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Spaghetti alle vongole is a traditional Italian dish we cannot wait for you to try! The fresh clams open during cooking, releasing a salty flavor that enhances the marriage of olive oil and garlic. Our test kitchen is definitely bringing the flavor this week! #houstonfood #houstoneats
It's not often you're going to come across a restaurant that's also a flower shop, but that's what Fiori is going for.
"Conceptually we really want it to be more than a restaurant," says Mimi MacDougall, director of visuals and marketing for Fiori, a regional Italian concept likely to open June 10 at the former La Villa space at 4315 Montrose Blvd. "We want people to leave fed in more ways than one."
That doesn't mean you'll be eating pasta while people wind around your table to look at orchids. The flower shop will be confined to a corner left of the entrance, while the rest of the lower level will be reserved for main seating and an L-shaped bar. An upper level will include additional private seating, plus a second shop for Italian goods like linens and glassware, and a patio that'll be open when the weather cooperates.
There will be orchids, though, hanging from the ceiling, along with an array of flowers and plants decorating the mostly concrete-toned space. Owners Alessio Vitale and Enrica Vagliani Gray, both Italian natives, also warmed the interior with wood paneling and added paintings above the bar.
"We want people to be experiencing a place that's supposed to do nothing but facilitate good feeling," MacDougall says. "I'm still planting every week. It's been really fun making and transforming the space."
As for the food, expect dishes to change seasonally and to reflect both classic and modern Italian fare. Local chef Marcos Salazar, who has worked with Jose Hernandez of Lucienne and Radio Milano, will run the kitchen, creating fare like spaghetti alle vongole and polpo alla griglia. MacDougall says Fiori will boast a true carbonara dish, and is sourcing ingredients from hard-to-find vendors across the country and otherwise; for example, porchetta di ariccia is coming from a family company in Union Township, New Jersey, not very far west from Staten Island and Brooklyn.
The beverage program at Fiori will be heavier on wine and lighter on cocktails. The restaurant may not receive its liquor license in time for opening, so it may be BYOB in those first couple weeks.
And considering Fiori is opening during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's taking safety into account. When it opens, it'll keep its dining room at whatever restriction may be in place at the time, and there won't be takeout service.
Fiori will be open 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m. for lunch including coffee and pastries (also gelato), and then 5:30–10:45 p.m. for dinner. There'll also be Sunday brunch service.