Restaurants

New Coppa Marketplace Opens in Houston as Clark Cooper’s Restaurants Come Together to Try and Survive

Coronavirus Pandemic's Devastating Impact on Restaurant Industry Forces Painful Decisions

BY // 03.23.20

Driving past Brasserie 19 on Sunday afternoon presented a sad picture. The outdoor patio that on more typical weekends is populated with social swells, fashionistas, and denizens of River Oaks was empty. Nevertheless, plans were in the works for a reimagining of all of Clark Cooper Concepts interests, with certainly less social engagement but more food service to the community.

PaperCity talked with Clark Cooper Concepts’ Grant Cooper, who revealed the next chapter in the firm’s business plan. For the duration of the COVID-19 crisis and perhaps beyond, the group’s restaurants are being combined into a new venture dubbed Coppa Marketplace.

The brief takeout business at Brasserie-19, Punk’s Simple Southern Kitchen, and The Dunlavy have been consolidated into the Rice Village location of Coppa Osteria. For Coppa Osteria Marketplace orders, go here.

Cooper tells PaperCity that starting this week, the group is rebranding and creating a marketplace. “We’ll be open 7 am to 9 pm, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, incorporating elements from all of our restaurants,” he says, adding that it should be up and running by Wednesday.

Customers will find takeout elements including pies and pastries from The Dunlavy, beef bourguignon and more from Brasserie 19, Punk’s fried chicken, cold-pressed juices from the yet-to-open Satisfy, some dishes from the late Ibiza, and the addition of popular foods including tacos, daily specials, and dishes that travel well such as bolognese. Orders can be placed online and by phone at 713.522.3535.

“We plan to create family meals that can be easily reheated at home or picked up hot and ready to eat,” Cooper emailed early Monday morning. “Baked goods, Satisfy bone broths, and other nourishing foods. Wine shops, breads, and hopefully farmer’s produce. Each day brings us a new challenge, and we will adapt accordingly.

“We hope to create a food market like something not seen in 50, maybe 80 years. We’re stepping back in time.”

As the concept is in the fledgling stage, Cooper asks that customers be patient as the team is working daily to streamline the process of providing “take and bake or hot and ready to do.”

While there’s a note of hope in this plan, the restaurateur allowed that he had not slept in three days with worry over the shutdown of the team’s restaurants and the potential of being put out of business. His story is the story of restaurants across the city. Last Monday, Clark Cooper Concepts had more than 300 employees; by Friday ,that was down to a “critical core of 24.” He choked up when talking about the loyal employees who had been on board for years, who had helped build the brand and then had to be let go.

“Let’s be real,” Cooper says. “There are going to be a lot of restaurants that will close as a result.”

He added the each restaurant situation is different depending on rent, debt service, and other things being calculated into making the best decision.

“It’s like we’re in critical care right now,” he laments.

The current goal for Clark Cooper Concepts with Coppa Marketplace is “to create a pod within our neighborhood hopefully that will sustain our core and continue the life form.”

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