R.I.P. Andrew Rebori, Longtime Houston Restaurateur

Categories: News

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Photos courtesy of Lisa Rebori.
Andrew Rebori: May 18, 1948 - November 18, 2011.
Andrew Rebori was most recently known for running the cozy Just Dinner supper club on Dunlavy, the same restaurant that graciously hosted the very first pop-up dinners from chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner, Terrence Gallivan and Justin Yu. But longtime Houstonians will also remember Rebori from his popular Tutto Bene Italian Family Restaurant on Shepherd, which first opened in 1990.

Rebori passed away yesterday morning after losing a long battle with cancer.

Houston Press food critic Kelley Blewster praised the simple food and aesthetic of Rebori's Tutto Bene back in 1996:

The soul of a foodie who's jaded from too much exposure to all that's hipper-than-thou in today's restaurant scene might well find respite in the welcome presented by the two live oak trees flanking the dirt driveway into Tutto Bene's parking lot.

Rebori and his restaurants had a way of soothing souls. In a posting on HAIF from 2005, fans of Tutto Bene posted their memories of the restaurant after it closed in 2004.

"Man, I loved that place. It was exactly the kind of place that made living and eating out in the city superior to the endless chain restaurants that one is forced to endure in the suburbs. And, since it was hidden from the masses, one felt it was their own little secret place," wrote commenter Red Scare.

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Rebori in the kitchen, one of his favorite places.
Fans of Tutto Bene were pleased when Just Dinner opened a few years later, however. Another HAIF commenter described the gracious atmosphere that defined both Just Dinner and Tutto Bene:

It's a small, lovely place where you can bring your own wine. The pasta dishes offered are some of the old favorites from Tutto Bene... The menu also states "please feel free to ask for anything you would like to have for dinner. Most likely, I can accommodate you."

Rebori retired from Just Dinner this past July, when he became too ill to work. Although born in Chicago, he'd been a Houston restaurateur for 24 years.

Rebori leaves behind his wife of 26 years, Lisa, and a surrogate son, German Medina, who worked at his side in Rebori's restaurants for 11 years. With Lisa and German, Rebori had just completed a three-week road trip across the United States. Rebori had wanted to visit all of his friends and family before he passed away, and did so successfully. Writes wife Lisa of their adventure:

Andrew, Lisa and their friend, German, traveled across the southern U.S., up the east coast to New England, across New York state (including a trip to Niagara Falls) and finished the adventure with a stay in Holland, MI, in their newly acquired vacation home. It was a trip that left all his friends, family and healthcare professionals amazed and full of awe! He and Lisa then flew home to Houston where he remained receiving friends and family, with the élan of the host he had been all his life. He greeted each visitor with a huge grin and welcoming arms just as he had greeted the guests in his restaurants.

Rebori will be remembered by his family and friends as the epitome of a restaurateur who loved his life. "He started each day thinking about food, shopping and gardening," said Lisa. "He daily met all his customers. He was always concerned about their comfort and satisfaction. He took tremendous pride in creating opportunities for people to talk to each other and to share a good meal."

A service in celebration of his Andrew Rebori's life will be held Monday, November 28, at 3 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Ave. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Christ Church Cathedral in support of community outreach programs by calling 713-222-2593.



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16 comments
William R. Lynch
William R. Lynch

"If you forgive men their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you your offenses. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your offenses." (Mt. 6:14)  I am working on it.  I suffer from Irish Alzhemiers, so I have a lot of work to do.  Andrew, you were a happy guy in a glittering wrapper, but an evil sort at the core.  In approbation, I trust that you rest in great peace and eternal happiness, far from the trials of your skin disease and 24k pretentiousness. 

Raymorris
Raymorris

I know this is way too late  but I just saw this article. Andrew was everything the previous commenters have said and more.  I shall miss him.

