Chef & General Manager Out At La Vista 101 Two Months After Opening

Southern Goods fans were happy to hear that executive chef J.D. Woodward landed a position at Greg Gordon’s new restaurant, La Vista 101 at 1805 West 18th Street in Houston’s Timbergrove neighborhood. Southern Goods was shuttered by a fire and it was just announced that it is not reopening. After a mere two months in business though, Woodward has already left and the restaurant has also parted way with general manager and sommelier Jeb Stuart.

The restaurant at 1805 West 18th Street in the Heights was relocated in May of last year from Briargrove after 20 years in operation. The new space offered a more customizable 3,000-square-foot operation with room outdoors for a patio. Owner Greg Gordon wanted to maintain the Italian roots of La Vista and chose Woodward for a younger approach to the cuisine. Stuart, formerly of Coltivare, was brought on not only as general manager but also to lead the curation of an extensive European wine list.

Woodward’s experience garnered at Underbelly, Rainbow Lodge and Southern Goods inspired a menu that utilizes pickling, large meat dishes and locally-grown produce. The current menu includes small plates of familiar dishes like grilled octopus, beef carpaccio, and hummus; a section of pizzas and pastas that includes vegetarian options; plus larger plates like fresh grilled or whole fried fish.

Few details were given as to the nature of the agreement between Gordon, Woodward and Stuart and the reason for the departures so soon after opening. Via a press release, Gordon says, “I appreciate Jeb and J.D.’s work and significant contributions, which helped shape La Vista 101 since its inception. I will continue moving forward with our vision of serving fantastic food, serious cocktails and big wines in a cool environment.”

For the two former employees, though, it’s a time for regrouping and figuring out what to do next. Neither has a specific job lined up yet at another Houston restaurant.  “I have a little project I’m going to work on,” says Woodward. “Then, I plan to do some writing and figure things out.”

Stuart may end up leaving Houston altogether. When asked about future plans, he wrote, “I am moving to the beaches of Alabama. Houston has been my home for most of my life and I love it here but this experience has left a very bad taste in my mouth.” 

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  • July 26, 2018 at 4:28 pmCarole Sturdivant

    Ate there recently, disappointing, to say the least. Not sure if the chef, the GM, or the owner (all three?) are to blame, but this seems one more example of the self-importance of Houston food people. Ho-hum news, the restaurant should probably close, and Jeb Stuart can wash the taste out of his mouth on the Redneck Riviera.