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Real Estate / Restaurants

Upscale Italian Restaurant Abruptly Shutters Even as a Hooters Controversy Rages On Next Door

Is a Once Hot Neighborhood Fizzling?

BY // 06.28.17

Upscale Italian restaurant Avanti Ristorante has abruptly closed its satellite Fort Worth location a mere 15 months after moving in. The restaurant was the first on its block to open in downtown Fort Worth’s City Place development. A stone’s throw away from bustling Sundance Square, City Place was set to become Fort Worth’s next restaurant hotspot, but perhaps Avanti’s closing is just one sign that the neighborhood’s scene is fizzling.

When Avanti settled into its second home in March 2016, restaurants Wild Salsa and Chop House Burger – which also have their home base in Dallas – moved in next door shortly after. Then, one controversial new neighbor threatened to stir up the burgeoning restaurant scene.

A Hooters is slated to open next door to Avanti’s former Fort Worth address, though certain residents are doing everything they can to stop the sports bar from opening downtown.

Avanti is not the only Italian restaurant that lost its footing in the neighborhood. A couple blocks away, Vino 53 closed a year ago and was replaced with Mercury Chop House. Now Tuscan-inspired eatery Taverna is the only Italian spot left in an area dominated by New American, Southwestern and Mexican restaurants.

The short lifespan of Avanti in Fort Worth is a surprise considering the restaurant’s longstanding success in Uptown Dallas. The bistro has been an enduring favorite on the city’s busiest bar street for more than 30 years. Avanti is known for its romantic ambiance and expertly prepared classic Italian cuisine.

The Fort Worth restaurant occupied twice the space of the original McKinney Avenue location, and the extra room allowed for a more extensive menu.

This is the second Avanti outpost to close – the downtown Dallas location shut down in 2014 after a 19 year run.

Owner Amin Malek tells CultureMap that the Fort Worth location closed “due to lack of traffic.” The restaurant has no immediate plans to relocate elsewhere in Cowtown. 

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