Azzarelli’s Hits the Highway

Azzarelli’s Restaurant has fled the Tuscan-styled Villagio Town Center in Cinco Ranch, reports InsideKaty blogger Helen Eriksen — leaving behind a delinquent-rent notice on the front door . . . and some sort of lawsuit:

Inside the spacious eatery, napkins, bread plates and wine glasses are neatly arranged on the tables. Christmas decorations are also still in place but it’s unclear if the closing is permanent.

Efforts to reach [owner Frank] Triola were unsuccessful as of this blog posting. The person who answered the phone for the leasing agent, Villagio Partners, said she would have to check to see if someone could call me back because there is ongoing litigation in the matter.

Meanwhile, commenters have sighted a new Azzarelli’s just off the Katy Freeway:

However, driving down 1-10 heading west from Houston, the Barker Cypress exit has a new strip center and what do you know… Azzerelli’s is opening up a new restaurant! I think that the rent was very high at the Villagio Town Center and they are moving to a lower cost building. ??

Tuscan theming doesn’t come cheap. Another giveaway: the flashing “I-10 Location Coming soon!” notice on the Azzarelli’s website.

Photo: Azzarelli’s

12 Comment

  • Probably founded a cheaper place to rent from and just abandoned the other place.

    No wonder it’s in litigation.

  • Too bad the property owners are having to waste money trying to get what is rightfully theirs from these deadbeats.

    Although I can’t say I’m surprised. After eating there, I found the food mediocre at best, which even the worst of food can thrive in a community if it at least makes up for it in atmosphere and service. Which this restaurant didn’t.

    It was not kid friendly at all, which can hurt business in a neighborhood like cinco ranch. You combine that with a general disinterest in serving your clientele you’re business isn’t going to be able to make the bills.

    I ate there once. Once.

    I don’t know if the one on I-10 is necessarily owned by the same people, it could be a franchise operation that is just now moving into the area.

  • It is a locally/family owned business. They recently closed their Memorial location.

  • Walking away from an investment like this is not easy or cheap. If the restaurant was, say, 4000 sf, he had close to a million dollars in capital invested in the project. Start with construction costs ($125/sf), Kitchen equipment ($100k easy, even with some used equipment) FF&E probably was another $50k. Throw in other expenses such as A/E fees, legal fees, POS computers, phones, AV, plus startup staff/food/working capital and you are looking at a million bucks no problem. He may have had some TI money from the landlord, but it was probably only $25-$35/sf or so. I feel kinda bad for the investors/lenders/landlord, but not that bad…..
    Also, If the lease is terminated, he is looking at phantom income for the forgiven rent (if the default is final) which will put a hurt on his tax bill.
    I would not hold my breath for the other location at Barker-Cypress & I-10 to ever get off the ground as I’m sure the food/booze suppliers and staff got stiffed in addition to the landlord. No more beer for you Mr. Azz!

  • Insider info:
    This place is locked up because many bills from the construction were never paid and liens were put on the building. This plus several months of unpaid rent caused the lockout. There is WAY too much money owed to get it opened again.

    As for the I-10 location, it was actually supposed to be opened BEFORE the Villagio, but the developer couldn’t get it ready in time and Villaggio came first. The owner Frank was going to open 10 restaurants in 10 years, but he didn’t say how many he was going to close!

    The new place probably won’t last wrong due to financial management problems..

  • Too bad they didn’t pay rent. The place was packed the few times I went there. I am sure a better operator will go into this location soon.

  • First of all, I heard he was behind for many months on Azzarrelli rent. The rent at Villagio is not high at all…instead it is lower than La Centera and many other spaces in Katy. Too bad for Azzarrelli because it is such a nice center.

  • I was a worker there,they sure didn’t pay us a month payroll.I going to miss the nice people of cinco ranch and their families.We were really kids friendly,we sponsored all kind of kids sport teams in the area.

  • Frank Triola, owner of Azzarellis is a talented chef…. but like way too many chefs not a very good manager. His failure to pay staff, vendors, default on his lease, overextend his capital, struggling to open one location while simultaneously operating his other two locations (marginally) is so common. He micromanaged everything about his operations instead of adequately empowering, training, and trusting his management to do their jobs. Unfortunately in the F&B industry, his business model is way too common, ending up with these results. Operators beware: do responsible due dilligence, have more capital than you think you will need, underestimate pro-forma revenue, and overestimate pro-forma costs, have reasonable rate of return expectations, know you neighborhoods where you locate, spend lots of time doing site-location analysis, and operate ethically.

  • Please remove all negative comments

  • All this is not true

  • since this post thanks really has once again failed at another restaurant opened in the humble area and closed due to failure to pay rent and/or outstanding balances to all vendors looks like he’s up to his old games again