Grant Cooper exudes excitement for cuisine — planning, preparing, plating, patrons — and holds the coveted key to successful restaurant ventures alongside business partner Charles Clark through Clark Cooper Concepts. Growing up amid Europe’s food meca in Belgium, Cooper enjoyed extensive travels throughout his homeland, France, Spain and Italy and gained an international perspective for the attributes that make successful restaurateurs tick: dedication to creating sensational fare, a passion for personal service, a heart for memorable dining experiences, and an appreciation of the tiniest details.
Cooper found himself in another restaurant hot spot after hopping the pond in the 1980s and landing in Dallas, Texas. There, he got his feet wet in the food and beverage industry by running neighborhood watering hole, then broadened his knowledge by learning the management aspects of the business at popular eateries in Austin, also known for its great bars and restaurants.
Enter collaborator Charles Clark in 1995, with whom Cooper has since launched five acclaimed concepts over the past decade… and with more under development. Rewinding a bit, Cooper and Clark recognized their shared entrepreneurial vision for a unique yet untapped dining concept: great food, great vibe and great wine, regardless of the occasion (and non-occasion).
This philosophy served as the springboard for both a long-term friendship and the launch of Ibiza, their first concept. And their groundbreaking quest to offer an extensive wine list priced just above retail was no flash in the pan, as it today represents a cornerstone for just the right wine paring at a diner-friendly price. With several acclaimed concepts now under their belts, Cooper’s wine acumen and expertise in front-of-the-house patron relations provides the red carpet stepping stone that ensures truly unforgettable dining experiences for loyal patrons. Together, Cooper and Clark have remained in an enviable position at the forefront of creating trends, not following them. So stay tuned, as this story is far from over.
Restaurateur Charles Clark is widely admired for his international culinary experience, impressive knowledge, colossal energy, stint on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and head-spinning list of accolades. Alongside business partner Grant Cooper, the duo has launched four top-of-the-chart restaurant ventures through Clark Cooper Concepts and has consistently garnered local and national praise.
Clark’s rise to the top tier of Houston’s culinary talent dates back to humble beginnings and modest, small-town Louisiana roots. There, his parents instilled a hard work ethic and adherence to strong morals, which Clark has embraced throughout his career. Beginning with an apprenticeship at an iconic Texas restaurant, he also racked up first-hand experiences with exemplary culinary techniques in France, Italy and Spain.
Upon his return to the United States, Clark achieved top honors as a credentialed chef and today ranks as a highly respected restaurateur. With a uniquely unpretentious high style, Clark’s culinary experiences and tenure in the kitchen are melded with Cooper’s business savvy to create trends that mirror the open kitchens that both Clark and Cooper enjoyed during childhood and front-of-the-house early-career positions. Ibiza Food & Wine Bar, like its namesake island off the coast of Spain, bustles in Midtown with a confluence of sophisticated Houston style setters.
Flanking the other side of Houston’s bustling downtown business district on edgy Washington Avenue, the newest venture, Coppa Ristorante Italiano, offers a diverse slate of Italian cuisine in a buoyant atmosphere that captures the Italian spirit. Between the two in upscale River Oaks and named for its affluent zip code, Brasserie 19 reincarnates classic French brasserie fare enhanced by Gulf Coast flavors and modern American influences. With their creativity working overtime, Clark Cooper Concepts have additional trend-setting concepts on the drawing board, and loyal patrons are awaiting the next marvel to be unveiled.
Houston's Ibiza, like its namesake off the coast of Spain, pulses with a confluence of sophisticated style setters, exciting environs and fabulous fare. Awash in cool blues and greys, the restaurant evokes a modern Mediterranean mecca where Houstonians dine surround Grant Cooper and Chef Charles Clark's bustling open kitchen.
[ visit the ibiza site ]
Coppa Ristorante Italiano is an expression of the evolution of cuisines, menus, service and ambiance that characterizes the history of the Italian dining experience in this country. Coppa boasts a simple, flavorful menu bringing Houstonians a place to savor a diverse slate of Italian cuisine in a buoyant, bustling atmosphere that captures the Italian spirit.
[ visit the coppa site ]