Uchi Alum Plans New Tasting-Menu Restaurant in CityCentre

Chutoro and Fermented Plums

HOUSTON NATIVE THOMAS Stacy, 29, loved cooking as a kid. He'd go on to graduate from UH and manage an Amazon fulfillment center in Seattle before moving home to officially join the food world; his first job in a restaurant kitchen was as a prep and line cook at Uchi in Montrose in 2019.

He cut his teeth and learned from the best — then Covid hit. He used the difficult season to bring joy to people in the form of food, hosting private, multicourse dinners for friends at his Montrose apartment. Now, Stacy and fellow UH alum Andrew Herron — who's worked for a number of local hot spots, including Rosie Cannonball and Tiny Champions — have announced a more permanent version of the intimate, chef-driven dinners: a 20-seat, BYOB restaurant dubbed ReikiNa, opening soon in CityCentre. It will highlight Asian flavors while utilizing European techniques, and the menu will rotate every six to eight weeks.

Foodies can preview the concept during a series of pop-up dinners, with proceeds benefiting Southern Smoke. Events take place at Sanman Studios near UH Downtown on April 8, 15 and 23, and reservations can be made for $150/person via Resy.

As for the brick-and-mortar, expect a "mod-bohemian French femme" design scheme, courtesy of Cat Matthews, throughout the 3,500-square-foot space. Collected furniture and dishware will adorn the space, the centerpiece of which will be an 11-foot communal table handcrafted by Stacy — a modern renaissance man who dabbles in piano, guitar and visual art — out of white-oak barn siding.

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