When Benjamin Berg opened B&B Butchers & Restaurant, he set out to create the best steakhouse in Houston. Since they opened their doors in 2015, B&B has remained one of the top-rated restaurants in the city and opened a second location in Fort Worth, Texas.
So, when he turned his attention to Italian cuisine and teamed up with his Michelin-star restaurant-alumnus brother, Daniel Berg, the city paid notice. News of Carmelo’s renovation was covered by publications such as Eater Houston, the Houston Business Journal, the Houston Chronicle and CultureMap Houston.
With his experience opening multiple restaurant locations in old buildings, Benjamin has a deep knowledge of the process of a renovation as extensive as awaits him at B.B. Italia & B.B. Pizza (formerly Carmelo’s). In January 2019, he announced the temporary closure of the restaurant (reported in the Houston Business Journal) to focus his efforts on the renovations.
As of March 25th, the Berg brothers announced that Carmelo’s will reopen as two new concepts – B.B. Italia Kitchen & Bar and B.B. Pizza. Expanding Berg Hospitality’s portfolio, this neighborhood staple will exude a fresh and new environment for diners.
Benjamin’s business savvy has also identified opportunities that haven’t been explored at this historic eatery. A section of the building will be transformed into a bar and patio where locals and visitors will have access to its full menu in a more casual, family-friendly setting. Serving liquor, wine, and beer throughout the restaurant is also unique to an Italian-American restaurant in the Houston area.
Part of the refresh will include a new offering: authentic New York-style pizza. Their new “real New York” stone deck pizza oven will be used for takeout only – a decision made to avoid overcomplicating the dine-in menu or disrupting the in-house ambiance.
Classics to include Margherita and Pepperoni Pizzas to go
Carmelo’s has been known for its catering services and hosts a multitude of parties for the surrounding neighbors and more. Daniel has already revitalized the menu while Benjamin has purchased a van that focuses solely on catering orders.
Approaching these new avenues with Benjamin’s knack for creating an unforgettable experience will build brand new revenue streams.
The decision to maintain a family-oriented experience was partially in response to the restaurant’s locale. It’s a market that Benjamin is engaged in as a resident and expects that, by offering authentic, New York-style pizza, subs and calzones as a takeout option, it will still capture customers seeking convenient yet high-quality offerings.
Demonstrating the “right way” (the New York City-way) to eat a slice of pizza. From left to right Jeffrey Baron, Daniel Berg, and Benjamin Berg
Should they wish to dine in though, they’ll be the recipients of Benjamin’s impressive brand of hospitality, developed and honed over his years spent in every role of the industry. In addition to receiving his Masters in the subject from Cornell University and working for the then number-one small hotel in the country — The Point in upstate New York — he spent the better part of 17 years working in upscale steakhouses in cities ranging from New York to Las Vegas to Mexico City before opening his own in Houston.
Prior to joining his brother in Texas, Daniel Berg had recently been focusing on French cuisine. But after several years of cooking Italian classics and studying in Italy, he was excited by the opportunity to return to his culinary roots. Both the Berg brothers grew up eating Italian food in New York City, one of the best places in the world for Italian outside of Italy – and better than the original thanks to its New World twists! After a lifelong love for the cuisine, they hope to share an outstanding Italian-American experience with the city they now call home.
Chef Berg plating his favorite dish: Fettuccine Alfredo