Five 12 restaurant concepts , the restaurant group behind the six Tableware Company locations and led by Aaron Lyon, opens this year a brand new concept at CityCentre. Located at 800 Sorella Court in the former International Smoke space, Daily gathering not only benefits from Lyon’s success in growing Dish Society to six locations, but also from Chef Brandi key’s years of experience in restaurants such as SaltAir, Coppa and Alice Blue. Key joined the company in January and has quietly changed Dish Society dishes throughout the year.
Like Dish Society, the Daily Gather’s menu will focus on local ingredients and sustainability, but in a more refined way. As Dish Society: Lyons predicts that over time there will be more than one Daily Gather restaurant in Houston.
Key, who is director of culinary operations for Five 12 Restaurant Concepts, is currently focused on preparing dishes for Daily Gather that are his own take on “nostalgic American classics.” Some of Key’s reinvented American classics coming to the Daily Gather’s menu are share-sized platters of raw, chilled and grilled Gulf seafood, dips, spreads and stuffed eggs. Lunch and dinner dishes include salads, burgers, steaks and Prime rib featuring Texas beef, fresh fish, roast chicken, homemade flat breads and Pasta.
As for Lyon, having a very experienced chef to run Daily Gather was an absolute must, and Key also keeps Dish Society’s menu cool. “It’s a more ambitious and higher concept and place,” he said. “It’s absolutely essential that he has a chef’s touch. Brandi also helps us keep Dish Society on top of trends, what customers want to see and what’s happening locally, regionally and nationally. She was my first choice. I didn’t want to settle down, so I’m glad it worked.
For his part, Key is looking forward to opening a brand new restaurant for the first time in six years. “It’s one of my favorite processes. It’s sitting at a table, creating the space, and painting an image of something out of nothing. Another new addition to Key is the suburban, family-oriented Memorial District. To serve residents, Lyons and Key envision the Daily Gather as a neighborhood favorite, ideal for a wide range of needs, such as date night, brunch, lunch, or even just small plates and cocktails at the bar.
“A lot of it is about asking, ‘What is classic American cuisine? – that food that can take you back to a time or place and has a lot of nostalgia around it – and take something like oysters on the half-shell, and present them in a language-changing way . An idea she is working on is a guacamole which is different from Tex-Mex standards and incorporates charred peppers and onions.
Also expect time-limited dishes, which reflect the seasons and allow Key to make the most of produce and other ingredients from small farms and local food artisans. The drink list takes a similar approach and will include coffee from the local roaster. Green Lane Café and local beers. The selection of drinks is complemented by wines and house cocktails. Key says drink ingredients such as tinctures, syrups and juices will be determined by seasonality, as will the menu. A “social hour” is definitely in the works.
“You can not only have a Manhattan our way, but you can also have a fun winter cocktail that opens your senses and spices up,” Key said.
Course construction designs the 6000 square foot restaurant. Gin Design Group, who also helped create the most recently opened Dish Society locations, oversees the interior design of Daily Gather. Lyons has stated that while Daily Gather’s appearance will have some commonality with Dish Society, she will have her own distinct personality. “It will be an accessible, unpretentious, open and airy vibe,” Lyons said. “There is a larger dining room, patio and bar. Dish Society isn’t much of a hangout place – unless it’s the ride home and you’re in high school – but [Daily Gather] will be.
At the moment, Lyon is hoping for an opening in November. However, as is the case with many other companies, global supply chain issues can delay this date. “We have all our furniture in a container in the port [of Houston]. There are lights that when we ordered them we had a four to five week lead time, and now it’s 12 weeks. These are chandeliers – the key focal points of the restaurant. Supply chain issues also affect the receipt of bathroom fixtures, tiles, and kitchen equipment.
Lyons’ other big concern now is finding staff in time for the opening. With many workers leaving the industry after the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, having the right staff is a challenge restaurant owners across the country have faced for months. Some of the benefits of Five 12 Restaurant Concepts include ‘Wellness Wednesdays’ at rotating local fitness and wellness facilities, paid time off for all employees, health insurance, a 401 (k ) and potential promotion opportunities. (Lyon is starting to consider opening more restaurants not only in Houston, but also outside of the city.) There are signing and sponsorship bonuses as well.
Daily Gather will offer full service for lunch and dinner every day and brunch on weekends. Self-parking is available at the CityCentre on streets and in garages; Valet parking is also available at CityCentre valet stations.
For more information, visit the Daily Gather website or follow the restaurant on Facebook and Instagram.