Ninfa's and Antone's hospitality veteran makes a surprise departure
A veteran of some of Houston’s highest-profile restaurants want to share his experiences with others. Jonathan Horowitz has departed his role as the CEO of Legacy Restaurants to found Convive Hospitality Consulting.
During his four-and-a-half years at Legacy, Horowitz worked closely with owner Niel Morgan and chef Alex Padilla to comprehensively renovate the company’s signature restaurant, The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation, as well as update the menu served at iconic Houston sandwich shop Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys. In 2019, Legacy opened three new restaurants: a second location of Ninfa’s in the BLVD Place mixed-use complex near the Galleria, a third location of Antone’s in the Medical Center, and fast casual concept Mama Ninfa’s Tacos y Tortas in the Understory food hall downtown.
Prior to joining Legacy, Horowitz worked as chief brand officer for Lasco Enterprises, the company behind restaurants such as The Tasting Room and Max’s Wine Dive. He’s also a former president of the Houston Restaurant Association, which gives him a big picture view on the city’s dining scene.
Having accomplished so much at Legacy, Horowitz tells CultureMap the time seemed right to revive the idea for the consulting company he originally established after departing Lasco five years ago.
“After four-and-a-half years or so at Legacy, we accomplished a lot of things I had wanted to, in terms of improving things that were already there [as well as] growing and expanding,” Horowitz says. “At that point towards the end of the year, Niel and I started having discussions about our future direction. We had different ideas about what it could or should be.”
Through a representative, Morgan provided a statement wishing Horowitz well in his future endeavors.
“We wish Jonathan the best of luck with his new venture, and we appreciate what he was able to accomplish during the past four and a half years at Legacy Restaurants,” Morgan said. “We have an excellent team in place, and we look forward to continuing to provide delicious food and welcoming service at all of our Original Ninfa's, Antone's and Tacos y Tortas locations.”
At Convive, Horowitz plans to offer the benefit of his experience to both existing restaurants and establishments that have yet to open. Potential restaurateurs could work with on anything from picking the site and configuring a new location to developing a marketing strategy with logos and new menu items.
Horowitz adds that he hasn’t signed his first client yet but is having conversations with lots of potential opportunities. In addition, he’s working on a commercial real estate license that will allow him to participate in that aspect of the business, too.
“From my perspective personally, it’s a really good time for me to leverage those experiences and those skills,” he says. “On the flip side, I think there’s a lot of concepts and businesses that could use those services, whether they’re looking to improve, grow or trying to build brands.”