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Jeannine's Bistro Temporarily Closed, but Sorrento Has Reopened

The moules congolaise at Jeannine's Bistro were one of last year's 100 Favorite Dishes.
The moules congolaise at Jeannine's Bistro were one of last year's 100 Favorite Dishes.
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt

A mix of good news and bad news from Lower Westheimer: After a small kitchen fire in late March shut its doors temporarily, Sorrento reopened last week.

"We are very happy to announce that after recent renovations and repairs due to the fire, we have re-opened our doors," said manager Sami Bates. While the kitchen needed fixing up, the beautiful arched ceilings and Italianate frescoes inside the restaurant weren't damaged, and neither was Sorrento's spirit.

Unfortunately, another Montrose mainstay has been temporarily shuttered with no reopening date in sight.

Jeannine's Bistro Temporarily Closed, but Sorrento Has Reopened
Photo by Juan Rojas

Jeannine's Bistro closed its doors this past Saturday, posting the following message on its Facebook page:

To all our friends & patrons: Sorry, we are temporarily closed and will update as we make some decisions.

The Belgian restaurant with the killer moules-frites had recently been scaling back, axing lunch service as of April 10 to "make a few necessary changes," according to its Facebook page. This turn comes as a surprise considering that the bistro was so popular when it first opened that it expanded from its original, cozy dining room to take over the space next door only one year later.

Jeannine's had recently been experiencing trouble staffing up, according to postings on Facebook -- a problem I know many restaurant owners are currently experiencing as our dining scene continues to expand full steam ahead. The bistro posted on April 14:

To our friends & patrons : Had a very busy Sat. night, and admittedly very tough, as we are a bit shorthanded at the moment. Aplologies if you didn't get the service we feel should be given. We are trying to get some good help. Hard to find good help in restaurant biz, so if you know any good waiters & kitchen helpers, please, send them our way! Thank you.

Jeannine's Bistro opened in 2009 as one of the two Belgian restaurants born from the closure of Cafe Montrose. Located in the Lower Westheimer space where Vinoteca Poscol currently serves Italian tapas, Cafe Montrose was long the only Belgian restaurant in town. Its owners divorced and the restaurant closed in 2008, but co-owner Andrew Klarman opened Jeannine's Bistro with his sister, the eponymous Jeannine, a year later.

Meanwhile, Klarman's ex-wife, Catherine Duwez, is still running a Belgian restaurant of her own: Cafe Brussels, which took over the old Dharma Cafe space on Houston last year. It's currently the best bet for your moules-frites and Chimay fix while Jeannine's works the kinks out -- which I hope happens sooner rather than later. Or, worse, not at all.

A call to Jeannine's Bistro for comment has not yet been returned, but we'll update as we have more info.



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