CAFE LEONELLI IS now open inside the MFAH's Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, the stunning new wing that first opened in November.
Operated by The Bastion Collection, the hospitality company behind La Table on Post Oak, Café Leonelli is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jonathan Benno, and serves traditional Italian fare at an accessible price point. Beginning with breakfast at 8am, the casual-yet-artful cafe offers pastries like sfogliatelle and babka, and cornetto stuffed with savory combos like spinach, leeks, mushroom and egg.
Cafe Leonelli at night
Lunch — served until 5pm daily (8pm on Thursdays, when the museum stays open later) — brings fresh salads, stacked sandwiches and mouthwatering focaccia by the slice, half sheet or full sheet; larger plates include chicken cacciatore for just $12, and eggplant parm for $10.
Pasty chef Salvatore Martone — also a Michelin Star recipient, by the way — sells his Italian cookies by the pound, or grab abomboloni, eclair or cannoli to-go. Martone also opened an outpost of his famous Miami ice cream shop, Frohzen, within the café; the colorful creations include scoopable flavors like red-velvet, s'mores and Frutti di Bosco sorbet, plus popsicles, ice-cream-cookie-sandwiches and an incredibly rich tres-leches milkshake.
The creations are almost as artful as the masterpieces on display throughout the rest of the building — and, for what it's worth, in the restaurant itself. Patrons can dine indoors underneath Spencer Finch's Moon Dust (Apollo 17), or outside with a view of the art and verdant grounds of the Cullen Sculpture Garden.
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