Restaurants

Renowned Houston Restaurant Duo Split Up — Charles Clark Keeps Brasserie 19, Grant Cooper Gets Gratify and a New Group

After a Successful 20 Year Partnership, the Chef and the Business Guru Amicably Embrace Different Futures

BY // 02.08.22

Clark Cooper Concepts, the restaurant group that brought Houston diners such favorites as Ibiza, Brasserie 19, Coppa Osteria and most recently Gratify, is no more as the partners of two decades — Charles Clark and Grant Cooper — are going their separate yet amicable ways.

Cooper is the boundless business guy, known for developing new restaurant ideas and conveying them into fruition. Development and operations are his specialty. Clark, the talented chef who helmed the kitchen at Ibiza and who partnered with Cooper on a highly successful 20-year journey, is just as happy sticking with one restaurant and enriching that experience. That would be the wildly popular Brasserie 19 where you will now find Clark welcoming must see and be seen guests daily.

A West University resident, Cooper is maintaining ownership of his equally popular Gratify Neighborhood Bistro and its next door neighbor Coppa Osteria, which are within biking if not walking distance from his home. Next up for his new company called Good Vibe Hospitality is Flora, a takeover of the chandelier-laden Dunlavy in Buffalo Bayou Park where Clark Cooper Concepts ran a successful brunch and lunch operation until COVID shut it down.

“Grant wants to expand and do different concepts and I want to grow in a different way. I want to do a lounge and continue the legacy and tradition of Brasserie 19,” Clark says. “I value the partnership and success Grant and I have both seen over the years.

“This separation gives us both the opportunity to do what we want.”

Good news for fans who adored Ibiza and have lamented its closure, Brasserie 19 executive chef Michael Hoffman, former sous chef at Ibiza, will introduce a new menu in March. And Clark plans to continue updating the restaurant’s interior, a project that began last year, and evolve the wine program to include a more diverse variety of wines to compliment the globally inspired French menu.

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In a release about his newly formed Good Vibe Hospitality group, Cooper notes that he is “grateful not only for his hard-working staff and faithful guests but also for the partnership with Clark that enabled him to make his mark in the industry . . .  and feels lucky to embark on this upcoming journey with newly appointed business partners Josep Prats and Marc Cantu.”

Clark Cooper Concepts team TK, Marc Cantu, Grant Cooper, Charles Clark
Clark Cooper Concepts team Josep Prats, Marc Cantu, Grant Cooper, Charles Clark working at Coppa Osteria to create a market for their business survival during the onset of the pandemic in 2020. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)

Clark Cooper Nostalgia

With this change, one can’t help but recall how the Clark Cooper team pulled together in March of 2020, regrouping and pivoting to save their business during the start of the pandemic. The brief  takeout business at Brasserie 19, Punk’s Simple Southern Kitchen and The Dunlavy were consolidated into the Rice Village location of Coppa Osteria.

And then there was the shuttering of Ibiza in 2020, a result of the lease ending and the duo’s interest in moving on and closing the Midtown restaurant while it still glowed from its longterm success.

The yet-to-be-realized Satisfy, a Cooper restaurant concept of tasty yet healthful food, held a preview at The Dunlavy in January 2020 only months before COVID killed that plan. Now both these Houston restaurant pioneers are making new plans.

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