To celebrate 100 episodes of "What's Eric Eating," CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler invites chef Charles Clark and Grant Cooper of Clark Cooper Concepts to discuss their local restaurant empire. Beginning with opening Ibiza in 2001, the duo have found success with a number of establishments, including Catalan, Brasserie 19, Coppa Osteria, Punk's Simple Southern Food, and The Dunlavy.
The conversation touches on a variety of topics that range from how the duo met to the qualities they look for that have allowed them to work with talented chefs like Chris Shepherd, Brandi Key, E.J. Miller, and Jane Wild. They also hint that new restaurants may be on the way. Sandler asks Cooper and Clark to explain how they've been able to work together for almost 20 years when so many business partnerships don't last.
"I think we both have the same vision as to what kind of restaurants we want to do," Cooper says. "I think we've been friends for 25, 30 years or so. We have a lot of history. . . Kind of grown up together. It makes a big difference."
"We've never been in any big arguments," Clark adds. "If we argue, it's about getting the customer this wine or whatever . . . We really don't fight. It's strange. We just respect each other's opinions. We're very fortunate. I can't name one partnership that's still intact after 20 years in this city."
Prior to the interview segment, co-host Linda Salinas joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their topics include chef Gabe Medina's plans to open five "virtual restaurants;" Bishop Cidercade's plans to open in Houston; and what breweries being able to sell beer to-go may mean for consumers.
In the restaurants of the week segment, Salinas provides an update on her work at the new Ninfa's Uptown location, and the duo share some first impressions of Lotti Dotti, the new patio bar in Montrose.