midtown restaurant revived
Popular Heights restaurant owners revive Midtown brunch favorite Weights + Measures with big purchase
A Midtown restaurant has quietly undergone a major change. Brunch favorite Weights + Measures has been purchased by the owners of a popular Heights restaurant who are committed to reviving the establishment to its formerly lofty reputation.
Mastrantos owners Xavier and Mari Godoy and their partner, chef Tony Castillo, purchased the restaurant from Gene Frazier and Katherine McNeal in April. Frazier and McNeal, as CultureMap reported at the time, acquired the restaurant from its founders in 2020.
Prior to that, Weights had enjoyed a solid reputation, winning Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year in the 2016 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards and earning a spot on the HoustonChronicle's list of the city's top 100 restaurants.
Xavier tells CultureMap that he and his wife felt a connection to Weights + Measures even prior to opening Mastrantos. That helped guide their decision to keep operating the restaurant as Weights + Measures rather than rebrand it as Mastrantos.
“When we came back to Houston in 2017, we said, where do we go in Houston that has this industrial feeling but is also modern, open, and transparent,” Xavier recalls. “We got inspired here. The ambiance, the feeling, the touches, this was the only place that resonated with us for what we wanted to do.”
While the similarities may not be immediately obvious, both Mastrantos and Weights utilize dedicated dough rooms to turn out fresh pastas, pastries, and other items. Open since 2019, Mastrantos has developed a following for dishes such as its chorizo carbonara, ragu bolognese, and signature Texqueños, made with Venezuelan cheese that’s wrapped in dough and fried. Similarly, Weights uses Egyptian dukkah spice on its popular roasted carrot pizza that Guy Fieri called “one of the top three most uniques pizzas” he’s ever eaten on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.
“As you know, our carbonara has nothing to do with Italy. It’s a breakfast taco on a pizza,” Xavier says. “This carrot pizza is a similar story. It brings Middle Eastern flavors, but it’s not a pizza per se. An Italian might be insulted by it, just like they’re insulted before they taste our carbonara.”
From Xavier’s perspective, Weights has a solid crew in the kitchen. They’ve been working with Castillo to add a few Mastrantos signatures to the menu — including the carbonara, Texqueños, and some new vegetable dishes. He and his wife have concentrated their attention on the front of the house, where he sees an opportunity to improve diners’ experiences. Ultimately, their goal is to increase dinner business to add to the restaurant’s still solid crowds at lunch and brunch.
“We do quality hospitality. That's what we focus on,” he says. “The food is crafty — all the pastas and pastries are made in house — but more than that it’s how we greet people, how we get people to come back. We’re going to bring that here and elevate the menu to the standards they used to have.”
One way they intend to elevate the menu is to consult with founding chef Richard Kaplan to ensure they’re using his original recipes. They say they’ve also spoken to Gypsy Poet owners Vanessa Fernandez and Cesar Monticelli about tweaking the pizza dough recipe. To make the dinner menu more appealing, they intend to add more pastas to the menu that, like the chorizo carbonara, take inspiration from Houston’s diverse immigrant culinary traditions.
“We’ll do what we do at Mastrantos but in a more comfortable, approachable style,” Castillo says. “I want it to be where you can eat two or three times a week. Someplace you can get Venezuelan, Mexican, or Vietnamese flavors.”
While the bakery has been closed since the acquisition, it won't stay empty long. The Godoys have leased the space to chef Omar Pereney, who will open his Love Croissants concept there. Launched last year at the Urban Harvest farmers market, Love Croissant serves a range of the flakey pastries that includes traditional options such as butter and pain au chocolate as well as ham and asiago, blueberry-lemon-lime tart, and the crolache, which is stuffed with a jalapeno and cheddar beef sausage and cheddar cheese. Pereney tells CultureMap he plans to serve people every Wednesday-Sunday from 7 am until 1 pm beginning in early June.
So far, Xavier says he’s pleased with the progress they’ve made. In the dining room, visitors will notice a fresh coat of paint and the addition of potted plants. The wine list has been upgraded with more boutique wines. People are ordering the Mastrantos’ dishes that have been added to the menu.
“We believe this will be a great offering for the neighborhood. We’re excited,” Xavier says. “We’re noticing people coming back and getting excited again. The biggest comment we get is ‘I stopped coming. I heard about new ownership. I wanted to give it a try.’”