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La Sombra Closed, Will Reopen As Italian Joint

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La Sombra, the Peruvian restaurant Latin American restaurant (Chef Julio corrects us!) at Burnet and 47th Street, closed its doors on New Year's Day with plans to reopen as a "funky" Italian restaurant where the "bartender will also spin guests’ favorite vinyl records" starting January 16th. The new place will be called Gusto Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar, and Chef Julio-Cesar Florez will stay on in the kitchen. But owner Cameron Lockley tells us this morning that the La Sombra concept is not down for the count.

"We really liked La Sombra," he tells us by phone. "We loved the food, we loved the concept, we loved the drinks, we loved the atmosphere." But, he says, "We needed something that was more for the neighborhood." After talking to neighborhood folks, "the feedback and discussions we had was that a neighborhood Italian eatery was needed right here."

As for La Sombra, Lockley says they're looking for a smaller space for the concept, where they can focus on their bar and popular appetizers and ceviche.

This morning Lockley also sent over a lengthy press release with details on Gusto Italian Kitchen and La Sombra's closing. Ta-da:

Local restaurateurs set to open new Gusto Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar January 16th in Rosedale neighborhood

(Austin, Texas – January 2, 2012) – A dynamic, new restaurant offering chef-inspired Italian cuisine and a diverse wine menu, Gusto Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar, will open the week of January 16th, 2012 at 4800 Burnet Road in the Rosedale neighborhood. The funky, new neighborhood Italian eatery will take the space of former restaurant La Sombra Bar & Grill. Both restaurants are locally-owned by Eddie Bernal and Cameron Lockley, who decided to temporarily close La Sombra Bar & Grill as of January 1, 2012 as they search for a different, more intimate location in Austin to re-open the Latin inspired bar and grill at a later date.

“We are thankful for all of the wonderful La Sombra Bar & Grill patrons who have supported the restaurant these past couple of years. It has been an amazing journey exploring and experiencing the diverse, bold flavors of Latin America and we look forward to continuing that journey in the near future,” said managing partner Cameron Lockley. “In the meantime, we believe that our new Gusto Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar will prove to be a popular neighborhood eatery that our friends and family in Rosedale and the surrounding areas can embrace and call their own. After all, we are here for the customers!”

Bernal and Lockley have teamed up with culinary partner Susie Modiano for planning of the menu. A native of Los Angeles with Italian heritage, Modiano got her start at the La Brea bakery in her hometown before heading to the Big Apple where she worked at Il Buco and then Fressen, eventually becoming the sous chef at the latter. Back on the West Coast, she continued her career as sous chef in San Francisco at the infamous Zuni Café. She and husband Chef Jason Tallent recently moved to Austin when he took the chef position at local 34th Street Cafe.

In Italian, gusto means to drink, to taste, and to enjoy - and the menu at Gusto Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar has been crafted with comfort and flavor at the forefront. Menu offerings include dishes ranging from house-made antipasta with roasted peppers and fresh mozzarella to hand-formed pizzas, salads, pressed paninis, pastas, entrees, and desserts. Signature dishes will include Crispy Polenta Fries with a roasted tomato dipping sauce and parmiggiano reggiano; the Panzanella Salad with house-made ciabatta croutons and a warm bacon dressing; and The Soprano panini layered with sweet coppa, provolone, and pepperoncinis on pressed ciabatta. Classic Italian dishes will have their place on the menu as well, including offerings like the Margharita Pizza with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil and Pappardelle Bolognese made with fresh pasta and a family recipe for bolognese. Prices will range from $4 to $11 for antipastas and appetizers, $5 to $10 for soups and salads, $8 to $9 for paninis, $9 to $12 for pasta, $9 to $14 for pizza, and $12 to $16 for entrees.

The remodeling process, led by local architect and designer Robert F. Smith, will incorporate warm colors including Italian stencil “graffiti” implemented by local artist Federico Archuleta. A mirrored bar at the center will feature select wines from Italy and around the world priced between $20 and $39 a bottle, beers on tap and by the bottle, and fair-trade Italian roast espresso drinks where the bartender will also spin guests’ favorite vinyl records.

Gusto Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar will be open for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 4 -10 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 -10:30 p.m. Weekday lunch and weekend brunch will be added in the near future. Guests can learn more about the restaurant by visiting www.gustoitaliankitchen.com where menus will be posted in the coming days. Gift cards previously purchased at La Sombra Bar & Grill will be honored at Gusto Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar.

About Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar

Located in the Rosedale neighborhood of north-central Austin, Gusto Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar captures the warm, comforting, every-day flavors of Italian cuisine in its casual and diverse menu. Dishes range from house-made antipasta with roasted peppers and fresh mozzarella to hand-formed pizzas, salads, pressed paninis, pastas, entrees, and desserts. The funky, inviting design incorporates rich colors with stencil “graffiti” art. The bar features select wines from Italy and around the world priced between $20 and $39 a bottle, beers on tap and by the bottle, and fair-trade Italian roast espresso drinks.

Located at 4800 Burnet Road, Austin, Texas 78756, the restaurant will be open for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 4 – 10 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 - 10:30 p.m. Weekday lunch and weekend brunch will be added in the near future. Guests can learn more about the restaurant by visiting www.gustoitaliankitchen.com.


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[Photo: La Sombra/Facebook]

(Former) La Sombra

4800 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78756

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