(James) Beard Gang: The Rise of Kitchen 713

The last Black-owned business on our Founder's Fav's list is Kitchen 713. This is a spot I've visited more than a few times since my move to Houston in December 2017. I'm happy to say there hasn't been a single dish that didn't leave me with slight separation anxiety at the last bite. I was so excited to take my friends and family to Kitchen 713 for my official birthday dinner to enjoy the craft cocktails and delicious cuisine right along with me. Read on to learn more about how James-Beard-Award-Winning Chefs Ross Coleman and James Haywood continue to exceed their goals & dreams.

Founder's Fave #3: Meet Chefs Ross Coleman and James Haywood

The beginning

Chefs Cole and Haywood have been friends for a long time. They met on a common project working at Minute Maid Park and always had plans to open a business together. After years of following their own career paths in the food industry, they combined their dreams into the opening of Kitchen 713.

The co-owners spent six years developing the perfect menu. According to Chef Cole, "we wanted a globally-inspired menu with Houston roots. My partner doesn't believe in BS food, so we worked hard to maintain the authenticity of each culture while infusing some Houston style." Those six years of development were very well-spent; the flavor inspirations of India, Ethiopia, Mexico, Italy, & China make for an eclectic-yet-soulful selection of dishes.

"We had an $8,000 budget to open our first location," says Chef Cole. That budget went into a space in Second Ward; they found it on Craigslist. Their new business seated about 30 and brought traffic very quickly. "At first it was just the two of us...it was hectic. It took us 2-3 months to hire on new staff." Two years later, the duo had outgrown their nest. After gaining interest from a few new investors, they set out to look for a newer, bigger location.

The Kitchen 713 we know - located on Washington Avenue on the West End - opened in mid 2016. The grand opening marked their first day serving alcohol at their establishment. "Our first location was owned by a church, so serving alcohol was a no-go. With the second location, we wanted to offer a chef-curated drink menu." The combination of their outstanding menu and excellent craft cocktails landed them a spot on the 2018 list of James Beard Award semifinalists - welcome to the big leagues.

About the James Beard Award

The James Beard Award is the highest honor in the food industry. Since 1991, the James Beard Foundation has celebrated journalists, chefs, and other professionals in the food industry for culinary excellence in a variety of categories. In order to be considered for an award, a contestant must be nominated by their peers and voted on by a panel of judges who have proven to be experts in their field. So yes, it's a really big deal.

Go to Kitchen 713 for...

...the best meal of the day: brunch. Kitchen 713 offers a fried chicken dinner for 2 from 11a-3p on Saturdays and Sundays. This is their most popular dish, and since I haven't been in for brunch yet I find joy in knowing the best is yet to come. Maybe I'll see you there!