A new restaurant is taking over Bess Bistro’s vacant space on West 6th Street: Sophia’s from owners Matt Deichl, Jonathan Gillespie, and James Brown of BDG Hospitality. The name is meant to evoke actress Sophia Loren and modern Italy aesthetic.
Set to open in late spring, Sophia’s is pegged as modern Italian-American supper club, serving pasta, roasted fish, and a lot of shareable plates. The drinks menu emphasizes cordials, Prosecco, alongside wine and Italian-tinged cocktails. No chefs are attached to the project just yet.
Brown considered the West 6th Street space iconic and wanted to create something there ever since he first visited the restaurant. BDG currently runs Parliament and rooftop lounge The Kensington in Chicago.
Bess Bistro closed down last September. There were several chef shuffles during its time, including Camden Stuerzenberger, Janelle Reynolds, and Roman Murphy (who
currently oversees oversaw Isla's kitchen and now works at Clark's as chef de cuisine). Actress Sandra Bullock opened the originally-French spot in 2006. The initial replacement concept for Bess involved tapas in a lounge setting.
Austin went through an Italian surge last year with Juliet, Juniper, Italic, Al Fico, and others. So far this year, there are two other Italian restaurants on the lineup: Gatto Nero and Enoteca Gattino on East 6th Street as part of The Arnold complex.