Originally expected to arrive in August, restaurateur Jennifer Caswell and chef-husband Bryan Caswell are planning to open their much-anticipated restaurant Oxbow 7 in mid-September.
It’s an ambitious timeline for the Caswells, who are currently swamped at their restaurant Reef, where dozens of chefs and industry volunteers are working furiously to prepare meals for Hurricane Harvey evacuees and relief workers in the city. The restaurant’s kitchen wasn’t really impacted, but the dining room took significant damage during the flooding, which means that Reef is looking at an extended closure.
“[Reef] never lost electricity, but the damage is kind of crazy,” Jennifer Caswell tells Eater. “We have the rooftop bar, and the water doesn’t always go where it’s supposed to go. I came in when the rain would let up a little bit and saw the puddles in the floor, the chunks of the ceiling everywhere. The bar looks like it has a disease because the water caused the finish to bubble up.”
Fortunately, Oxbow 7’s space in the newly-renovated Le Meridien hotel did not sustain any damage in the floods. But now, the Caswells are so busy in the relief effort that they can’t even get into the kitchen to finish working on the menu and train their employees. That will happen over the next couple of weeks, and it’s likely that at least a few staffers will make the jump over to the new restaurant as repairs to Reef are completed.
At present, the Caswells are hoping to debut Oxbow 7 on September 19.