Crilin03
Crilin03

fue un verdadero placer, disfrutar de sus deliciosos platos y de su agradable compania. que en paz descanse. luz

Giniwelch
Giniwelch

Andrew brought sunshine into the lives of everyone he came into contact with. His irreverent sense of humor was present even when he was little. He made all of us giggle along with him. He embraced his wife,  food and life with equal passion. We all miss himGin

Zoe
Zoe

In the fifteen years that I have known Andrew, he never failed to make me laugh when I saw him or make me smile when I thought of him.  He was one of the most charming and genuine men that I have ever known.  I will hold the memories of my times at Tutto Bene and Just Dinner very dear.  Cheers, Andrew and my condolences to Lisa.   

Robert Mayfield
Robert Mayfield

Andrew was a dreamer and a hard worker able to make hisdreams come true.  He called me up oneday and asked me to come take a look at a house he just bought.  He said he was going to make it into arestaurant.  I excitedly jumped in mytruck to take a look.  I checked theaddress twice to make sure I had the right spot.  There was romex running down the outside walland the electrical panel was about to fall off completely, and those where theeasy to fix items.  I told Andrew I couldrecommend a demolition contractor.  Hesmiled, put his hand on my shoulder and explained that he was going to make ita cozy little place.  He was excited withhis plans to get back to his roots and have something small and intimate.  He poured a ton of work and himself into thatplace.  He made that little dream cometrue.

I am thankful to have known Andrew.  He was an old hippie at heart who was quickwith a smile and to give a hug.  A nicemeal, a few glasses of wine and conversation with Andrew could make you forgetyou had a trouble in the world.  

May Godwelcome you as you have made so many feel so welcome.

God bless you old friend, rest in peace, you will be missed.

The Stewart's in spring
The Stewart's in spring

No words can describe him or contain him. He was a force of nature of his own. A lover of life, food, friends and family. My heart aches to hear of this news and will miss him dearly. Nothing but but fond sweet memories and laughter. Hugs to Lisa...we miss u guys!!! And u r in our thought and prayers...

Natalie
Natalie

Love you so Andrew....you are missed...I am thankful to have had you as a part of our lives.

Tjjdds
Tjjdds

So sad.

Loved the place and the feeling as though we were established as friends even on the first visit.

Zitisuzanna
Zitisuzanna

Hopefully he is visiting now with some of his dear old friends like Wallace and Helen. He gave me my one claim to fame by naming a dish after me. I will be praying for you Lisa and family, that God will give you peace and comfort during the difficult days and weeks ahead.

Melissa
Melissa

When I went to Just Dinner to eat, I felt like Andrew was inviting me over to his cozy home to eat a fantastic dinner. He treated everyone like family, and was so inviting. Our family will miss his energy and exceptional talents in the kitchen. 

Michael
Michael

It's also important to note that Lisa and Andrew accomplished something very special in Tuto Bene. It had an energy about the place much like that which is emulated in the television series "cheers". Newcomers were welcomed in a way that made them want to belong and become repeat customers. The atmosphere was authentic and sophisticated in a very "old world" way. Working at Tuto Bene was a priceless experience full of learning and happiness. So many people truly appreciated Andrew and I think he knew it. People couldn't help but smile when Andrew approached. The man was an amazing chef and restauranteur. I'm proud to know him.

Michael
Michael

Andrew was my first employer. He gave me guidance and modeled the work ethic of a truly successful entrepreneur. He was always kind and fair. He was the nicest and most jovial guy you would ever want to work with or for. His love of food and entertaining left an impact on me and has made me into a foodie. I will always remember Andrew and Lisa in a warm and positive way. Thank you both for being in my life as a teenager.

Michael.

Craig Boone
Craig Boone

RIP to a WONDERFUL man, spirit and chef. Much love and condolences to Lisa and German.

Rosalinda Mendez
Rosalinda Mendez

Andrew was so joyful and full of life. His memory will live in my heart forever

jasonofthesea
jasonofthesea

Andrew will continue to be an inspiration to me forever.  Always friendly, energetic, and sincere, his hospitality was always from the heart.  You will be missed dearly

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