Diners can expect chops, steak, handmade pasta and other Italian fare at the new restaurant in the Montrose Collective.
The new Italian restaurant is slated to open at the Montrose Collective in early spring 2022.
Alex Smith, Steve Radom and Eric Smith are all in on a new Houston Italian restaurant.
After establishing themselves on the Houston restaurant scene with Ouzo Bay and Loch Bar in River Oaks District, Atlas Restaurant Group founders Alex and Eric Smith are extending their brand with a new Italian restaurant in the highly anticipated Montrose Collective mixed-use center. It’s the next step in a vision that could soon include restaurants throughout Houston.
The new Italian restaurant will riff slightly off an existing Atlas Group restaurant in Baltimore, but the restauranteurs promise the restaurant will be uniquely Houston, filling a niche they found lacking in the market after months of research. The menu will feature steak and chops, plus handmade pasta, charcuterie and other classic Italian fare.
“It’s going to be very comfortable — a place you could eat every day,” Alex Smith tells PaperCity. “You can get a chicken parm and Ceasar salad for $30 or you could splurge a little, but it’s not going to be hard on the wallet.”
The yet-to-be-named restaurant will be awash in earth tones and wood, infused with a Tuscan farmhouse aesthetic. Expect views of historic live oak trees and an extensive patio in a 5,500-square-foot space.
Close to 100 seats will wrap around the restaurant, offering views of Grand Street and the indoor/outdoor feel will include necessary creature comforts such as fans, cooling misters and plenty of shade. Live music seven days a week will add extra entertainment flair.
While the Smiths were researching which style of food to feature, they were also looking for just the right location in places across the city. Neighborhoods are important to the brothers, and they see value in Houston’s various nooks and crannies.
“Houston is a city of neighborhoods, much like Baltimore. When we open (a new concept) it will be someplace new and different to the neighborhood. Not a chain,” Alex Smith says.
“Houston is just so unique and diverse,” Eric Smith adds.
The duo is fond of the Bayou City and plans to buy homes in Houston and spend more time here with family and friends. The brothers are bullish on the city and have plans for other restaurants, so don’t look for an Ouzo Bay in Chicago or Los Angeles. Alex Smith tells PaperCity that Houston and possibly Dallas are where they’ve set their sights.
“We love Texas and think Houston is a boomtown,” Alex says. “For restaurants that made it on the other side of the pandemic, there are people are eager to get out again.” None of the Atlas Group restaurants closed during the pandemic.
Montrose Collective Power
The neighborhood draw is one reason Montrose Collective is an appealing location for the restaurant. The mixed-use development is on Westheimer Road along Grand and Crocker Streets and consists of five buildings, 100,000 square feet of office space and more than 50,000 square feet of retail.
Montrose Collective will be home to six new restaurants and 15 new-to-market retail shops when the Michael Hsu-designed project opens with preserved mature live oak trees perched above wide, covered walkways, public art and natural gathering places.
“We couldn’t be more excited that Alex and Eric have selected Montrose Collective for their first Italian concept in Texas,” Radom Capital managing principal Steve Radom says in a statement. “I was absolutely blown away by their creativity and attention to detail on a recent visit to Baltimore, and the quality of their concepts speaks for itself. And I’m confident they will create something special for Montrose that will resonate with locals and visitors alike.”
Local architect Tim Cisneros is leading the design of the new space, working in tandem with Maryland-based designer Patrick Sutton to bring the relaxed Italian spot to life. The restaurant is slated for an early spring 2022 opening.
“Americans love Italian food and Italian food is eaten almost every day,” Alex says. “We’re looking forward to bringing our concept to Houston.”