Chef Changes Downtown

Rumor no more: Popular chef brings his love for Mexican cuisine to downtown restaurant

Popular chef brings love for Mexican cuisine to downtown restaurant

Jonathan Jones Hotel ZaZa Monarch
Jonathan Jones is the new executive chef at El Big Bad. Hotel ZaZa/Facebook
El Big Bad interior with crowd
Jones will help liven up El Big Bad's brunch business.  Photo by © Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Jonathan Jones Hotel ZaZa Monarch
El Big Bad interior with crowd

When Jonathan Jones abruptly resigned from his position as the executive chef at Monarch in the Hotel ZaZa, diners across Houston began to speculate as to his next stop. Confirming rumors originally reported by Eater Houston, Jones has landed at downtown gastrocantina El Big Bad, where he replaces Ben Rabbani

Jones starts his job today, according to a report in the Chronicle. 

Looking for a sense of what Jones might bring to EBB? Consider his brief stint at the well-regarded Xuco Xicana. The menu blended Meso-American dishes, Tex-Mex classics, wings (always wings) and more in an addictive mix that drew raves from across the city. Brunches at XX were particularly memorable thanks to dishes like tres leches French toast. Expect a similar atmosphere at El Big Bad, as co-owner Steve Sharma has always envisioned the restaurant's third floor patio as a perfect brunch destination. 

The relationship between Jones and EBB goes back to the El Gran Malo days when Jones and former Masterchef contestant Alvin Schultz hosted a brunch pop-up at the now departed Shady Acres spot. 

"We are thrilled to have chef Jonathan Jones at the culinary helm of El Big Bad," partner Lea McKinney tells CultureMap. "His heart lies with Mexican cuisine and we know he will bring so much creativity and passion to our family."

Diners can get their first taste of Jones's cooking at Saturday's Cinco de Mayo party.

I texted Jones to ask whether he'll finally bring fajitas to the menu.

"No promises," he replied.