Sabetta Café: In and Out on South Shepherd in Less Than 5 Months Flat

That little pan-Italian cafe that former Simposio executive chef Riccardo Palazzo-Giorgio and his wife Donna tried to fit into the old Café Zol space on South Shepherd just shy of Fairview is calling it quits as of today. The “criminally unpopulated” (said Chron taster Alison Cook) Sabetta Café and Wine Bar opened just this past May, following a quaint astroturfing publicity experiment. “The reviews we received were incredible,” the Palazzo-Giorgios wrote to their fans in a non-judgmental kind of way today, “and we are thankful for the opportunity to have been able to share our passion for Italian food with Houston, however short that time may have been.”

Photo (from last April): Swamplot inbox

19 Comment

  • That place almost seems to hide. It’s on a curve of a busy street so people are busy watching the road and not gawking for eateries. Second, with the line of trees on the curb and then a huge wall of other foliage it’s like the place is hiding, trying to win most expensive with least visibility.

    The next tenant need to rip out all that foliage and shoot for an open air patio dining experience. People love conspicuous mimosa consumption in that part of town!

  • SL is right. There’s been a long line of restaurants there, starting with Monterey House. Some of them were pretty good. It’s too close to the the street on a scary curve. I hate driving in that part of Shepherd, regardless of how good the food is.

  • excellent point marmer! I’m wondering if this restaurant is in anyway related to Palazzo’s cafe on Westheimer. If so, their food has never dissapointed me, what a shame they didn’t do well in this location.

  • Cursed. Someone should tear it down and make a park.

  • This building may have bad feng shui. Where’s that dang boulder when you need it…

  • The location can’t be THAT bad. The Red Lion is always packed with people willing to fork out lots of their hard earned cash for overpriced beer and pub grub and it’s located all of 300 yards to the north. Kenneally’s is also only a few hundred yards north on Shepherd and it’s a Houston institution.

    The bigger issue is parking. This building has maybe 20 parking spots on site and no convenient street parking nearby for overflow. Sorry folks. That just isn’t going to cut it.

  • Hehe the boulder lives on..

  • “..too close to the street” and “scary curve”??? WTF? Stop and park the car before you go in to eat.

  • “The bigger issue is parking.” Um, surely you must be sacrastic — it seems like there is hardly anyone there everytime I pass by it, so parking certainly isn’t an issue there. :-) I think one problem might have to do with the fact that there are too many Italian places in Montrose.

  • No sarcasm. Even if people wanted to go there, they can’t unless they want to walk or ride the bus. No chance for success at this location for this or any other restaurant or bar.

  • True, Red Lion is a pub, but I don’t think it is fair to call the food at Red Lion “pub grub”. They turn out some fantastic food. Consummate cooking there.

  • I agree with stark raven. The food at Red Lion is great — surprisingly good Indian food. Maybe we need a Swampfood blog.

  • Didn’t even know the place existed and I live in the neighborhood – the sign is not visible going south. Pass by there on an almost daily basis, and noticed only last evening that it looked empty. Never enough GOOD Italian restaurants – I’m still looking for one, I’m sorry I didn’t know about this one.

  • Bummer. Had no idea that the Simposio people had this. I would have risked my life for the left turn into that hidden parking lot to eat their food. But it is a cursed location. Damn.

  • Red lion has UK style indian food, hardly authentic. Balti curry is as much pakastani as it is indian, want real indian food it’s likely going to vegetarian, bombay sweets, udipi etc. Curry is not indian, it’s anglicized.

  • I agree about the Red Lion. The food is very good, from the appetizers to the entrees, be they Indian or English. The $7 draft beers are a little pricey for the neighborhood, but they’d be at least $5 everywhere else for the type of beers that they serve, and I think that they are priced that way to control the type of crowd that goes there. It isn’t a Washington Ave. crowd.

  • The food at Red Lion is satisfactory, but to call it amazing is just wrong. Their chicken masala, although pretty tasty, is so rich it will put you in a coma. I mean, what isn’t good when it’s cream laden.

  • Shepherd Drive is one big scary curve. Get used to it.

  • They’ve have some good restaurants in that spot, quality has never been an issue. I do hate orange cones though, and that always seems to be a deal there.