Houston chef and restaurateur Aaron Bludorn has delivered Space City some of its favorite dining experiences with restaurants Bludorn and Navy Blue, and his reign isn’t over yet.
Channeling the standout bar at his flagship and namesake restaurant, Bludorn, the chef will open Bar Bludorn in early 2024, taking over 9061 Gaylord Drive, formerly the location of Jonathan’s the Rub, in the Memorial area. The team first announced plans for the “upscale tavern” in late March, less than six months after they opened Navy Blue.
Bludorn says the location holds much significance for him and his partners, which include Cherif Mdboji and Bludorn’s wife, Victoria Pappas Bludorn. Victoria grew up in the Memorial area, and the neighborhood was the first stop for Bludorn after he arrived in Houston (Jonathan’s the Rub was also the first restaurant he visited that helped clue him into Houston’s dining scene, he says).
Though details for the menu are still vague, Bludorn has tapped Alexandra Peña as Bar Bludorn’s executive chef. The Houston native, who served most recently as Navy Blue’s sous chef, will lead the new establishment in its quest to serve lunch, dinner, and cocktails. Peña previously worked at Kitchen at the Dunlavy before her tenure at Bludorn, where she led prep of seafood and meat before being appointed to executive sous chef at Navy Blue. An alumna of the Culinary Institute Lenotre, she credits her Mexican grandmother for sparking her interest in food and cooking, teaching her to hone her tortilla and tamale-making skills.
Bar Bludorn will be open for lunch, dinner, and cocktail service following its 2024 debut. 9061 Gaylord Drive.