Montrose staple gets new life
Cherished Montrose Italian restaurant gets major makeover thanks to new owners
One of Montrose’s most enduring restaurants has gotten a jolt of energy courtesy of new owners who want to it last for another 20 years. Melissa and Robert Salim are the new owners of Sorrento Ristorante.
A trial attorney by day, Robert Salim tells CultureMap that he and his wife Melissa had been long time regulars of Sorrento. Abbas Hussein, the restaurant’s former owner, approached them in November about buying the business. After some negotiations, they agreed on a price and officially took over December 1. Salim says Hussein was ready to move on, but he thinks Sorrento still has a lot to offer Houstonians, specifically a veteran management team and experienced servers who offer first rate customer service.
“I like the atmosphere of Sorrento’s. It’s a real warm family,” Salim tells CultureMap. “It hasn’t lost that 22-year charm. The basic concept is still very alive and well.”
Drawing on his experience as an investor in Austin restaurants such as Red Ash, J Carver’s, and Boulevard, Salim worked with the restaurant’s chef and management team to freshen up both the interior and the menu, including investing over $40,000 into upgrading the HVAC system.
“We put in new carpet. We ordered 120 new chairs that are going to be delivered Friday,” Salim says. “We repainted several portions of the restaurant. New barstools are coming this week.”
On the culinary side, the biggest change is that Sunday brunch — complete with a piano player — is coming back soon. For the first time, diners have the option to order takeout for select dishes that will withstand travel. Salim also invested in adding 300 bottles to the wine list.
Diners will find a number of new dishes on the menu. They include a number of pizza, chicken Milanese, and luxurious dishes such as Dover sole and veal chops. Additions to the dessert menu include cannoli and key lime pie.
In addition to bringing back brunch, Salim plans to initiate a new offering that will grow the restaurant’s weekday business. The new wine list will support monthly wine tastings.
“The nice thing about it is they’ve had a steady base for 20 years. It’s not like a new restaurant that you just have to get some business in there. The restaurant is not going to fail. The food is fantastic,” Salim says.
“We just want to make it a a little more fun, a little more lively. I think it’s got the potential to be a fun place to go to.”