Company Description

Chapman & Kirby will be a gastrolounge concept and premium event space located in East Downtown Houston. The business is named after the founders of Houston (brothers Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen) and its design, menu and concept draw inspiration from the city’s rich history of growth, struggle and resilience. Chapman & Kirby’s management team comprises four accomplished entrepreneurs with over 40 years of combined experience in owning, operating and leading food & beverage development for high-profile restaurants, bars and event venues located throughout Greater Houston. These businesses include Rich's, EscoBar, Mi Luna, Saint Dane’s, Christian’s Tailgate, Hughes Hangar and The Astorian. 

Chapman & Kirby will be an anchor tenant in a new 60,000 square foot mixed-use project called East Village in Houston’s edgy East Downtown. East Village will transform 2 blocks of East Downtown into a pedestrian-friendly urban office and entertainment mecca. For more details, see the Location Analysis section below.

With over 9,000 square feet of space (including a 1,000 square foot outdoor terrace), Chapman & Kirby is designed to transition seamlessly from a daily lunch and dinner spot to a festive evening and weekend destination. It will also serve as a high-end venue for corporate and private events. 

Renderings presented in this offering may not reflect the final design of Chapman & Kirby.

Business Model

Chapman & Kirby will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, and the bar will be open all week into the evenings to provide an upscale, relaxing experience for its patrons. Conveniently located in East Downtown, Chapman & Kirby will be able to serve the downtown business crowds as well as the increasing residential community in East Downtown. The goal is to provide a diverse array of customers with a beautifully designed space for meetings and getaways at all times of the day. 

On Friday and Saturday evenings, the venue will be flipped into a chic lounge to host Houston’s nightlife scene. Various Midtown bars and nightlife venues that are currently popular in Houston are less than two miles away, and the Chapman team believes that Chapman & Kirby can anchor a growing movement towards East Downtown. 

The space at Chapman & Kirby will also be designed to host private social events and corporate gatherings. The Chapman team's experience in developing and managing private event spaces like Hughes Hangar and The Astorian informs its ability to leverage the design and flow of Chapman & Kirby’s physical space to best serve this growing market. 

Houston recently surpassed New York City as the most diverse city in America, with more nations and ethnicities represented than in any other city in the country. The Chapman & Kirby food and beverage menu will celebrate the cultural depth and heritage of Houston, while also striving for a wholesome, close-to-farm concept. 

  • Here is a sampling of what will come to your table: 
  • Lobster tamale, steamed and served with salsa swissa 
  • Pork belly chicharone, seasoned with Tajin and served with salsa verde 
  • "Wow Bao," a steamed hand-held dumpling stuffed with pulled Peking duck 
  • Bell & Evans organic chicken tikka masala 
  • Pizzette flat bread with chicken and shrimp pad thai 
  • Pho noodle soup with shaved ribeye steak

Location Analysis

Chapman & Kirby is scheduled to open at 2118 Lamar Street (as marked in the neighborhood map below) in September of 2016, as an anchor tenant in a new 60,000 square foot mixed-use project called East Village in Houston’s edgy East Downtown. East Village will contain several other food & beverage options, as well as office space and some non-traditional hospitality offerings. Pernod Ricard’s Our Vodka subsidiary has announced plans for a micro-distillery and tasting bar in East Village. Houston’s Three Square Design is scheduled to take 10,000 square feet of office space over 20,000 square feet of retail space in the first phase of the project as well.

The proposed location is situated in close proximity to several Houston landmarks that draw significant crowds to the neighborhood (approximately 18.3 million unique visitors to Downtown Houston annually), such as George R. Brown Convention Center, Toyota Center, Minute Maid Park and BBVA Compass Stadium.

Meet the Team

Hoang "Juan" Cao

Juan Cao is a serial entreprenuer who is renowned for his skills as a designer, concept creator and builder of unique venues. He co-founded Hughes Hangar, and was responsible for developing the concept and design for the highly successful bar and event space. He also created The De Gaulle (named after Paris's international airport), which was inspired by historical Paris and its trademark decadence.

Seeing the demand for Hughes Hangar as an event space, Juan later left to create his latest project - The Astorian. With The Astorian, Juan drew inspiration from 1920's glamour and Grand Central Station in Manhattan. Since launching in March 2015, The Astorian has hosted some of Houston's most spectacular high-profile events.  

Mazen Baltagi

Mazen Baltagi is a successful entrepreneur with 17 years of experience in the service industry. After obtaining an Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Houston, Mazen owned and operated several high-volume and popular local establishments in Houston such as Rich's, EscoBar, Mi Luna, Saint Dane’s and Christian's Tailgate.

Mazen is known for his ability to consistently identify and acquire underperforming businesses, significantly improve operations and turn the businesses around for profitable exits. He was able to successfully reinvent the customer's experience at Rich's, Escobar and Mi Luna, resulting in the revitalization of all three establishments.

He has continued to own and operate Saint Danes, and has expanded Christian's Tailgate to five locations around Houston.

Steven Bien Tran

Bien Tran obtained his Juris Doctor at Duke School of Law. He started his career as a litigator at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP and operated his own law office prior to joining Bush & Ramirez L.L.C.

Bien co-founded Hughes Hangar in 2011 to much acclaim, and remained the managing owner of the iconic venue through early 2015. Not only is Hughes Hangar a regular location for happy hours, drinks and celebrations, it has evolved into a much sought after venue for corporate events and private parties as well.

Bien is also active in the community. He previously sat on the Board of Directors for the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce in Houston and the Board of Directors of the Bayou City Arts Festival, the largest art festival in Houston (has been ranked in the "Top 10 Festivals in America" by national magazines and has raised over $2.5 million for charity).

Tim Soufan

Tim Soufan brings more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Tim received his Grand Diplome de Cuisine from the Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in Paris, France.

He started his career at the famed Royal Monceau Hotel in Paris, France. When he moved to Texas in the early '90s, he became the Corporate Executive Chef for Pappas Restaurants in Houston where he was responsible for menu development. He has since spent most of his career in executive roles and as the head of Food & Beverage for such household names as Denny's, TGI Fridays, Not Your Average Joe's and Romano's Macaroni Grill.

In his most recent endeavor as the Senior Partner of Food Think, he has developed a food & beverage agency that consults with brands and businesses of all sizes. His areas of specialty include new concept development, operational processes, labor allocation, cost management and ingredients optimization. Current clients include the likes of Zoe’s Kitchen, Zinburger, Brew Detroit, Tortilla Ranch Mexican Grill and Big Boy Restaurants.

Tim was recognized as one of the Top 50 Tastemakers by Nation's Restaurant News, and has been recognized by the US National Restaurant Association and Food Art Magazine over the years with various awards.