The company behind The Union Kitchen is planning a new Italian restaurant in Cypress

Plate Gr8 Hospitalitythe company behind the six The union kitchen pitches and three Jax Grill locations, launches its first Italian restaurant. Called Bridgeit is located at 9945 Barker Cypress at Cypress’s Towne Lake Boardwalk center – which is also the site of one of The Union Kitchen restaurants. Passerella opens on May 17. (The name means “gateway” or “gateway”, alluding to the lakeside location.)

“We are very happy to see this project come to fruition,” said Paul Miller, who co-owns Gr8 Plate with his wife, Doris. “For us, it’s about bringing together the freshest ingredients we can find to create a menu that is distinctly different from anything we’ve done in the past. Our hope is to provide an elevated dining experience that complements the beautiful views of Boardwalk Towne Lake.

Fritto misto at Passerella in Cypress
Fritto misto at Passerella in Cypress. Photo by Jenn Duncan.

Chef Ed Roberts and his wife Stephanie are in charge of the kitchen. The duo will offer appetizers such as a charcuterie board, conveniently half-size or full-size, loaded with artisan cheeses, charcuterie, olives, mixed nuts, pickled vegetables and homemade bread. Other antipasti include Fritto Misto (Italian for “mixed fried”) with calamari, prawns, fried lemon rings, white anchovies, arugula and candied lemon herb dressing; ricotta montata, sweet, whipped ricotta topped with fresh mint, parsley, honey and extra virgin olive oil served with polenta; and Arancini (fried risotto balls with mozzarella). There are also soups, like Zuppa of Aragosta, Maine lobster in a creamy broth, topped with Calabrian pesto. Starters are complemented by salads like arugula insalatababy arugula with buffalo mozzarella, apple, crispy prosciutto and red wine vinaigrette.

Branzino alla Calabrese at Passerella in Cypress
Branzino went Calabrese to Passerella in Cypress. Photo by Jenn Duncan.

Of course, there are entries. Many offer seafood, such as pan-fried Branzino alla Calabrese with spinach risotto, creamy Calabrian pesto sauce and blistered grape tomatoes. There are also hearty meat dishes, such as agnello with crosta di erbe, which translates to “herb-crusted lamb”. Side dishes include three cheese polenta and crispy Brussels sprouts with finely grated parmesan.

While common Italian practice is not to mix seafood and cheese, frutti di mare alfredo dares to break with the standards by mixing sautéed Gulf shrimp, giant crab and forest mushrooms with fettuccine topped with homemade Alfredo sauce. Another pasta dish is bucatini and polpetteTomato-braised meatballs and bucatini served with a classic meat sauce and a little grated Grana Padano.

bar in Mangia Passerella
Passerella’s lively bar in Cypress. Photo by Jenn Duncan.

Outfitted with plush chairs and booths, Passarella is designed to linger, meaning guests can enjoy an after-dinner amaro either in the dining room, on the Towne Lake-view deck, or at the bar. outfitted with “yellow Ferrari” bar stools (to match the Ferrari sign on the wall, of course).

Cocktails at Passerella in Cypress
Dante’s Inferno themed cocktails at Passerella in Cypress, left to right: Virgil, Paradiso, Purgatorio and Negroni Inferno. Photo by Jenn Duncan.

beverage manager Dylan Hartwhose past experience includes Brix Wine Cellars and Salt Grass Steakhouse, has developed a “whimsical” cocktail that draws inspiration from Dante’s Inferno. Paradise is a cocktail made with white rum sweetened with passion fruit liqueur, orgeat, Velvet Falernum and Luxardo cherry syrup, and topped off with an acidity of lemon juice. Dark spirit aficionados might be aiming for the Virgil with rye whiskey, Averna and Angostura and orange bitters. Those who love gin might consider Purgatory, the juniper infused spirit blended with Aperol, rosemary simple syrup, grapefruit juice, lemon juice and a dash of Peychaud bitters.

Miller and Head Sommelier matt stevenson (formerly of The Tasting Room) has built a 55-bottle wine list anchored by Italian selections – such as Nebbiolo, Chianti and Sangiovese – and crowd-lovers form California. Those who want to relax with a beer will find choices from here and there. A round of drinks could easily be accompanied by one of the pizzas, like the mushroom pizza garnished with a creamy bechamel sauce, mozzarella, forest mushrooms, mixed herbs and white truffle salt.

Passerella’s opening hours are Monday and Wednesday-Thursday 3pm-10pm, Friday-Saturday 3pm-11pm, and Sunday 3pm-9pm. closed on Tuesdays. For reservations or more information, call (281) 213-2354. (The website isn’t quite finished yet, but it should be live by May 17.)

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