One of Houston's most acclaimed bartenders has departed the restaurant group that's employed her for the past year-and-a-half. Leslie Ross and the Treadsack restaurant group have parted ways, co-owner Chris Cusack tells CultureMap.
During her time at Treadsack, Ross played an important role in the company's explosive growth that saw it grow from two businesses — neighborhood restaurant Down House and craft beer bar D&T Drive Inn — to seven, as she created cocktail menus for the company's casual bar Johnny's Gold Brick, British-inspired Hunky Dory and its Gulf Coast sibling Bernadine's, farm-to-table Thai restaurant Foreign Correspondents, and Ross's experimental cocktail bar Canard. Those efforts earned a nomination as a Bartender of the Year finalist in the CultureMap Tastemaker Awards and landed Canard a spot on Playboy's list of the 50 best new bars of 2016.
"Just as she’s influenced the bartending and mixology scene at other Houston-area bars and restaurants, and in contests all around the world, she’s made a significant mark on the beverage programs at Treadsack," Cusack said in a statement. "Leslie continues to be a friend, and I’m personally excited to see her creative talents spread to other programs around Houston and beyond."
Although Ross had been Canard's driving force, Cusack confirms the bar will continue to operate in her absence. He cites the presence of a number of talented bartenders on the staff, including Rebecca Burkart, who followed Ross's footsteps by reaching the national finals of the high-profile United States Bartenders' Guild's Most Imaginative Bartender competition.
Reached by CultureMap, Ross said she's still planning her next move and hopes to announce something soon. Given her track record of doing good work for both Treadsack and Triniti before that, expect her to land on her feet quickly.
"I'm pretty stoked about the future," she said.