Knight rides on
Talented Houston chef parting ways with buzzy downtown food hall
In the world of restaurants, changes happen all the time. That's especially true at food halls — since restaurants use the space to test ideas and eventually evolve into standalone operations, turnover is built into the model.
So, the news that one of Bravery Chef Hall's most prominent culinary talents will depart the venue may not be a total surprise, but the news is still worth noting. Richard Knight will part ways with Atlas Diner on Friday, December 6, the chef tells CultureMap. He's accepted a new position that will allow him to spend more time with his family.
Knight, who earned wide acclaim at both Feast and Hunky Dory, has long been considered one of the city's most talented chefs. At Atlas, he put his distinctive spin on classic diner fare with a menu that ranges from a whole box of cereal to classics like fish and chips.
Bravery Chef Hall owner Anh Mai tells CultureMap that Atlas will continue under the leadership of Knight's sous chef Catt Lee, a respected industry veteran who has worked at Coltivare, Pi Pizza, and The Pass & Provisions. Mai acknowledges that Atlas' location within the hall has diminished its foot traffic relative to the other vendors at Bravery, but he's bullish on its prospects with Lee at the helm.
"We're very committed to Atlas Diner because we think it's a great concept," Mai says. Obviously it has its own challenge in terms of visibility [within the hall], but the sales have been steadily improving."
Mai also notes that Knight will remain a presence at Bravery. Gaggenau sponsors the venue's pop-up space Stage; in his role as an independent contractor for the luxury kitchen equipment manufacturer, Knight may host occasional dinners or demonstrations there. Overall, he says that Bravery has exceeded his expectations since it opened this summer.
"We thought it would become an industry hang out, and it has been," Mai says. "The experience where people interact with the chefs has been great. Just like with any business there's going to be growing pains."