With Four Chefs Signed Up So Far, Bravery Chef Hall In Downtown Houston Starts To Take Shape
Bravery Chef Hall has been gaining momentum and adding chefs with both local and national followings. The 9,000-square-foot establishment is slated to open on the bottom floor of Aris Market Square. The endeavor is being financed via a NextSeed campaign that has almost met the fundraising goal and the fund will soon be closed to potential investors.
The founders are Anh Mai and Liam Pham—who also own Houston’s first food hall, Conservatory—and restaurateur-winemaker Shepard Ross (formerly of Pax Americana and currently a consultant on the forthcoming new Jonathan’s The Rub location). The chef-driven hall, which includes five different open-concept cooking stations, is expected to be open by late summer or early fall of this year. Each of the chefs in charge of those stations are allowed to put their own design stamp on their space as well as collaborate with each other.
Already, though, the vision for Bravery Chef Hall is rather clear-cut. It features a New Orleans-style courtyard and plans are to project old black and white movies on the brick buildings surrounding it. Envisioned as a restaurant incubator, the chef hall will feature an outside bar, seating wrapped around the entire building and serve lunch, brunch and dinner.
Here are the chefs and other food experts who have laid claim to four out of the five chef stations.
- First up is Felix Florez of Black Hill Meats. He’s opening casual steak counter Cherry Block Craft Butcher & Kitchen. With a “focus on local farmers and ranchers,” there’s going to be a lot of natural synergy between his two companies. Cherry Block is serving aged, hand butchered cuts at affordable prices. Florez says, “We will be pushing the envelope with interesting and rarely seen butchery while still showcasing timeless classics.” In this case, “classics” are the traditional cuts of meat everyone knows—chops, ribeyes, strips and the like—but for the best bang-for-the-buck, diners should consider the deeply flavorful offerings with less “name brand” cachet.
- Ben McPherson—formerly an executive chef of Prohibition Supperclub & Bar and coming off a subsequent stint with Krisp Bird and Batter—is getting an opportunity to pursue a new passion with BOH Pasta. Named after a slang term used in Naples, McPherson says BOH Pasta is a “no-frills approach to roots for Italian cooking—something I have been dreaming of doing since my Prohibition days“. Houston Food Finder attended BOH Pasta‘s latest pop-up event with WhistlePig Rye Whiskey at Aris Market Square, sampling previews of items like fava bean and fresh ricotta tortelli with green garlic and mint sauce and tagliatelle cacio e pepe. A whiskey dinner with Maker’s Mark and an Italian street food pop-up planned for Glitter Karaoke in midtown are currently in the works.
- David Guerrero of Andes Cafe is helming Nuna Nikkei Bar. There, he plans to showcase his love of Peruvian food blended with Japanese and South American influences. He’s been fine-tuning his craft for the past few months at Maido Mitsuharu in Lima. Guerrero hopes to “bring something truly unique to the Houston culinary scene with a fusion menu that combines the Japanese sushi bar experience with South American influences, while mixing in other Asian cooking styles as well.”
- The chef best known on a national scale is Christine Ha, former MasterChef winner. She’s opening The Blind Goat. Ha has done several pop-ups around the world but this will be her first storefront food concept. It draws inspiration from “nhau,” the Vietnamese word for convivial eating and drinking. “I’m excited to combine southeast Asian flavors with a gastropub-style dining experience,” Ha says. “Both are things I love, and I’m looking forward to bringing them to downtown Houston.”
Flores, McPherson and Guerrero have all been hosting pop-ups over the past few months to give diners a taste of what’s in store when Bravery Chef Hall opens. The name of local chef leasing the final station is expected to be announced soon. In addition, the hall will also feature coffee, wine bar and craft cocktail hubs. The wine bar is going to feature over 25 wines on tap, half of which will be from Shepard Ross’ own label, MadCat Cellars.
Construction is slated to begin in June.