Foodie News

Monica Pope says a dramatic goodbye to t'afia with a new restaurant concept to come

Monica Pope says a dramatic goodbye to t'afia with a new restaurant concept to come

monica pope apron fire tafia
Monica Pope is (symbolically) setting fire to the past and toasting the future with hints of a new concept to replace t'afia.
t'afia, exterior, night
Opened in 2002, t'afia helped usher in a newly resurgent Midtown. Photo by Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
monica pope apron fire tafia
t'afia, exterior, night

After 10 years of t'afia, her groundbreaking restaurant in midtown, Monica Pope is ready to say goodbye in dramatic fashion — by posting a picture of her signature black striped apron going up in flames.

(This is either a symbol of a fresh start or an overt threat by someone who has kidnapped Monica Pope. It couldn't hurt to double check.)

Speaking at her final Outstanding In My Backyard dinner event on Sunday, Pope announced to her guests that t'afia would be closing for two weeks and reopening with a new concept.

 "I've been around for awhile, and artists have to reinvent ourselves," Pope says. "I want to express myself differently."   

When reached for comment by CultureMap on Tuesday (don't worry, she's fine), Pope wouldn't reveal many details about the new venture — she wouldn't even confirm whether there would be a new name — but did admit that "there is a lot of transformation happening."

"I've been around for awhile, and artists have to reinvent ourselves," Pope says. "I want to express myself differently." 

Pope says her philosophy as a restaurateur has been slowly evolving since her 2010 appearance on Top Chef Masters, a process she laughingly calls finding herself after 20 years of owning restaurants and 32 years of cooking.

"It's a reflection of me wanting to be even more in the game," Pope says.

T'afia is now shuttered and will reopen for dinner on Aug. 14. Pope calls the new venture an "ongoing discussion with the community," integrating her personal projects that include cooking lessons and interactive guides through Houston's farmers markets.

"I value a different connection," she says, "changing your life, your lifestyle."