Northern California chef Bradley Ogden isn’t well-known in Houston, but he might be soon. The James Beard Award winner plans to open two new restaurants in the Houston area over the coming months--maybe three in the long term. Why Houston?
“Houston has an incredible growing food scene, probably the most vibrant in the country. Houston fits our attitude about dining out. The community has been incredibly welcoming to us and further speaks to the sophistication of the food culture,” replied Ogden via email.
Ogden's son Bradley, also a chef, has already relocated to Houston. The elder Ogden says, “Houstonians have already won over our hearts. We hope we can invite them into our restaurants and show them a little hospitality back.”
The first of the two restaurants to open will be Funky Chicken, a rustic, casual eatery serving roasted chicken, chicken pot pie, and fried chicken. Curious about the fried chicken? We are too, but it’s a closely guarded secret for the moment.
The second will be Bradley’s Fine Diner, with “very American and strictly seasonal” dishes like "Heirloom Yellow Canary Tomato Gazpacho with Avocado Salad and Charred Gulf Shrimp"; "Wood-Grilled Local Lamb Rack with Chive and Onion Popover and Braised Fennel"; and Ogden's famous "Butterscotch Pudding with Warm Snickerdoodles and Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream."
There may be a third concept coming as well—one that focuses on craft beer. If it comes to fruition, it will be called Ogden Hops & Harvest. The chefs are negotiating a lease to do a second Funky Chicken and an Ogden's Hops & Harvest in “a prime West Houston location.” (CityCentre?)
Ogden is the second high-profile, West Coast chef in a year to decide that Houston is a good bet. He follows French chef Philippe Verpiand, who shuttered his notable restaurant in San Diego and opened his new place, Étoile Cuisine et Bar, to rave reviews.
Funky Chicken and Bradley's Fine Diner can only add to the city's treasure trove of restaturants.