Inside Houston’s New Restaurant Jewel — Your First Look Around Turner’s, Ben Berg’s Luxe Playland and Supper Club
The New It Spot for H-Town's Society Heavyweights is Here — and It's Already a Hot SceneBY Shelby Hodge // 03.05.20
The bar in Turner's has six bar seats and two bar high tables for imbibers and diners. (Berg Hospitality Group photo)
The bar in Turner's features a black & white tile floor, a nod to the original Café Annie which was further up the street. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)
Benjamin Berg's Turner's at The Annie Café & Bar opens with flair. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)
Turner's at The Annie Café & Bar has a separate entrance, so limited cross-pollination between the two. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)
The cozy dining area at Turner's provides an intimate dining atmosphere for 50 guests at full capacity. It will be much less that when it reopens under pandemic guidelines. (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
Green leather banquette seating lines the walls of the intimate restaurant that seats only 50. (Berg Hospitality Group photo)
Ben Berg and Shelby Hodge discuss the elegant setting of Turner's at The Annie. (Berg Hospitality Group photo)
Wall decor includes memorabilia from the Houston Polo Club. (Berg Hospitality Group photo)
Turner's decor is Benjamin Berg's take on Polo Bar ambience. (Berg Hospitality Group photo)
The baby grand piano will be populated Tuesday through Saturday in the tradition of Bobby Short and Steve Tyrell at The Carlyle. (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
The monkey chandelier in the cozy bar (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
Antlers line the walls of the Turner's bar. (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
A decorative deer head on the bar wall. (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
Decorative carvings in the restroom entrance at Turner's at The Annie. (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
Chef Robert Del Grande's steak tartare and foie gras torchon served at Turner's. (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
Brass door knockers add ambience at Turner's. (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
Porcelains at Turner's reflect a whimsical logo. (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
Chef Robert Del Grande's Bûcheron goat cheese salad (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
The classic Old Fashioned served at the classic bar eatery Turner's on Post Oak Boulevard. (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam) (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
Turner's menu (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
The classic Negroni served at Turner's at The Annie Café & Bar. (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
Chef Robert Del Grande's King Crab Terrine (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
Chef Robert Del Grande's Scottish Salmon 'pot roast' at Turner's (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
Benjamin Turner Berg's 'T' in the marble floor at his namesake bar/eatery. (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
Houston cafe society, rejoice. Friday night the curtain went up on a jewel box of a watering hole that is destined to become the one and only landing spot for socially minded cognoscenti. Turner’s, which resides on the ground floor of The Annie Café & Bar, has opened its doors for splendid nights of indulgence.
This scribe thinks you are going to love it. If you haven’t made your reservations yet, you are late to the party. Intrigued Ben Berg fans are already securing tables. Reservations are a must. And entrance will be controlled.
PaperCity first broke the news of the new supper club in September. Benjamin Berg, whose Berg Hospitality is making waves across the city’s restaurant scene, revealed details of his dreamy intimate restaurant/bar long before it would open. What he shared at the time was that the boite, open Tuesday through Saturday, would include a piano with nightly Bobby Short/Steve Tyrell talent. And, yes, there is a baby grand piano in the center of the dining area.
Chef Robert Del Grande is working his culinary magic with a user-friendly menu featuring classics that are sure to please.
Thursday afternoon, Berg, exhibiting an abundance of excitement, gave PaperCity a personal walk-through of the 1,637 square foot establishment that has dining tables for only 50, plus six bar seats and two cocktail tables. The ambience is old world, rich and impressive.
Clearly delineating The Annie from Turner’s, there is a separate entrance that sets the stage for the dramatic space.
“This is like a concept I’ve had in my head for such a long time,” Benjamin Berg said adding that he worked with architect Issac Preminger on realizing the space that he had long imagined. Preminger also worked on the redesign of The Annie.
“I just can’t wait for it to open,” Berg exuded 24 hours before the debut. In fact, Berg loves the results so much, he quipped, “I want to put a flat screen television and a bed in here and I’m gonna move in as my apartment.”
Indeed, the place is beautiful with walls covered in Ralph Lauren pinstripe suiting fabric, deep green leather tufted banquettes, crips white linens, beaucoup artwork and polo memorabilia from Houston Polo Club. Think riding caps, saddles, mallets and ribbons on display along with an eclectic collection of artwork — everything from vintage photos from 1978 (the year Berg was born) to a painting of 17th century Irish scientist and politician William Molyneux.
As native New Yorker Berg gleefully noted, “You always need an Irishman in a bar.”
The floor of the petite bar is black and white tile, a nod to the original Cafe Annie on Post Oak Boulevard, and features tin ceilings, vintage style wall coverings and whimsical chandeliers which add a special ambience to the space. Even the first floor bathrooms have been remodeled to reflect the horsey mood of Turner’s.
Berg’s design interests extend to the service staff attire. Happy to have Festari for Men next door, Berg tasked Rudy Festari with making the plaid vests and bow ties that wait staff wears. The staff is exceptional as Berg admits that he raided his other restaurants for his top waiters to serve in Turner’s.
“I’m just really excited to share it with Houston,” he said. “I think it’s a great new, intimate, clubby, friendly venue. Robert Del Grande’s menu is awesome and really elegant and luxurious.
“I see it organically happening . The guests are going to make it their own and they’re going to tell us how it’s going to be but I see a lot of table hopping and feeling really comfortable and like you’re at an elegant party every single evening.”
For a closer look around Turner’s, click thru the photo gallery below: