a parting of ways
Prominent Houston restaurant company announces surprise ownership split
The partners behind some of Houston's most successful restaurants have gone their separate ways. Clark Cooper Concepts, the hospitality group behind restaurants such as Brasserie 19 and Gratify Neighborhood Bistro, has come to an end.
Clark Cooper partners chef Charles Clark and restaurateur Grant Cooper have divided the company's restaurants. Clark will operate Brasserie 19, the River Oaks staple known for its expansive wine list, attentive service, and classic bistro fare. Cooper will operate Gratify Neighborhood Bistro, Coppa Osteria, and a new restaurant called Flora under the banner of Good Vibe Hospitality. Both men emphasized the split was amicable.
"There is no bad blood between me and Grant," Clark said in a statement. "We have worked well together for over 20 years and have built many successful restaurants. I value the partnership and success Grant and I have both seen over the years. This separation gives us both the opportunity to do what we want.”
"It’s a friendly agreement to do our things separately," Cooper tells CultureMap. "We’ve done a lot of successful projects over the years that we were very proud of. We want to do some different things . . . We've earned that right."
For 20 years, Clark Cooper Concepts ranked among Houston's most dynamic hospitality groups. Beginning with the opening of Ibiza in 2001, Clark and Cooper developed a wide range of successful concepts such as Brasserie 19, Coppa Ristorante, and Catalan, the restaurant where Chris Shepherd worked prior to opening Underbelly. They also earned acclaim for establishments such as SaltAir Seafood Kitchen and Punk's Simple Southern Food. Clark Cooper restaurants offered consistently well-executed food, polished service, and retail-style wine pricing that made it affordable to try something new.
Clark's plans for Brasserie 19 include a new menu he's developed with executive chef Michael Hoffman that will debut in the coming weeks. Diners can also expect an expanded wine list and some interior updates.
“I am thrilled to be at Brasserie 19 every day, greeting customers who have been dining with us since we opened, meeting new faces and seeing Chef Michael’s creativity in the kitchen as he evolves and expands the menu,” Clark said in a statement.
As for Cooper, he's joined in Good Vibe by former Clark Cooper director of operations Marc Cantu and Coppa general manager Josep Prats. "We have a really good team," Cooper says. "Marc and Josep have worked with me for 10-plus years. They’ll be an integral part of this new business."
That new business starts with Flora, a Mexican restaurant that will occupy the former Dunlavy space on Allen Parkway. Details are light, but diners can expect a menu "that explores the flavors and energy of the small towns of Mexico with a Texas touch," according to a release. Cocktails will focus on an extensive selection of tequila and mezcal.
Good Vibe will have other new projects in the works, too. Cooper acknowledges he could resurrect Daddy's Burgers, a pop-up from 2020 that focused on backyard-style burgers and chicken sandwiches. Eater Houston reported that Cooper is also behind Graffiti Raw, a new restaurant coming to the Montrose Collective mixed-use development, but Cooper has yet to confirm his involvement.