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Southern Fine Dining Restaurant Heads to Houston with Women-Led Kitchen

Houston chef Tiffani Janelle has created a contemporary “comfort food” menu with deep-fried salmon, tomahawk steaks, and smothered catfish

Chef Tiffani Janelle posing in a dining room.
Private celebrity chef Tiffani Janelle will lead new fine dining restaurant Doves Restaurant & Lounge.
Doves Restaurant & Lounge

The Galleria area is getting a new fine dining Southern restaurant this fall — with a kitchen entirely led by women.

Entrepreneurs Touché Harvey and Frederick Wilson of HW Hospitality Group will debut Doves Restaurant & Lounge at 5524 Richmond Avenue in the Uptown area this fall, with private celebrity chef Tiffani Janelle creating a menu full of Southern staples, including prime cuts of beef, fresh seafood, and lamb with a Southern Creole influence.

Janelle says the menu will consist of “contemporary comfort food” that’s been upscaled or uplifted to “a higher brow,” incorporating staples of the South like grit cakes with common techniques like slow-cooking short ribs and then adding fun twists, like a marmalade finish.

“The menu is fun. It’s giving people familiar food in a different way,” Janelle says.

Starters will include soups, salads, and appetizers like Island shrimp cocktail with mango habanero sauce. Main course options will consist of tomahawk steaks, Southern catfish smothered in Creole beurre blanc sauce, and deep-fried salmon, with sweet treats like a “grown-up” milk and cookies — a pairing of warm chocolate chip cookies and chilled white chocolate Rumchata for dessert.

The restaurant’s indoor dining room and lounge area can seat up to 99 people, with two additional private event spaces reserved for private dinners, meetings, and events. The outdoor patio will seat up to 30 and will offer its own happy hour.

Janelle, who has cooked for celebrities like thespians Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, NFL player Adrian Peterson, former NBA player Tracy McGrady, and Houston icon Beyoncé, said the concept for the all-women-led kitchen came from a priority of her own as a Black female chef in the industry.

With the upcoming cookbook Sunday Dinner and her work focusing on Black women taking on major positions within the kitchen, Janelle said it was important for her to make sure that she was helping create opportunities for women of color in any new projects.

I think we live in a time that people forget that [Black women] were some of the first chefs in the country,” so it was crucial that women were prioritized in the new venture, Janelle says. Both Harvey and Wilson decided to incorporate that into Doves, which is also a tribute to their mothers and some of their loved ones whom they have lost, Janelle says.

Harvey said it was also important for Doves to challenge the constraints or stereotypes of fine dining with a more relaxed atmosphere.

“We just want people to know that people can enjoy themselves. Even if you don’t want to dress all the way up, you can still come to get fine dining without putting a suit on,” Harvey says.

Now, Janelle is in charge of hand-picking culinary talent and staff for the restaurant. While Janelle will not serve as head chef, she’ll continue to consult for Doves for at least 90 days following its opening with the goal to turn it over to an executive female chef that will continue her vision.

“These women are special, and in the big picture, we’re giving them the creative control to make changes and feel empowered to do so,” says Janelle, who is already confident that Doves will deliver an experience and food that people will want to experience again and again.

“We’re creating a restaurant that women can lead and create repetitive experiences to success,” Janelle says.

The restaurant — which is slated to open by August 31, according to the website’s countdown — will be open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to midnight on Fridays; and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for brunch service and from 5 p.m. to midnight for dinner, cocktails, and late-night dining on weekends.

Doves Restaurant & Lounge

5524 Richmond Avenue, Houston, TX 77056 Visit Website