With an avant garde and modern approach to the café experience, Chef Roy Shvartzapel (elBulli, Pierre Hermé in Paris, Balthazar, Bouley, Cyrus and Bouchon Beverly Hills), Brad Sanders and Kathy Sanders are creating Common Bond, a café and bakery in Houston, TX, designed by Italian firm Costa Group, the same team responsible for New York City’s Eataly. Located at 1706 Westheimer Road in central Houston, the café’s owners promise it will be unlike any other in the US in both concept and design. It is slated to open in January 2014.
The café, helmed by Shvartzapel, recently named one of the “Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America” and one of the three principals and executive chef in the venture, will offer an impressive savory menu, as well as a vast array of viennoiserie, pastry, bread, gelato and more. It is designed to serve as a casual gathering place for breakfast, lunch or dinner, as well as a late night cup of coffee and pastry. In addition to a broad selection of coffees and teas, Common Bond will serve wine and craft beer.
Joining Shvartzapel in the kitchen are Executive Pastry Sous Chef Jillian Bartolome (Bouchon Bakery at Rockefeller Center and previously at Cyrus), Head Bread Baker Drew Gimma (Bouchon and Per Se in New York City), Assistant Bread Baker Tony Stein (Evergrain in Chestertown, MD and earlier at Bouchon Beverly Hills), and Assistant Bread Baker Alec Bartee (Café Besalu in Seattle, WA and previously at Cyrus and Della Fattoria in Petaluma, CA).
Menus will change seasonally and inspirationally. Popular dishes will remain as long as they respect the season. The Common Bond chefs, all proponents of local farmers and creameries, plan to source locally as long as it doesn’t compromise quality.
As for ambience, the 3,600-sq ft building designed by Italy’s Costa Group in collaboration with local firm Heights Venture Architects is best described as “casual urban elegance.” It will have a modern aesthetic, with lots of wood, concrete and glass. There will be a fully exposed kitchen designed by HKD Design, as well as a 24-foot bakery case. The café will be counter service, seating 60 indoors and accommodating an additional 40 on the patio.