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Michelin Star Restaurant Concept Coming this Spring to the MFAH

Le Jardinier and Cafe Leonelli will open soon with some serious names behind them.

By Timothy Malcolm January 13, 2021

From left, Salvatore Martone, Jonathan Benno, and Alain Verzeroli.

In the summer of 2019, Bastion Restaurants opened New York and Miami locations of a vegetable- and seafood-focused restaurant called Le Jardinier. In 2020, the Big Apple location won a Michelin Star. This year, Le Jardinier will open in Houston.

Bastion announced Tuesday the impending arrival of its renowned restaurant's H-Town location at the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Alain Verzeroli, executive chef of the Le Jardinier concept, will oversee the opening.

Along with Le Jardinier, Bastion is bringing the more casual Cafe Leonelli to MFAH. Where Le Jardinier will rely on a vegetable-rich menu that highlights Texas produce, Cafe Leonelli—run by chef Jonathan Benno—will feature buffet-style service, with pasta, polenta, focaccia, and more. The café will also offer pastries from Salvatore Martone.

Cafe Leonelli is slated to open in March, while Le Jardinier eyes an April unveiling.

"Houston is bustling, and we are excited to seize this opportunity with the Museum of Fine Arts to bring our combined expertise of high-quality cuisine and hospitality to the area,” said Benno, who is a partner at Bastion Restaurants, which also operates La Table in Uptown Houston. "We are thrilled to be in a premier location and are confident that both restaurants and our culinary creations will offer a natural extension of the world-renowned art at the museum."

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