The vast Mediterranean offers a profusion of intersecting cultures, languages, and flavors. March, which opened in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood in 2021, is devoted to exploring these layers through the lens of gastronomy and history. Part of the Goodnight Hospitality portfolio, which also includes European comfort food restaurant Rosie Cannonball and Montrose Cheese & Wine Shop, March’s kitchen is led by chef and partner Felipe Riccio.
A native of Veracruz, Mexico, with a mother of Spanish heritage and an Italian father, Riccio moved to Houston as a teenager, where he was struck by its diversity, “both its restaurant scene and the people that make up our city,” he points out. Along with working at Houston establishments including Aura, Reef, the Pass & Provisions, and Camerata, Riccio has also staged in Italy—including at Osteria Francescana under Massimo Bottura—as well as in Spain at Azurmendi and in New York with Dan Barber at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. This year, Riccio was named a James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Texas semifinalist, a recognition of his ambition and hard work stretching back to high school.
“I grew up around food and hospitality as both of my parents worked in the industry and the most primal memory is seeing my dad cook for our family,” recalls Riccio. “I wanted to do it because I saw him do it. I saw how happy those meals made everyone.”
Diners flock to March, drawn to the design—the handiwork of locally based Curtis & Windham Architects, New York’s Studio Robert McKinley, and Goodnight Hospitality’s own creative partners—as much as the menu and Riccio’s down-to-earth personality. In the lounge, a Murano glass chandelier and 1960s Champagne cart meld with works from German artist Christoph Ruckhäberle and San Antonio-based Matt Kleberg. In the dining room, a moody painting by Northern Irish artist Oliver Jeffers complements tables from Riccio’s wife Hayley, now an industrial designer for human spaceflight at the NASA Johnson Science Center. Crafted from European beech and brass patina accents, they transform the notion of the ubiquitous flowing white tablecloth by embracing padded tabletops swathed in linen.
For Riccio, March’s design is a direct extension of the kitchen. “It is a complement and a reflection. They share simplicity and a conscious use of natural but luxurious materials and ingredients,” he says. “We are all a huge part of the design process at Goodnight Hospitality, and I am lucky to have my wife as a resource to help shape my input.”
Next up for the group is the Marigold Club, courtesy of New York’s Parts and Labor Design. Located in the former Goodnight Charlie’s space and opening in 2023, it will be a modern take on continental cuisine, complete with a speakeasy-inspired private dining room.
This article originally appeared in HD’s July 2022 issue.