It could have been a sad ending for Carmelo’s Ristorante, but restauranteur Benjamin Berg of B&B Butchers & Restaurant swooped in to save the eatery after he learned that owner Carmelo Mauro was closing it down after Christmas brunch service — a run that lasted 37 years.
The restaurant at 14795 Memorial Dr. is in good hands with Berg, who brings 17 years of experience to the table including time spent in high-end steakhouses in Las Vegas, Mexico City, and New York (his hometown). Berg earned a master’s degree in hospitality management from Cornell University, and he’s also part of a restaurateur family. His grandfather owned the iconic Orange Julius stand in Los Angeles, his great-grandfather was a kosher butcher, and his brother is leaving his chef’s post at a “well-known” New York City eatery to head up the executive chef position at Carmelo’s, the Chronicle reports.
After running Carmelo’s for nearly 40 years, Mauro seemed happy to pass the torch to Berg. “I wholeheartedly trust [Berg] to honor and respect the Carmelo’s name and only improve it in the years to come,” he said. “Berg brings my same, service-oriented mindset to his restaurants and truly believes in giving back to the community, something that has always been important to me.”
Restaurant employees were asked to stay in their current positions, and the restaurant’s long-time chef Fidel Cardozo will remain in his role, CultureMap reports. “It is time for us to move on to the next chapter in our lives,” Mauro wrote. “Thank you for these 37 wonderful years together. Thank you for making us your favorite place to celebrate your daily moments and your special days. Thank you for the smiles, the joy, and the tears you shared with us. Thank you for choosing us to be a part of your life.”
It looks like it’ll be a busy year for Berg, who has plans to open a second location of B&B Butchers & Restaurant in The Shops at Clearfork in Fort Worth in January. Then in fall 2018, he has plans to open Benjamin inside The Star, a luxury apartment building in downtown Houston.
Carmelo’s is located at 14795 Memorial Dr. and is open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and for dinner Monday through Thursday 5 to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m., and Sunday until 10 p.m.