Houston's Own Beach Restaurant
Houston's own Nikki Beach? New seafood restaurant brings big dreams — and major power players
Looking for a more information, CultureMap reached out to chef Charles Clark, who took time while traveling through Spain to answer a few questions by email about the concept.
Clark writes that the restaurant will have a "Santa Barbara yacht club meets Nikki Beach" atmosphere with a "white, clean" look and "bright nautical colors." While there will be a few Gulf Coast elements to the menu, the chef has also traveled to both New York and Spain to research dishes.
"I lived in Marbella, Spain, for awhile and always loved the seafood restaurants on the beach. Very simple food but extremely fresh."
Just as Clark's and chef Brandi Key's childhoods informed the menu at the company's family friendly Punk's Simple Southern Food, Clark is looking to his past as part of the inspiration for the new restaurant. "I lived in Marbella, Spain, for awhile and always loved the seafood restaurants on the beach," he emails. "Very simple food but extremely fresh. You could say that was a big influence on me."
Current plans call for "big, beautiful salads, crudo, tartares and whole roasted fish." Not surprisingly, Clark/Cooper's signature, barely-above-retail wine pricing will be in effect.
The seafood restaurant is just one component of the company's plans. As CultureMap first reported back in July, Clark/Cooper is already working on The Dunlavy, an event space and takeaway cafe on Buffalo Bayou, and Mobile Mug, a coffee truck that will patrol The Woodlands this fall. Clark says he isn't worried about the company's five existing restaurants suffering any dips during this growth spurt.
First, he cites the hiring of director of operations Marc Cantu from Mario Batali's organization as an example of how he and business partner Grant Cooper are committed to maintaining their high standards.
Further, he adds, "Grant spends equal time at all the concepts, and I bounce ideals off chef Brandi Key and Grant. We are all very hands on."
The new restaurant will be the company's fourth within three miles of each other (Brasserie 19, Punk's Simple Southern Food and Coppa Osteria are the others), but Clark isn't worried about the restaurants siphoning customers from each other. "All of our restaurant's share the same customer, but we are counting on the Kirby high rises (both built and the new ones on the way ) as well as the River Oaks, West U and Bellaire crowds to give us a try."
Judging by the company's success, that seems like a reasonable expectation.