The wave of Houston restaurant closures shows no signs of cresting. Just one day after news broke that Montrose neighborhood restaurant Lowbrow had shuttered comes word that Galleria-area seafood restaurant Peska has also served its last meal.
After receiving a tip from a CultureMap reader, a call placed Wednesday night to the restaurant's listed phone number was answered by a manager who said the restaurant had closed. In addition, the restaurant's website has been taken offline and it is no longer accepting reservations on OpenTable.
On Thursday morning, the restaurant released a statement confirming the closure. It reads as follows:
We are very grateful for the growing support and media accolades we received during the launch of our new menu earlier this summer, but ultimately the recovery from Hurricane Harvey and the ongoing Post Oak Blvd. construction was a combination that we could not financially overcome. Unfortunately, like many other Houston restaurants, we simply could not overcome Mother Nature. The excitement of the growing momentum we received from our newly redesigned space and menu just could not sustain the hit to our business. We are incredibly thankful for years of support from our loyal customers and the Houston community.
After opening to great fanfare in 2015 under the direction of chef Omar Pereney — a then 20-year old wunderkind with a reality TV pedigree — Peska seemed poised to replicate the success of its sister restaurant in Acapulco that blended a fresh fish market with an innovative, seafood-oriented menu. However, it struggled to find an audience.
In February, owner Maite Ysita enlisted the help of Grazia Italian Kitchen owner Adrian Hembree to broaden the restaurant's appeal. Changes included renovations to the Gensler-designed space and the addition of USDA Prime steaks to the menu. Veteran chef Steve Haug replaced Pereney in the kitchen.
Hembree dubbed the new direction "Peskarne," but, by July, the restaurant had reverted to its seafood roots with another new chef, Killen's Steakhouse veteran Chris Loftis. A lengthy article in the Houston Press documented the restaurant's struggles and sounded a hopeful note for the new-old concept, but it appears to have come up short.