Each Friday, Gastronaut rounds up the most notable openings and closings of the week.
Though we typically only feature one opening and one closing per week here at Gastronaut—after all, we're all about curating the most noteworthy news each Friday—we sadly have to double up this week as we bid farewell to two Houstonia favorites: Italian restaurant Osteria Mazzantini and Midtown cocktail dive Leon's Lounge.
Chef John Sheely's modern Italian joint near the Galleria was off to a great start when it opened in August 2013 but had already started to stumble by the time Houstonia reviewed its food—which critic Robb Walsh called "fantástico"—in July 2014. Rumors of its closure began swirling around the same time, though the restaurant managed to hang on until this week, when the Houston Chronicle reported that it finally closed its doors for good. Sheely will continue to concentrate on his well-regarded Montrose restaurant, Mockingbird Bistro, which is still going strong in its 13th year.
Meanwhile, Leon's Lounge—which we recently recognized as one of the best bars in Houston—served its last drink this week, as reported by James Glassman of Houstorian. As Glassman noted, Leon's was commonly considered the city's oldest continually operating bar, having first come to life as a joint called La Bamba in 1949. Over at the Houston Press, Chris Gray reported that an ongoing dispute between Leon's owner Pete Mitchell and his landlord proved to be Leon's undoing. Whether or not Leon's will get a second shot at life elsewhere in the city, one thing is for certain: whatever moves in to 1006 McGowen St. next will no longer be able to call itself the "city's oldest continually operating bar."
In happier news, another old spot has been given new life: the Sugar Land location of Los Tios, which recently underwent a renovation after 35 years in the same spot. The restaurant at 3308 Hwy. 6 South was given a six-figure makeover that includes five new private dining rooms and plenty of behind-the-scenes updating in the kitchen. The "new" Los Tios will hold its official grand opening on Wednesday, February 4, but it's already open for business right now if you just can't wait for your enchilada dinner fix.