Restaurateur Luke Mandola, formerly of Ragin' Cajun, and chef Kory Clemens, son of should be a Baseball Hall of Famer Roger, have united to bring "sports and spirits" concept Katch 22 to the former Convivio space on Durham.
Let's start with the name, which Mandola explains as follows: he was a baseball "catch"er in college, K is the first letter of Kory's name and his three brothers, Kody, Kacy and Koby. The letter "K" also refers to the symbol in a baseball score keeping book for a strikeout, of which Roger compiled 4,672 in a 24 year Major League career, good for third all time. In addition to being the number Roger wore during stints with the Yankees and Astros, 22 is also the day Mandola's son was born.
One thing Mandola wants to make clear is that he and Clemens aren't opening a sports bar. Although there will be 11 TVs (22 divided by 2, Clemens notes) and sports memorabilia decorating the walls, Katch 22 is a "sports and spirits" restaurant that is designed to appeal to men and women. It will offer a menu far beyond the traditional burgers and wings sports bar fare.
Clemens, who studied cooking at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin and worked with Mandola at Ragin' Cajun, will serve as the executive chef. His menu includes a Red Sox lobster sandwich on Texas toast, flatbreads, salads, steaks, chops and fried chicken. His signature appetizer is bacon-wrapped dove, instead of the traditional quail. The restaurant will also offer a reasonably-priced wine list and Texas craft beer.
Running the front-of-house is Veronica Mejie, who comes to the project after working as a manager at West Ave sushi restaurant Katsuya. She referred to herself as "the glue that keeps these guys together."
For those who like dining inside the loop but hate valet parking, Mandola has that covered; he's secured a 10,000 square foot parking lot adjacent to the restaurant. It will be covered in crushed limestone and ready for opening. As for when that opening will occur, Mandola says he's targeting mid-May. Just in time for the NBA playoffs and baseball season.