First Bite: Dish Society Founders Debut New Houston Restaurant in CITYCENTRE
Daily Gather, the new restaurant from Five 12 Restaurant Concepts, which also owns the local Dish Society chain, is opening on January 11 in CITYCENTRE at 800 Sorella Court. It’s in the former International Smoke location, which has been extensively remodeled. Aaron Lyons and Trent Patterson co-own Five 12 Restaurant Concepts and brought in longtime Houston chef Brandi Key as culinary director. Key has over 20 years in the Houston culinary scene and helped to build restaurants for Pappas, Clark Cooper Concepts and, most recently, worked alongside veteran restaurateur Claire Smith at Alice Blue.
Anchoring the northwest corner of CITYCENTRE’s central square, Daily Gather’s 6000-square-foot space seats up to 150 guests inside with artful-yet-comfortable furnishings, a private lounge area and an impressive wrap-around patio roomy enough for an additional 100 guests.
Lyons lives in the Memorial area and aims for Daily Gather to offer an “approachable, locally sourced menu.” The goal is to serve “food that just tastes good,” Key said. “It makes sense, especially now. We’re bringing back the art of hospitality, bringing back people around a dining table. People are craving it. They want that time out. Having fun things to share like this is perfect for the time, the season and the clientele that’s coming in.”
Diners who are familiar with Dish Society will appreciate the continued relationships with local purveyors like Atkinson Farms, 44 Farms, Ives Creek Organics, and Greenway Coffee Co. According to a press release, Key builds upon that locally-focused sensibility at Daily Gather by also sourcing from Houston Dairymaids, Blue Horizon Seafood and Kraftsmen Baking.
Over the weekend, Houston Food Finder was invited to the new casual eatery for an early taste of Daily Gather’s brunch menu. Available on weekends only, it features classics such as Biscuits & Gravy, French Toast and Buttermilk Pancakes.
There is some interactive entertainment at the beginning of each meal, too. Guests are given a “conversation starter” card pack. Each card has a prompt, such as “name three people dead or alive that you’d want to have dinner with,” or “name your top five favorite albums to the person to your right.”
This helps pass the time quickly while the kitchen is preparing your meal. We started with Ranch Style Eggs, presented with house-smoked brisket and two sunny-side-up eggs on crispy corn tostadas topped with refried black beans, warm tomatillo salsa, cotija, cilantro and scallions. There was a hint of smoky goodness in each bite of the tender, shredded brisket that made my taste buds dance happily.
Next up was the Cheesy Bacon Benedict served on a house-baked English muffin with American cheese, crispy bacon, perfectly poached eggs, chives and dressed with a citrusy lemon hollandaise that left me wanting more. Although everything was prepared well, the standout was the breakfast potatoes. Kicked up with a medley of bell, serrano and jalapeño peppers, onions and a blend of southwestern spices — these weren’t your average side of taters.
Upon the recommendation of nearly every service team member, including Key, we added the Daily Pastries board. These beautiful, delicious pastries are only available only on the weekend brunch menu and will likely be swapped out as the seasons progress. The current board features a frosted tart filled with sweet strawberry jam (essentially, a housemade Pop Tart), a couple of Lemon-Poppy Seed Financier Bars, a super-gooey cinnamon roll and, my favorite of the board, the Banana-Walnut Muffin with Coconut Streusel. The coconut streusel was so good, I’d consider eating it on a shoe.
The Smoked Salmon and Ultimate Brunch Gathering Boards piqued our interests as well, but were sadly and completely out of the question for this very-full party of two.
Daily Gather’s brunch menu boasts a solid line-up of cocktails, bubbles (by the glass or bottle), beer, coffee, juice and even mocktails. I am a sucker for trying a variety of drinks at once, so we answered the sweet siren song of the mimosa flight. It includes a bottle of chilled Brut and four cold-pressed juices: orange, cranberry, grapefruit and pineapple. We finished the meal with a delicate cup of macchiato and a few more crumbles of that heavenly coconut streusel.
Lyons, Patterson and Key have their fingers on the pulse of this specific community. Families, couples and friends who want for an easy-going, communal dining experience will love Daily Gather. With its nostalgic American cuisine, family-friendly vibe, refurbished Argentine food truck parked at the front entrance and playfully artistic, yet subtly modern interior, diners are sure to gather, share, eat and repeat.
In addition to weekend brunch, the restaurant offers a full lunch and dinner menu with a wide variety of shareable plates and boards. The hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visit the Daily Gather website for more information and reservations.