Restaurants

Beloved Houston Restaurant Gets a New Chef — See Who’s Filling Robert Del Grande’s Big Shoes at The Annie

Brian Sutton Brings a Wealth of High-End Hospitality Experience and a Ben Berg Tie

BY // 07.30.22
photography Jenn Duncan

Robert Del Grande has left some big steel-toed shoes to fill at The Annie Cafe & Bar and its sister restaurant Turner’s. After retiring from the range earlier this summer, Del Grande has settled into the role of chef emeritus. Now Berg Hospitality, the restaurant group founded by Benjamin Berg which runs both Houston restaurants, is revealing The Annie’s new executive chef. Meet Brian Sutton.

A 26-year hospitality industry veteran, Sutton grew up in Colchester, England, where he enrolled at the Colchester Institute of Culinary Arts. Upon graduation he ventured to the states, where he was recruited to work at the luxe resort Keswick Hall in Charlottesville, Virginia. Later his career took him to kitchens in France and Switzerland before he headed back stateside to join the Garrett Hotel Group. There this talented chef worked with the company which ran several Relais & Chateau properties, including The Inn at Five Graces in New Mexico, The Wilcox in South Carolina and The Point Resort in New York, where he rose thru the ranks to take the title of executive chef.

It’s there at The Point Resort where Sutton also made the acquaintance of Berg, who would become a lifelong friend.

“I am confident that Brian is the perfect candidate based on his extensive culinary expertise and leadership skills, which I witnessed firsthand when we worked together,” Berg says in a statement. “I am extremely happy with The Annie’s refreshed menu, and I know our guests will welcome the new additions and updates to the current dishes.”

Chef Brian Sutton at The Annie (Photo by Jenn Duncan)
New executive chef Brian Sutton takes the helm at The Annie Cafe and Bar. (Photo by Jenn Duncan)

Sutton’s menus at The Annie include several new dishes of his creation and some much-loved favorites that have been given a bit of refresh with new ingredients and tweaked presentations. Sutton’s culinary contributions — that we have yet to try — include a wood-grilled octopus with fried potato cake and Calabrian chile aioli ($28), a slow-cooked duck leg confit (available as a special on Wednesday evenings), and at brunch crab cake Benedict ($46). At lunch, you might be tempted by his luxe lobster salad napped in a buttermilk dressing ($48) and his orecchiette with lamb and eggplant ragu ($28).

Annie loyalists need not fear. The majority of the lunch, dinner and brunch menu items will remain familiar to most diners. Famed dishes staying put include The Annie’s tortilla soup ($14), those famous crab tostadas ($38), the coffee roasted tenderloin ($56) — an often copied dish that actually happened by accident — and the burger that Bar Annie now dubs The Annie Grind ($28).

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The Annie has an ambitious new chef. But its restaurant favorites remain.

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