In the turbulent world of Houston restaurants, even critically-acclaimed restaurants can struggle to find an audience. Add Foreign Correspondents, the Treadsack group's ambitious farm-to-table Northern Thai restaurant, to the list of places like Feast and Osteria Mazzantini that could never quite translate its media spotlight into financial success.
On Sunday, chefs Apple and PJ Stoops resigned their positions as co-chefs of the restaurant. On Monday, Treadsack announced that the restaurant has shuttered, but its neighboring cocktail bar Canard will remain open. After opening three restaurants in rapid succession last fall, Foreign Correspondents is the first that Treadsack has ever closed, but the company is developing a plan for the space in the Heights shopping center that's also home to the Asian-inspired coffee and doughnut shop Morningstar and will soon be home to a Houston location of acclaimed Austin gelato shop Dolce Neve.
"We put a lot of love, work, and money into the building, and we’d hate to see it just go away," Treadsack co-owner Chris Cusack said in a statement. "We don’t have firm details on anything specific for the space right now, but we are discussing a number of options that we’re pretty excited about. For the time being we’ll be shut until we have more details. Our eligible staff will be offered comparable roles at our other concepts. (Restaurateurs: call me if you need good people. I may have some great FOH and BOH staff available.)"
Cusack praised the chefs for their contribution to the restaurant, adding "Apple and PJ brought life to something that we’ve never seen in Texas — let alone in Houston —and possibly even the country. Their Northern and Northeastern Thai cuisine was authentic, exciting, and a true joy to share with Houston."
Critics raved about the food Stoops served. Foreign Correspondents earned a shout out from Eater critic Bill Addison, a place on Southern Living magazine's list of the South's best new restaurants, and a spot on Bon Appetit's prestigious list of America's 50 best new restaurants. Unfortunately, it never quite caught on. PJ Stoops told the Chronicle that other than during Houston Restaurants Weeks, "we had never really made money." The restaurant had quietly added pad Thai to its menu, but one dish — even one as popular and familiar as pad Thai — wasn't enough to attract larger crowds.
Although it's the first restaurant Treadsack has ever closed, Cusack remains optimistic about the future. "One of the greatest things about being a restaurateur is delighting people with new experiences. For over a year, we got to do that at Foreign Correspondents. Our whole team is incredibly grateful for that chance, and we’re looking forward to what the future holds," he said.