Houston Diners Have Just A Few Nights Left to Enjoy Sud Italia in Rice Village
As first reported by the Houston Chronicle, Sud Italia owner Shanon Scott is closing the restaurant in favor of revamping it into a more casual Italian eatery. The final nights of service for Sud Italia are Friday, December 28, Saturday, December 29 and Monday, December 31, which is, of course, New Year’s Eve. The restaurant opens nightly at 5 p.m. On January 11, the restaurant is reemerging as Roma, a more casual and affordable trattoria specializing in pizzas and pasta.
The days between Sud Italia closing and Roma opening gives Scott the opportunity to remodel the dining room. “You will not recognize the new interior,” he said. “It’s a complete redo!” He says his favorite new design touches are the classic black-and-white framed photos of Italians that are going to adorn the walls.
Sud Italia’s name meant “Southern Italy” and the corresponding menu — as well as the homey but elegant atmosphere — was praised by restaurant critics after it opened. However, in the three years since it’s opened, it’s gone through several executive chefs, each of who wanted to put his unique stamp on the menu. Ale “Sandro” Scarafile from Italy was brought onboard six months after the restaurant opened. Maurizio Ferrarese left his long-held post at Quattro at the Four Seasons Houston to take the role almost a year ago. (He’s now at Hotel Granduca.) Angelo Cuppone, who was promoted from the chef de cuisine position ended up being Sud Italia’s final executive chef. He’s going to stay onboard to man Roma’s kitchen which should also lend consistency and stability.
Another issue for Sud Italia — which Roma is going to have, too — has been lack of parking. The building is a former house that does not have its own lot. Limited parking is available in back and on the streets. That said, there’s a valet in the evening and inexpensive parking at the Rice Village Arcade Garage located diagonally from the restaurant.
(Parking is an issue that plagues Rice Village in general — to the point where the Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research did a special study on it. It turns out there’s plenty of parking; it’s just that most spaces are privately held and inaccessible to the general public.)
The one constant, though, has been Scott himself and ultimately it’s his vision and fondness for Italian fare that’s guided every Sud Italia menu and wine list. That is going to be the case at Roma as well — except hopefully this time around the clientele is going to visit more often.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.