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Bobby Heugel takes over management of Original Ninfa's: Historic icons join Anvil empire

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Bobby Heugel and Original Ninfa's executive chef Alex Padilla Photo by Eric Hester
News_Ninfa's on Navigation, exterior, night
The Original Ninfa's on Navigation Courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
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Bobby Heugel, left, and Kevin Floyd Photo by © 2011 Debora Smail | realityphotography.net
Antone's, po boys, sandwich shop
Antone's Famous Po' Boys on San Felipe Photo by Becky Lai/Flickr
bobby heugel alex padilla ninfas bar menu
News_Ninfa's on Navigation, exterior, night
News_Bobby Heugel_Kevin Floyd_Anvil
Antone's, po boys, sandwich shop

When you have local restaurants as iconic as The Original Ninfa's on Navigation and Antone's Famous Po' Boys, change, while inevitable, is hard to accept. But when change includes the guys from Anvil, it usually means good things.

Eighteen months after Bobby Heugel first took a role at Ninfa's — consulting on the restaurant's cocktail menu — he and his partners have signed on to manage both restaurants under the auspices of owners Legacy Restaurants. Legacy has been involved with Original Ninfa's since 1997, taking sole ownership in 2006.

Now they are managing concepts in which the tastes, not just the physical structures, are a part of the fabric of Houston.

Heugel, Michael Burnett and Kevin Floyd have been named operating partners at both Original Ninfa's and Antone's, with Alex Padilla continuing in his executive chef role at both restaurants.

“We have worked hard to preserve both The Original Ninfa’s and Antone’s traditions for a new generation to enjoy. There is no other group of restaurateurs we would trust more to help us continue this effort,” Legacy restaurants owner Niel Morgan said in a statement. “Their dedication and success in preserving and enhancing the culinary scene of Houston makes them perfect.”

The Anvil partners have already demonstrated a commitment to Houston's history, preserving rather than tearing down the former tire store that now holds their namesake bar, a commitment that they have maintained in subsequent building projects and concepts. Heugel and partners have also been instrumental in bringing the future OKRA Charity Saloon to a historic downtown building.

Now they are managing concepts in which the tastes, not just the physical structures, are a part of the fabric of Houston. Antone's Famous Po' Boys will celebrate 50 years in business in 2013 and Original Ninfa's will turn 40 next year as well.

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