Restaurant Buzz

Houston Dining News for May 2013

Laurann Claridge
May 01, 2013

For years, we’ve lamented the fact that Houston has few high-end bakeries — the sort you can drop into morning, noon and night for something sweet and stay for so much more. While single-sweet-oriented spots abound (cupcakes, macarons, ice cream), now Houston-reared pastry chef Roy Shvartzapel has come home to fill the void and round out the pastry offerings. Working his way up the food chain around the globe for the past decade or so, this CIA-trained chef toiled in the kitchens of David Bouley, Pierre Herme and Thomas Keller before deciding to bring the European tradition of great baking (and gelato making) to his soon-to-be-built spot, dubbed Common Bond, at the corner of Dunlavy and Westheimer. Expect to hear a lot more about this up-and-coming chef when the doors of his concept swing open later this year … The team of Clark Cooper Concepts (chef Charles Clark and Grant Cooper), who’ve been in business for a dozen years with Ibiza (Coppa and Brasserie 19 followed in short order), have two more concepts on the drawing board. Situated in separate spaces in the currently under-construction development Hanover Rice Village, Coppa Osteria debuts this summer, while Punk’s Simple Southern Food (Clark’s childhood nickname) will come together this fall. Interior designer Julie McGarr is creating the interiors for each concept. Chef Brandi Keys, who has been at their Italian concept Coppa for nearly two years, will jump between both Coppa incarnations, making wood-fired pizzas, homemade pastas, Florentine-style steak and more, interpreting dishes from regions throughout Italy with price points ranging from $9 to $4 … John Sheely, chef/owner of Mockingbird Bistro, opens Mazzantini on Post Oak in the new BBVA Compass Bank building in August. Mazzantini was his mama’s maiden name, and that side of the family can trace its roots to Tuscany. In homage, Sheely’s menu will feature homemade pastas, rustic pizzas, seafood and traditional Northern Italian dishes … Looks like The Palm, that old-school steakhouse on Westheimer, has temporarily closed for a revamp. After 35 years in Houston (and 85 years in existence), the Palm will emerge completely refreshed, rebranded with a whooping 8,000-square-feet expansion into the space next store. Expect the big reveal at the end of the summer.