Restaurants / Closings

Pioneering Houston Restaurant Closes After 19 Years With a Last Supper to Remember — Ibiza’s Big Goodbye

New Orleans Second Line Band, a Crowd of Power Players and Giant Bottles of Wine

BY // 02.17.20
photography Tony Ruppe

Fans of Ibiza knew it would come to this — the last supper. And so it was Saturday night when more than 300 devotees of chef Charles Clark’s inimitable fare bid final adieu after 19 years. But neither this crowd nor this Midtown restaurant went quietly into the night.

It was one rocking party that included a New Orleans second line band and an ensuing parade of diners.

For starters, Clark opened a Nebuchadnezzar (20 bottles) of 2011 Baron de Ley Rioja and had it served to everyone in the packed dining room. As the night progressed and guests dined on their Ibiza favorites, they ultimately cleaned out the wine wall in the main dining room.

It was quite a night for Clark and his business partner, Grant Cooper, with the duo calling in assistance from sister restaurants under the Clark Cooper Concepts umbrella to help handle the very merry crush. That included Coppa’s general manager Josep Prats, Ibiza’s Bradford McKnight and Everett Fontenot and servers from Brasserie 19 and Coppa Osteria. In an out of character move, Clark Cooper director of operations Marc Cantu and Cooper both worked the floor.

Cece Clark_Charles Clark_Ella Clark Ibiza closing night (Photo by Tony Ruppe)
Cece Clark, Chef Charles Clark, Ella Clark (Photo by Tony Ruppe)

Veteran employees were the stars of the night with introductions and applause for those who had been with Ibiza as many as all 19 years, some for 17 years, 16 years and 13 years. In the topsy turvy world of restaurant employees, it was no small feat to win so much loyalty among staff.

State Senator Carol Alvarado presented Clark and Cooper with a State of Texas Resolution honoring their nearly two decades of success and Ibiza loyalist Wendy Dawson climbed atop one of the tables to toast the Ibiza team.

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In a surprise for all, Clark’s family brought in the New Orleans Second Line Band to close out the history book on Ibiza. Guests joined the band’s parade dancing around the restaurant while waving their napkins overhead.

Chef Bryan Caswell and restaurateur Benjy Levit and wife Erica joined the last supper as did Clark’s daughters, Cece and Ella, and Cooper’s wife Jacy.

On the QT, though he was ready to retire from the nightly chef’s grind, Cooper has shared with loyal customers that his wish is, at some point down the road, to open a very small restaurant, an almost clubby place for friends. Of course, Clark remains an integral part of the Clark Cooper Concepts operation. Look for him in the front of the house at the team’s various restaurants.

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