Heights restaurant Stella Sola has closed after just over two years in business, owners Bryan Caswell and Bill Floyd have confirmed to CultureMap.
The owners, who run Houston concepts Stella Sola, Reef, Little Bigs and El Real Tex-Mex, said that the decision to close came down to timing.
"It was going OK, not great. We just had to fish or cut bait," Floyd said. "We've been going back and forth with the owners of the property. We didn't want to buy the building or commit to a 10-year lease."
Caswell adds that losing chef Adam Dorris, who is heading to New York to stage, was a key factor in the decision.
"It was going OK, not great. We just had to fish or cut bait," Floyd said. "We've been going back and forth with the owners of the property."
"It was just kind of unsure for the future," Caswell said. "If Adam was still there we would have just kept it going, but we didn't feel comfortable trying to convince some young kid to invest his time and his career in the restaurant when we didn't know what would happen."
Floyd says that the closing gives them more time to focus on Little Big's and El Real, two concepts that he says are primed for expansion because they are easier to replicate, and that he is already looking at a couple spaces.
"You know, Justin [Basye], Adam, all three chefs we've had are really talented, but all three had their own vision for the restaurant," Floyd said. "We've just learned the hard way that a chef-driven concept is not the way to be if you aren't the chef."
For his part, Caswell says the silver lining is spending more time at Reef.
But the news isn't all bad for Heights residents. Rumor has it that two restaurateurs, including the owner of a neighboring restaurant and a big name from the suburbs, have already checked out the Stella Sola space.