Japanese restaurant Bento Picnic and its wine shop Saba San’s are closing at the East Cesar Chavez location. The last day for the businesses at 2600 East Cesar Chavez Street will be Saturday, February 18.
Owner Leanne Valenti wrote in an email that she is taking a sabbatical to “create space for what’s next.” High-end omakase spot Sushi|Bar ATX, which began popping up in Bento’s private dining room in January 2021 before making the pop-up permanent in August 2021, will continue to operate out of the space, and Bento Picnic will be available for catering.
Valenti founded Bento Picnic in 2014 as a bento box delivery/pickup service, creating boxes with colorful ingredients prepared in each of the core cooking methods (pickling, grilling, steaming, baking, and raw). Bento Picnic moved into a stand at 2600 East Cesar Chavez in 2017 and added a natural wine shop, Saba San’s, to the building in April 2020. Bento Picnic was also sued by paleo restaurant Picnik in 2019 over the use of the word “picnic,” but a judge denied that lawsuit.
Valenti also wrote that her highest priority was finding new jobs for her staff, and asked potential employers to contact her here.
Bento Picnic will be open its usual hours until its last day: Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., closing from 3 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday for a staff meeting.