In the gallery above are images from Corner Table, 1919 Wine and Mixology and Oak Bar, which are the combined restaurant, bar and nightclub spaces to be opened by former Ruggles chef Bruce Molzan, Darla Lexington and her daughter Michelle Coopwood. The space represents a dream realized for Lexington, who has known Molzan since he worked as a chef for her and John O'Quinn, the prominent local attorney and philanthropist who passed away after a car accident in 2009.
Corner Table will offer casual counter-service atmosphere at lunch and a more fine dining aspect at dinner. Next to the restaurant is 1919 Wine and Mixology, named after the year the building was constructed. It will have a bar and lounge area in the front, with a second, mixology/speakeasy room behind. Upstairs is the Oak Bar, a nightclub which is named after the building's history as an oak mill.
1919 has three sections. The main bar is a large space with an antique look. Booths will line the back wall, and a VIP section is tucked into the far corner. Walk through a door into the second bar space, which has a pre-Prohibition/speakeasy theme, including staff uniforms inspired by 1920's fashions. The Lexington Room is a private dining and party space next to the bar.
The Oak Bar is above 1919. The nightclub can either be a spot for an after-dinner cocktail or a destination in itself. The room will feature live music of the jazz/blues/standards variety. Coopwood will draw on her experience in the music business to book acts. Lexington wants to bring in a mix of local, regional and national artists.
Finally, there's the Corner Table, where Bruce Molzan will return to the kitchen for the first time since shuttering his Southwestern fine-dining restaurant Ruggles. Former Ruggles regulars will be pleased to see familiar faces in the dining room, including Molzan's long time sous chef Raffoul and general manager Vik Sen.
As for the food, Molzan rejected Eater's suggestion that he's serving "Ruggles Green during the day and Ruggles at night." He noted that only four items from the Ruggles menu will be served. He'll also be serving a wide variety of organic meat and produce than he did at Ruggles. Additionally, Molzan is focusing on paleo items, which he calls "gluten free on steroids." Lexington adds "That was then. This is now."
To make the restaurant family friendly, there's a kid's menu. Instead of the usual chicken fingers and grilled cheese, there's a range of healthier options. The menu encourages children to choose those items with the "Kids I.Q. Club," which will offer rewards such as t-shirts to diners who accumulate points from picking healthy menu items.
While there are certainly people who love to root against Molzan, the man is a survivor. During yesterday's interview, he seemed refreshed and motivated. Houston is a city that loves a good redemption story; if Molzan pulls Corner Table off, he'll have the best one yet.