On this week’s episode of “What’s Eric Eating,” Grant Cooper, Josep Prats, and Marc Cantu join CultureMap food editor to discuss The Big Vibe Group. Formed earlier this year out of Clark Cooper Concepts, Big Vibe operates Rice Village restaurants Coppa and Gratify as well as Flora, a new Mexican restaurant that recently opened in the former Dunlavy space on Allen Parkway.
The conversation begins with Cooper briefly discussing his amicable split with longtime business partner Charles Clark. From there, they turn to Gratify, the neighborhood bistro that’s been a smash hit since it opened last year.
Much of the discussion centers around Flora. Cooper says the concept has been on his mind for 10 years. It draws inspiration from a number of places, including restaurants in Mexico City and Tulum. Prats notes that the restaurant’s cooks, many of whom immigrated from Mexico, contributed ideas to the menu. Sandler also asks about the company’s future plans, which include Graffiti Raw, a new concept that will open in the Montrose Collective mixed-use develop, and Daddy’s Burgers, a pop-up Cooper operated for a short time in 2020. Ultimately, Big Vibe sees itself expanding beyond the Bayou City.
“I certainly feel like with Marc and Josep and the rest of our team, we have great people that work with us. I feel like it’s my obligation to expand our company, and everybody can benefit from that growth,” Cooper says.
“I think we know what people in Houston like, and I’ll be looking at other opportunities within Houston. I’ve been looking at Austin. Mostly, I like to go to places where I like to go, so Miami would be a good destination.”
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Michael Fulmer discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Cabo Bob’s opening three new locations across the Houston area; all of the changes at The Chocolate Bar; and the Bludorn team revealing the name and concept for their new Rice Village restaurant.
In the restaurants of the week segment, Fulmer and Sandler share their first impressions of Patton’s, the intimate steakhouse that opened inside Savoir. They also discuss Roberta’s, the Brooklyn-based pizzeria that just opened inside Post Market.