On the heels of two fresh openings (Gratify and Flora) in the last two years, the Big Vibe Group, which also operates Coppa in Rice Village, is expanding its footprint with the launch of Graffiti Raw, now open in the Montrose Collective. The group has a knack for launching buzzy, unique concepts that offer a modern approach to dining, and Graffiti Raw is no different.
The brainchild of husband-and-wife team Grant and Jacy Cooper, along with their partner Josep Prats, Graffiti Raw brings an all-day kitchen and bar to the corner of California and Grant Streets, in the Montrose multi-use development. The mood and menu lean on California culture and the “less is more” beachside lifestyle. Not to be confused with having a purely raw menu, the restaurant’s name comes from the “raw” creativity of street art and is symbolized by presenting high-quality ingredients in a “raw” and real package.
The slew of people who pass through Montrose, by car or by foot, will notice the attractive, wraparound patio dotted with bamboo Ecru scalloped umbrellas, colorful tiling, and marble-top tables accompanied by wooden chairs that mimic folding beach chairs. Inside, white oak and Moroccan light fixtures and chairs are reminiscent of breezy beachfront destinations and further allow guests to escape. Art and decorative pieces from around the globe were hand-picked from trusted vendors in Round Top, and a cozy bar, with nine coveted seats, rounds out the space.
The Coopers and Prats drew inspiration for the menu from their world travels, and the result is a diverse set of offerings which showcases a variety of cuisines. Highlights include cod croquettes, spaghetti rustichella, crab and shrimp fried rice, miso Caesar salad, and a nori tostada. A forbidden bowl combines black bean ink-infused basmati rice with salmon and vegetables over red coconut curry, while the snacky caviar and chips makes indulging in the delicacy feel casual and approachable.
Guests may recognize the charred octopus, a dish that appears on the menu at all of the Big Vibe Group restaurants, but each with its own distinct twist. At Graffiti Raw, it brings Spanish influence, pairing the octopus with boiled potato and paprika, a black truffle chili crunch, and chimichurri.
The octopus isn’t the only nod to the group’s other restaurants — Graffiti Raw is resourceful and incorporates fan favorites from its other concepts into the menu. Expect to find FLORA’s house-made tortilla chips and frozen margaritas, Coppa’s house-made pastas, and Gratify’s ceviche. As a bonus, the Angus cheeseburger is a nod to the group’s summer pop-up for Daddy’s Burgers, which appeared only for a short time in 2020.
Graffiti Raw is open at 11 a.m. daily, giving Houstonians the chance to bask in the easygoing California lifestyle right in the heart of Montrose, any day that they please.