After Gravitas opened its stylish doors in a former sandwich shop space on Taft in 2005, Texas Monthly quickly dubbed it the best restaurant opening in Texas for the year. Just over six years later, it looks like those doors are closed for good.
Amid reports that the restaurant was being cleared out on Sunday, there was no answer to Gravitas' phone, reservations at Open Table have been taken offline and attempts to contact the owners at Liquid Gold Hospitality Group have not been successful.
Gravitas perhaps never recovered from the foodie fight that rocked Houston in 2009 when executive chef Jason Gould, a key part of Gravitas' success, attempted to buy out owner Scott Tycer's share of the restaurant. Gould contended that he was an unofficial partner due to his citizenship status, which Tycer denied. Gould quit amidst consistent but unconfirmed rumors that the fight between the two got physical.
Tycer sold Gravitas to Stephen Ross and his partners in Liquid Gold in March 2011, but it seems the new ownership couldn't bring back the Gould-era appeal.
Have you been to Gravitas lately?
Update: Ross confirmed to CultureMap that Gravitas did close over the weekend but adds that he and his partners sold the restaurant back to Scott Tycer in November and that they had no role in the closure.
Update #2: Tycer's Kraftsman Bakers LTD has issued a statement on the closing:
Regrettably, we have to shut down Gravitas Restaurant effective Sunday, January 8, 2012. The closure is driven by the failure of Liquid Gold Hospitality, under the terms of our Operating Agreement with them, to maintain current payments on our bank note. Liquid Gold Hospitality blatantly violated the terms of our agreement and put Gravitas several months behind on loan payments. We have tried to negotiate with the bank, but they are forcing us to close the doors and they are taking our equipment in lieu of payment."
Update #3: Stephen Ross responds:
It is unfortunate that Mr. Tycer has chosen to place his private circumstance in the public media, again. The facts as he represented them are not true. Coconut Grove, Ltd. increased the operating revenues at Gravitas dramatically and resolved many issues at the restaurant. The management agreement was terminated at the end of October. The operation was returned to Mr. Tycer in better financial condition. Mr. Tycer has chosen to close the restaurant for his own reasons, none of which involve Coconut Grove, Ltd or Liquid Gold Hospitality Group, LLC."