Houston’s newest Common Bond makes its debut Thursday, December 5, in the Heights Waterworks development that includes Verdine, Jinya Ramen, and Hopdoddy (449 W. 19th St.). In addition to providing another outlet for signature items like the pistachio croissant and chocolate chip-and-walnut cookie, the new cafe also provides owner George Joseph with the opportunity to showcase the new management team he’s recruited to lead the restaurant’s growth.
Common Bond president Chris Fannin brings years of fine dining experience to his role, having previously worked at the Capital Grille, Philippe, and the Strip House. Executive chef Jason Gould brings multi-unit experience from his seven years at the corporate executive chef for Cyclone Anaya’s and the legitimate French cooking chops he displayed as the chef at legendary Houston restaurant Gravitas. Rakesh Nayak, Common Bond’s executive pastry, has been with the company for three years; he’s overseen the transition to a central bakehouse that supplies all three locations with croissants, macarons, entremets, and more.
Working together, the team has transformed a historic building into a bustling, 3,500-square-foot restaurant. The larger interior and an expansive patio along the Heights hike and bike trail give the restaurant almost double the seating capacity of the original location in Montrose.
“We wanted to keep the design and success of what we had in Montrose, freshen it up a little bit,” Fannin tells CultureMap. “We’re not coming into a neighborhood and saying ‘Common Bond is here.’ We’re coming because we want to be part of the community.”
Gould, who joined the restaurant about a month ago, tells CultureMap that he wants to help Common Bond expand its reputation as a restaurant for savory dining. Already known for its breakfast dishes like soft scrambled eggs and lunch options like the Nashville hot chicken sandwich, he wants more people to visit Common Bond at night for dishes like beef bourguignon, steak frites, and duck confit.
In the Heights, the dinner experience will be enhanced with an expanded selection of beer and wine, including eight beer taps and a wine machine that will allow diners to pour their own selections by-the-glass in one, three, and five-ounce servings.
“We’re able to offer higher ends wines than what you’d get by the glass, because the system keeps the wines fresh,” Gould says. “We’re able to put some nice bottles on there at really affordable prices.”
Fannin hopes the wines will also make Common Bond more appealing for people seeking something sweet after dinner at one of the nearby restaurants. Nayak offers a full range of entremet (small cakes) that are easy to share (or not) such as a chocolate brownie or seasonal pear-and-ginger cake.
Moving forward, 2020 will be a busy year for Common Bond. In the next month or so, the restaurant will add a dedicated coffee bar at its Medical Center location as part of a 1,000-square-foot expansion. In the late spring or early summer, Common Bond will open two new locations in Springwoods Village and in downtown’s Capitol Tower. Both of these will be the company’s new brasserie concept with full service, reservation, and a full mixed-beverage license that will include spirits and cocktails.
Gould says he plans to use The Heights location as a testing ground for menu items at the brasserie locations. Look for them as dinner specials once the kitchen gets settled in.
For his part, Fannin is feeling optimistic about the reception they’ll receive starting tomorrow.
“We have a great team with incredible management and talented team members,” he says. “They’re the ones who make us look good. The team up here in The Heights has been spectacular. We can’t wait to open it up and show what we do.”
Common Bond's hours will be 7 am-9 pm Monday thru Thursday, 7 am-10 pm Friday and Saturday, and 7 am-8 pm on Sunday.