Nationally Recognized Houston Restaurant The Pass & Provisions is Closing

As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as being “too big to fail.” As Houston continues to be the setting for a veritable steam train of new openings, even the acclaimed, groundbreaking establishments can fall under the wheels. Such is the case for The Pass & Provisions at 807 Taft, the restaurant famously split into an intimate fine dining room (The Pass) and a larger, casual eatery (Provisions). It was established in the building that formerly housed Gravitas and, before that, the original Antone’s. One of the most famous interior features was the yellow and black Antone’s sign reverently mounted on the Provisions dining room wall.

In what’s destined as one of the saddest and most significant closings of 2019, the restaurant’s last day of business is on Saturday, May 25. Provisions was a mainstay for excellent business lunches and casual dinners featuring outstanding housemade pasta and pizza. On the other side of the building, many an anniversary and birthday was celebrated by indulging in the tasting menu, wines and cocktail pairings at The Pass.

Main dining room at The Pass. Image by Ralph Smith.

In a statement, chefs Terrence Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner said:

Owning a restaurant is very much (to us) like having a child. There’s the upfront excitement, the agony of the name, the big reveal and then the work. The ups, downs, the sweet moments and the hard ones, the tears and the smiles. Over the past seven years, from seeing the pilot lights burning in the morning to sometimes watching the dawn rise, we have been honored to be a part of your celebrations, graduations, weddings, and first nights away from the baby, your drinks out with friends, awards and promotions and even more for the bad times when you just needed a place to have a drink and a good meal to cheer you up. You are a part of our family, which is why this part of our story is so hard to write.

Saturday, May 25 will be our last day of service. Please come and say goodbye.

Raise a glass with us and know that we appreciated your support.

Thanks for letting us cook for you.

Terrence & Seth

A representative for the restaurant said the chefs are not commenting further at this time.

In what now appears to be as a portent of the restaurant’s fate, just a few days ago it was announced that executive sous chef Steve Lamborn moved to Revival Market, Agricole Hospitality’s original café, coffee shop and grocery concept.

From 2015 through 2017, Siegel-Gardner and Gallivan were semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation Award “Best Chef Southwest” category. That is only one of the duo’s achievements. Here are some more:

  • In September 2012, right after The Pass & Provisions opened, a food writer for My Table magazine named it “one of the must-go-to restaurants of 2012.” “I’d bring anyone here, from the snobbiest critic to my own motley crew of kids,” she wrote. Eventually, the “snobby critics” showed up — and sooner or later, most also fell in love with the creative establishment. (Eventually, that food writer would go on to serve as another snobby critic, and later, start up this publication.)
  • In 2013, Bon Appetit magazine’s restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton named The Pass & Provisions to his Best New Restaurants list.
  • Although Houston Chronicle restaurant critic Alison Cook wasn’t impressed with the Provisions side at first, by the time her Top 100 Houston Restaurants list came out in 2015, in her opinion, “The initial quality gap between the casual Provisions and fine-dining The Pass has narrowed to the point that they truly can be considered as a single entity.” She named it the number-one Houston restaurant that year.
  • In 2016, Wine Enthusiast named The Pass & Provisions as one of America’s Best Wine Restaurants.
  • The Houston Press gave The Pass & Provisions four different “Best in Houston” awards from 2013 through 2017: Best Bread, Best Tasting Menu, Best Appetizer and, again for a second time, Best Tasting Menu.

Those were just a few of the accolades The Pass & Provisions gathered over the past seven years. (We’ll skip the one where it was also deemed to have the best Houston restaurant bathroom for copulation. Clearly, there was some sex appeal of the Julia Child cooking tutorials played on the overhead sound system of which we weren’t previously aware.)

So, what’s next for Siegel-Gardner and Gallivan? We don’t know yet. They may not know yet. Whatever the plan is, the best outcome for Houston is that it includes a different restaurant to showcase their talents; perhaps something with a lot less square footage to deal with in one of the currently burgeoning dining neighborhoods.

Perhaps The Pass & Provisions hasn’t been a trendy, hot place to go over the past few years. Maybe, like countless other restaurants, it got overshadowed by all the new up-and-comers and taken for granted by diners.

Regardless, after the lights are shut off and the front door is locked for the last time, more than one diner’s heart is going to hurt a little over memories made and memories lost.

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