Benjy Levit is making some big changes to one of his eponymous restaurants. The Houston restaurateur announced Tuesday that the Washington Avenue location of benjy's will close on December 31 to be replaced by a new diner concept called, The Classic - All Day, set to open summer 2018.
“The decision to take benjy’s on Washington in a new direction was not an easy one, but I feel that it is the right one,” said Levit in a statement. “Following damage caused by a kitchen fire in March, and then flooding during Hurricane Harvey, I saw a unique opportunity to cultivate an entirely new concept in the space that will offer exciting new dishes while staying true to the existing level of excellence that benjy’s customers have come to appreciate.”
Levit has tasked benjy's chefs Mike Potowski and Maria Gonzalez with creating a menu for The Classic. Although the restaurant isn't ready to list specific dishes, the announcement describes the direction as "a gimmick-free menu that will feature a lighter take (on) iconic dishes both old and new made up of simple pleasures."
How someone lightens up diner classics like pancakes and greasy cheeseburgers remains to be seen. In keeping with the diner's name and direction, The Classic's beverage program will focus on three-ingredient cocktails.
In addition to a new menu, the space will also have a new look. Levit has hired Michael Hsu and Micah Land of Austin's acclaimed Michael Hsu Office of Architecture and designer Aaron Rambo of Found for the Home to transform the 7,800-square foot space with new finishes, a 30-seat bar, and an 1,100 square-foot patio.
Currently, Levit only has plans for one location of The Classic, but the all-day menu and focus on familiar dishes sounds reminiscent of his successful sandwich concept, Local Foods. The fifth location of that restaurant is slated to open at the Heights Mercantile mixed-use development in January.