Never-say-die Damien Watel, he of Bistro Vatel, Bistro Bakery, Ciao Lavanderia, and the Fork Fight in Stone Oak, is marshaling his forces to make Ciao II, the surviving restaurant of his northside beachhead (designed by yours truly), more user-friendly. “Not so foodie,” is what he actually said. Accordingly, Ciao II may append Bar & Grill to its name (he already has a liquor license), he will modify the menu to feature pizzas, pastas, and burgers, will begin serving margaritas y mas (presumably not getting so fancy in this department as to challenge the Green Lantern speakeasy immediately below), and will install pool tables and pinball-type machines. All this should happen by the end of February. Meanwhile, the neighboring space that housed Ciel remains empty with no firm plans on the horizon.
On another front, Watel still plans to open a casual Café des Artistes on the river at the San Antonio Museum of Art around Valentine’s Day, despite some controversy over the name associated with the now-defunct New York restaurant. “There are Cafés des Artistes all over the world,” he says, “so I don’t see what the issue is.” We don’t, either, and he has registered SA Café des Artistes as a domain name regardless. — Ron Bechtol
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