Foodie Events / Restaurants

Shuttered Houston Sushi Restaurant is Coming Back to Life at a Montrose Coffee Shop — ReikiNa Returns With Pop-Up Dinners

Chef Thomas Stacy Isn't Giving Up On His Food Dream

BY // 08.26.22
photography Dylan Scardino

Thomas Stacy, the chef and founder behind ReikiNa restaurant, is bringing back his intimate, immersive  five-course pop-up dinners. Only now, with the CITYCENTRE restaurant shuttered, the ReikiNa dinners will take place at Montrose’s Native Coffee — with a bit of a twist.

Starting September 1, Stacy will entice diners with a globally inspired pre-fixe menu at the newly renovated coffee house. Open for just eight diners at each service, this ReikiNa pop-up will have three seatings nightly Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 6 pm, 7:15 pm and 8:30 pm.

A lifelong cooking enthusiast, and still just 28 years old, Stacy quit his high-paying gig at Amazon in Seattle (in the area of supply chain management) to follow his passion for food and cooking which led him straight home to Houston and to the lauded kitchen of Tyson Cole’s Uchi, where Stacy humbled himself and asked for his first restaurant job.

ReikiNa (loosely translated as “divine snacks” in Japanese), was born of the bleak days of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns. Stacy didn’t possess a grand plan to open his own restaurant, certainly not during those tenuous uncertain months. While many of us were ordering curbside pickup and Uber Eats, Stacy hosted a series of pop-up dinners at his Montrose home.

He penned what he calls “secret letters” to his neighbors, inviting them to gather for 10-person BYOB dinners. Soon word spread, and people clamored for a coveted spot at the table where Stacy created tasting menus inspired by the ingredients and techniques of Asia blended with those of Europe. That led to Stacy opening ReikNa last summer on a second-floor space inside CITYCENTRE. With the restaurant closed, Stacy is keeping his eye out for a new permanent restaurant location closer to home.

“I learned a lot from the previous iteration of the concept,” Stacy says. “I want to do it a bit differently this time. More rustic, with fewer courses, larger portions and the option for guests to sit at their own table. I couldn’t be more excited to bring these new changes to the Montrose community — the place where I grew up and where the pop-ups originally started.

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  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022

“ReikiNa is centered around creative expression, and Montrose is a perfect place to match that creative energy.”

Sesame Caesar at ReikNa (Photo by Dylan Scardino)
The Sesame Caesar with pickled kohlrabi, cherry tomato, and burnt sourdough is one of the five courses to be served at the ReikiNa pop-up. (Photo by Dylan Scardino)

ReikiNa’s initial five-course menu will consist of yellowtail sashimi with apricot jam, tamari, olive oil and crispy potato; sesame Caesar with pickled kohlrabi, cherry tomato and burnt sourdough; smoked cod agnolotti with bonito flake cream sauce; smoked RC Ranch Wagyu with kalbi mustard greens and miso potato; and for dessert nectarine icebox pie with homemade marshmallow and vanilla egg custard. The menu will be priced at $100 per person with the option for guests to BYOB.

For the foreseeable future, Stacy will operate out of Native Coffee, with hopes to eventually open another brick-and-mortar restaurant location. Reservations are now available on Resy.com. You’ll find Native Coffee at 1715 West Dallas.

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