Sad Heights Restaurant Closing News: 1751 Sea & Bar is Sailing Away
In news that’s going to sadden many Houston seafood fans, owner Michael Sambrooks of Sambrooks Management Company has decided that it’s not in his best business interests to renew the lease of 1751 Sea & Bar. The popular restaurant at 191 Heights Boulevard opened in 2019 and is known for not only its seafood offerings — both raw and hot — but also a gin-centric cocktail program. The last day of service is Saturday, March 4.
Sambrooks’ decision hinges at least partly on the work needed for his expanding restaurant group, especially with the upcoming openings of Andiron — set to debut next month — and a second location of The Pit Room in Memorial. Sambrooks Management Company also owns The Patio and Tex-Mex favorite Candente. However, he does leave a glimmer of hope that 1751 Sea & Bar might return someday in a different location.
“We love the food and concept at 1751, but with our lease expiring mid-year and a lot on our plate with Andiron and The Pit Room 2, we made the business decision to close 1751 for now,” he said via a press release. “We certainly hope we can bring this concept back to life at a later date, but for now we would like to thank our customers who enjoyed 1751’s progressive small plate dining experience for a great run. We are happy that due to our expansion we can offer jobs to all of our great 1751 employees at our new or existing locations. We hope our loyal customers and fans will come out for one final meal in our remaining two weeks of service.”
1751 Sea & Bar’s existence has been punctuated by the comings and goings of notable chefs. Lyle Bento, who formerly owned Southern Goods (which had a fire and never reopened), left his role as culinary director not long after 1751 opened, while his former chef de cuisine at Southern Goods, John “J.D.” Woodward, stayed in his role as 1751’s executive chef for three years. Even in its first year, 1751’s menu was so impressive that the restaurant made our Best New Restaurants of 2019 list, and we featured Woodward as a chef in the inaugural The Perfect 10 Gala in November of that year. In September 2022, Woodward left for a short-lived role at Riel and he’s now overseeing culinary operations at both d’Alba locations.
At that point, Sambrooks Management company retained executive chef Matt Young, whose experience includes working with Troy Guard of Guard & Grace, as well as at Michelin-starred Alinea and now-closed Michael Mina, the flagship restaurant of its namesake celebrity chef. Fortunately, Young is staying on with Sambrooks Management Company, has accepted a role as corporate chef and is helping with opening Andiron.
To get one of the final reservations at 1751 Sea & Bar, visit the website.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.