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Culture / Foodie Events

Sudden Death of Beloved Restaurant Figure Sends Houston’s Culinary Community Into Mourning

BY // 08.31.15

Bartenders, cooks, sommeliers, general managers and others involved in Houston’s restaurant industry are expressing their grief over the sudden death of Ryan Roberts, who served for many years as the general manager of Cullen’s Upscale American Grille and Whisk(e)y Bar. Roberts, who was 38, passed away on Sunday evening. The cause of death is being investigated.

Roberts was a knowledgeable spirits professional and helped make the Clear Lake-based steakhouse into a whiskey mecca (the restaurant has more than 500 bottles on its roster). He is being remembered as a genuinely nice person who helped many in the industry.

“I remember when I first started at 13 celsius five or six years ago, I’d see Ryan Roberts in almost every night,” Adele Corrigan, manager at 13 Celsius, posted on Facebook. “We were his stop on his way home from work. I’d see him pull up and had a session lager waiting for him at his favorite seat at the bar. Toasting to you tonight my friend, you will be greatly missed.”

“There will be so many raising a glass to you today my good Sir. Comfort and condolence to your family during this time. It is a sad day.” wrote Leslie Ross, bar director at Treadsack, on Roberts’ Facebook page.

Kevin and Sandra Munz, who own Cullen’s, released the following statement:

“It is with great sadness that we share the news of the unexpected passing of our beloved friend and colleague Ryan Roberts. He was discovered in his home on Sunday and appears to have passed away in his sleep. As additional details regarding his final arrangements become available, we will ask your support in communicating that information to  friends and professional associates.

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“On behalf of Ryan’s family,  we thank those who have reached out with their condolences and offers of support, but ask you to respect their privacy as they deal with this tragedy. We cannot find words to properly express our grief over the loss of our friend who, in addition to his warmth and spirit, was a driving force in our shared vision for excellence. We offer our prayers for his family.”

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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