THE FORMER PARTNERS of the noted Clark Cooper Concepts restaurant company — whose eateries have included the River Oaks shopping strip’s Brasserie 19 and the Rice Village’s similarly scene-y Gratify — issued separate press releases this morning announcing that founding chef Charles Clark and founding restaurateur Grant Cooper have split.
Per a rep for Clark: “Charles Clark and Grant Cooper have decided to part ways after 20 years as business partners. Charles Clark will take the reins and become the face of Brasserie 19. The decision comes as Charles wanted to maintain one to two simple concepts and Grant desired to grow in a different direction.”
“There is no bad blood between me and Grant,” said Clark in a statement. “We just wanted different things. 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.”
The brightly white-marble-washed brasserie is widely known to the in-crowd that has long patronized it as B-19. The see-and-be scene was the follow-up to Clark Cooper Concepts’ first huge hit, the late great Ibiza in Midtown, which highlighted the affable Clark’s aplomb with Mediterranean fare and seafood — and Cooper’s room-working charm.
Clark added of the recent news, “Why should we be locked to each other? We have worked well together for over 20 years and have built many successful restaurants. 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.”
Camp Cooper positioned the breakup this way: Cooper and Clark “will no longer operate under the Clark Cooper Concepts umbrella. They part as friends, looking forward to continuing to serve the community of loyal patrons that have become like family to them.”
Cooper — the ever-cool, gray-bearded, hipster-hat-wearing man about the dining room — will rebrand as Good Vibe Hospitality, he says, and maintain full ownership of former duo’s Coppa Osteria, which is the popular Italian restaurant next door to Gratify, and the upcoming Flora, set to open next month in the beautiful, twinkling space formerly called The Dunlavy on Allen Parkway.
Cooper’s rep added that the restaurateur “feels lucky to embark on this upcoming journey.”
The now closed Ibiza
The kitchen at Ibiza
The wine wall at Ibiza
The lounge at Gratify
Gratify Oysters on the Half Shell
Entrees at Gratify
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