News came Tuesday that the Anvil partnership of Bobby Heugel, Kevin Floyd and Michael Burnett had been hired by Legacy Restaurants to serve as Operating Partners for two iconic Houston restaurants: the Original Ninfa's on Navigation and Antone's Famous Po' Boys. While Heugel consulted for Ninfa's on revising their cocktail menu, the news that he and his partners were taking over day to day operations of the restaurant came as a surprise. Eater spoke to Heugel about his plans for both concepts and what changes might be coming.
How did this come about? I had gotten to know Niel (Morgan) when I did some cocktail consulting for him. He was looking for an operator for Ninfa's and Antone's as he's getting older. He approached us about it. We told him we were interested. Our role is we're caretakers for the restaurant.
What, if any, changes do you anticipate making to Ninfa's? I think the restaurant's perfect. I wouldn't have gotten involved with it unless I thought so much was right. There are literally people waiting tables as that restaurant longer than I've been alive ... I don't have any intention of making changes to that restaurant. People can rest assured this restaurant is cherished the way it is.
And what about Antone's? If we have a chance to improve something, it would be Antone's. There's lots of overlap with things we're already doing at Underbelly in terms of charcuterie. There's some opportunities for us to make some suggestions, but it's at least a year out while we learn how the company works.
Do you think you'll serve as the Operating Partners for any other restaurants? I think this is a unique situation for me to be honest. I think you would have trouble naming two restaurant identities that have as much history as the Original Ninfa's and Antone's do ... We really fit well personality wise. It's interesting to me to get to work with someone who has so much experience in the city.
I don't have any intentions of doing this is any other way in the future. I can't dream up anything that matches up so perfectly historically and culturally in terms of what our company tries to (embody).