One of Houston’s most recognizable faces in warm hospitality brings his brand of good vibes to Buffalo Bayou Park. Grant Cooper, the mastermind behind Gratify Neighborhood Bistro and Coppa Osteria hotspots, has opened Floraa new Mexican restaurant in the old Dunlavy space (3422 Allen Pkwy).
Inspired by Cooper’s extensive travels to Mexican destinations, Flora is the first company in Cooper’s new Big Vibe group. Notably, Cooper has partnered with Charles Clark under Clark Cooper Concepts, which announced a widely publicized — and amicable — split after 20 years just a month ago.
Drawing inspiration from the food and charm of small, hot towns such as Tulum, Flora is described as a “Mexican treehouse getaway” overlooking Buffalo Bayou Park, marked by eye-catching decor Cooper and his wife Jacy have become famous. (think Gratify) plus Dunlavy’s art, pottery, greenery and over 40 existing chandeliers. The new restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner; plans include a weekend brunch program by summer.
The menu, curated by Cooper and partner Josep Prats, features an assortment of street tacos, tostadas, meats, ceviches, oysters, and more. “There are plenty of Mexican restaurants in Houston,” Cooper tells CultureMap, “but they don’t necessarily do what we do at Flora, in terms of food, ambiance, and service. We strive to be the #1 authentic destination in town. To that end, Cooper has added a masa program, which produces fresh corn tortillas every day.
Beloved for the experiences he creates at see/be seen places such as Gratify and Brasserie 19, Cooper hopes to bring “the Mexican beach vibe” to Buffalo Bayou Park, transporting guests to coastal paradises via his food. “You can eat a piece of overcooked fish on a Mexican beach and think it’s the best fish you’ve ever eaten,” Cooper says, “because you’re on vacation. We want to bring that vibe to Houston – with a Tex-Mex or Texas twist.
That means frozen nachos and margaritas, which are already getting rave reviews after Flora’s recent silent opening. “Customers are already telling me these are the best frozen margaritas in town,” Cooper notes. “Everyone loves a good frozen margarita – when it’s done right.”
Getting it right means summing up the experiences of Mexican and even French restaurants that Cooper and Jacy have visited over the years. “My wife and I love to travel, and I wanted to identify the things I love about traveling and translate them here. Really, that’s how my wife and I love to eat.
Flora customers can expect the same vibe and energetic experience as previous Cooper concepts. “We want people to feel that pulp Fiction moment,” he said. “That means they come here and escape for two hours, two and a half hours. This is the atmosphere we want to create. »
If his success at B19 and Gratify are any indicators, guests will no doubt feel that vibe, which has been deeply personal for Cooper. “Those two years were very emotional,” he recalls. “The tears of letting people go and the tears of watching people stay and work their buts off. We made Gratify out of gratitude – now with Flora we want to create the best Mexican food ever.
Flora; 3422 Allen Pkwy; 713-360-6477; Opening hours: Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information and reservations, visit www.florahouston.com.