewood smoked ham, pepperoni, and capocollo that’s topped with vegetables, two kinds of cheese, and more. Navi doesn’t hesitate when asked about the necessary components for a good sandwich.
“Good bread, good meat selection, definitely cheese, and heat,” she says. “We’re using local bread, fresh ingredients. All of our aiolis are made in house. They’re big. They’re large and flavorful and unique.”
Those sandwiches are paired with selections from McNeely’s wine list. With between 15 and 18 by-the-glass choices and a rotating inventory of approximately 50 bottles, the list covers a range of regions, styles, and production methods. As its name implies, people can drink their wines on site or take them to go.
“As far as what I look for, I am never dogmatic,” McNeely explains. “Not everything is going to be a natural wine nor a super conventional wine. I’m open to great wine that’s authentic. I like to highlight sometimes overlooked regions and varieties that are not the most well known.”
McNeely wrote a Master’s thesis at the University of Houston’s Hilton College on the need for more sustainability in wine, so Fiora’s happy hour selections will feature wine in alternative packaging such as cans, kegs, and boxes. He wants to remove some of the stigma from wine that’s not served in traditional glass bottles.
In terms of design, Fiora’s channels the spirit of a backyard garden party with lots of plant life and floor-to-ceiling windows — some of which will be open once the weather cools off. Details include brass shelves and rose gold lighting fixtures. The interior seats about 40 with more tables available on a two-sided patio.
“I like to mix things up. I didn’t want to stick to one specific theme, but everything fell together with the brass and the gold,” Navi says. “I wanted it to have a feminine touch with the arches. The greenery brings that outdoor feeling.”
Currently, Fiora’s is open daily from 4-12 pm. By the end of August, the partners hope to open at 11 am. Other plans include expanding their catering and private event business. If all goes according to plan, the first Fiora’s won’t be the only one.
“We’re looking to open three or four in Houston,” Sed says. “Then Dallas, possibly Austin. It’s going to be a six year project. We’re really adamant about sticking to our core and putting Fiora’s brand out there.”