Houston's Own Beach Restaurant

Houston's own Nikki Beach? New seafood restaurant brings big dreams — and major power players

Houston's own Nikki Beach? New seafood restaurant brings big dreams

Places-Eat-Pesce-exterior-1
The former Brio/Pesce space will have a new tenant next year when Clark/Cooper Concepts opens a seafood restaurant in the space.  Photo by Chris Conyers
Richard Grieco, cocktail reception, September 2012, Charles Clark
Chef Charles Clark says the time he spent living in Spain will have an influence on the menu.  Charles Clark Photo by Roswitha Vogler/Photosbyrovo.com
14 Coppa Osteria party September 2013 Grant Cooper, Brandi Key, Charles Clark
Grant Cooper, left, Brandi Key and Clark maintain quality by being hands on with their five restaurants.  Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Places-Eat-Pesce-exterior-1
Richard Grieco, cocktail reception, September 2012, Charles Clark
14 Coppa Osteria party September 2013 Grant Cooper, Brandi Key, Charles Clark

The former Brio/Pesce space at Kirby and West Alabama has a new tenant. Clark/Cooper Concepts revealed it plans to open a still unnamed seafood restaurant in the space in the summer of 2015.

Looking for a more information, CultureMap reached out to chef Charles Clark, who took time while traveling through Spain to answer a few questions by email about the concept.

Clark writes that the restaurant will have a "Santa Barbara yacht club meets Nikki Beach" atmosphere with a "white, clean" look and "bright nautical colors." While there will be a few Gulf Coast elements to the menu, the chef has also traveled to both New York and Spain to research dishes.

 "I lived in Marbella, Spain, for awhile and always loved the seafood restaurants on the beach. Very simple food but extremely fresh." 

Just as Clark's and chef Brandi Key's childhoods informed the menu at the company's family friendly Punk's Simple Southern Food, Clark is looking to his past as part of the inspiration for the new restaurant. "I lived in Marbella, Spain, for awhile and always loved the seafood restaurants on the beach," he emails. "Very simple food but extremely fresh. You could say that was a big influence on me."

Current plans call for "big, beautiful salads, crudo, tartares and whole roasted fish." Not surprisingly, Clark/Cooper's signature, barely-above-retail wine pricing will be in effect. 

The seafood restaurant is just one component of the company's plans. As CultureMap first reported back in July, Clark/Cooper is already working on The Dunlavy, an event space and takeaway cafe on Buffalo Bayou, and Mobile Mug, a coffee truck that will patrol The Woodlands this fall. Clark says he isn't worried about the company's five existing restaurants suffering any dips during this growth spurt.

First, he cites the hiring of director of operations Marc Cantu from Mario Batali's organization as an example of how he and business partner Grant Cooper are committed to maintaining their high standards.

Further, he adds, "Grant spends equal time at all the concepts, and I bounce ideals off chef Brandi Key and Grant. We are all very hands on."

The new restaurant will be the company's fourth within three miles of each other (Brasserie 19, Punk's Simple Southern Food and Coppa Osteria are the others), but Clark isn't worried about the restaurants siphoning customers from each other. "All of our restaurant's share the same customer, but we are counting on the Kirby high rises (both built and the new ones on the way ) as well as the River Oaks, West U and Bellaire crowds to give us a try."

Judging by the company's success, that seems like a reasonable expectation.