Restaurants

Houston’s Ultimate Restaurant Champion Dies of Cancer — Cleverley Stone Leaves a Legacy of Giving, $16.6 Million Plus to the Food Bank Alone

This Food Pioneer Started Houston Restaurant Weeks and Turned it Into a Leading Light

BY // 05.28.20

Hearts are heavy across Houston’s restaurant community as word spreads that one of its leading lights Cleverley Stone, aka the Diva of Dining and founder of Houston Restaurant Weeks, has lost her battle with cancer. She first revealed on Facebook in October that she was battling Stage 4 uterine cancer.

The 68-year-old ultimate foodie, media personality and philanthropist died quietly at home on Tuesday evening.

Giving life to her mantra of “Dine Out & Do Good,” Stone founded Houston Restaurant Weeks in 2003, which since its inception has raised more than $16.6 million for Houston Food Bank. From its humble beginning as Houston Restaurant Week, the fundraising promotion quickly grew and today includes more than 250 restaurants across the region and also serves the Montgomery County Food Bank and the Galveston County Food Bank with revenues earned from restaurants in those areas.

Those that knew her only as the godmother of Houston restaurants would be surprised to learn that Stone, born in New York City and reared in New Jersey, was a bridal specialist before entering the foodie scene. After attending the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, she became regional bridal director for B. Altman and Company and head buyer of fine china, crystal and silver. She moved to Houston in 1989 to join Foley’s where she served as corporate bridal director managing the bridal registry for the chain’s 40-plus stores in the Southwest.

Taking a turn toward food, Stone began a faxed newsletter on Houston’s dining scene in 1995 which with the advent of email became more popular and eventually evolved into a radio show on CBS 50, the longest-running program on the station, celebrating its 13 year in 2020. Her larger than life personality and fun-loving spirit also earned her a regular slot on Fox 26 KIRV’s Morning News interviewing chefs, sharing family recipes and showcasing restaurants participating in Houston Restaurant Weeks.

The release on her passing notes “Stone’s final wish was that Houston Restaurant Weeks continue in perpetuity in her name. With her beloved restaurant industry hit hard by the COVID-19 global pandemic, Stone knew the upcoming Houston Restaurant Weeks, from August 1 through September 7 would be one of the most important ever and she asked that the community support local restaurants and ultimately the food banks.” She asked that donates in her memory be made to Houston Food Bank here.

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Cleverley is survived by here daughter Katie, son-in-law Joe and grandson Luca.

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