High-Class Sports Dining

Don't call it a sports bar: Clemens, Mandola sons insist their new Houston restaurant defies the stereotype

Roger Clemens son opens new Houston restaurant Katch 22, no sports bar

Katch 22 restaurant bar Houston May 2013 RUN FLAT
Kory Clemens, left, and Luke Mandola Courtesy photo
Katch 22 restaurant bar Houston May 2013 RUN FLAT
The Rocket makes an appearance at Katch 22. Courtesy photo
Katch 22 bar Houston Clemens baseball shirt
The first jersey up at Katch 22 Katch 22/Facebook
Katch 22 bar Houston interior May 2013 RUN FLAT
Belly-up to the bar or find a seat. Katch 22/Facebook
Katch 22 restaurant bar Houston May 2013 RUN FLAT
Courtesy photo
Katch 22 restaurant bar Houston May 2013 RUN FLAT
Katch 22 restaurant bar Houston May 2013 RUN FLAT
Katch 22 bar Houston Clemens baseball shirt
Katch 22 bar Houston interior May 2013 RUN FLAT
Katch 22 restaurant bar Houston May 2013 RUN FLAT

Luke Mandola Jr., the eponymous son of a major player in the Houston restaurant scene (Ragin Cajun owner Luke Mandola Sr.), and Kory Clemens, the son of a Major League Baseball legend (Roger Clemens), are the ones calling the shots at Katch 22, Houston's newest "sporty restaurant." (It's emphatically, according to the owners, not a sports bar.)

Katch 22 opened on May 15, the 29th anniversary of Roger Clemens' Major League debut. Kory Clemens and Mandola Jr. seem to be fond of this sort of symbolism. For example, regarding the restaurant's name: Roger Clemens was also big on Ks of course naming all his kids (Kody, Kacy, Koby and Kory) with the letter that signifies strikeouts in baseball.

On top of that, Mandola played catcher in college. And 22: That was Roger Clemens' number of course. And also the date of the month Mandola Jr.'s son was born on.

 "There's not a lot of places in Houston where you can get an outstanding meal, good wine, nice cocktails meshed together with a sporty setting." 

And, just in case you still don't quite get it, the eatery boasts 11 (half of 22 — I know, math can be hard) flat-screen TVs.

CultureMap touched base with Mandola Jr. in his new digs — the invitingly well-lit space at 700 Durham where tapas bar Convivio used to be.

"It's about good food, good times, spirits, family and friends," Mandola Jr. says, indicating the phrases emblazoned on the chalkboard wall behind him. The restaurant's decorated with sports memorabilia, including a few signed Roger Clemens jerseys.

"There's not a lot of places in Houston where you can get an outstanding meal, good wine, nice cocktails meshed together with a sporty setting," says Mandola Jr., who believes the restaurant is on par with Michael Jordan's Steak House in Chicago and Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse in Oklahoma City.

Instead of bar food, Katch 22 focuses on "steaks, flat breads, chops, gourmet sandwiches, nice appetizers."

"In this business you have to hang your hat on four items to be really successful," Mandola Jr. says. In Katch 22's case, those items include the lobster roll from Kory Clemens' native Boston ("our menu is developed on what we like to eat, what we grew up eating") and bacon-wrapped quail.

"We're looking for the general public to determine the other two," Mandola Jr. says. "The palate of the city will change our menu. Whatever they like, we'll kind of go in that direction."

With a fair share of supporters having followed their own careers, Mandola Jr. and Kory Clemens' believe Katch 22 can be a hit right off the bat. The restaurant's open Tuesdays through Sundays ("closed Mondays for golf and fishing").