Speak Quietly…

On March 15th, 2017, which will be our restaurant’s 5th birthday, Oxheart, will serve its last meal.

Oddly enough, the decision wasn’t too hard to make.

Over the last five years, Oxheart has given me so much more than I could have ever fathomed. In 2012, all I wanted to do was to cook my little itty bitty heart out. It didn’t matter how it happened, if it included destroying everything in my path, (which in many ways, I did) or if it was a rousing success from the start. The whole project was incredibly narcissistic even though I had convinced myself that all I wanted to do was be a do-gooder. I was young, I was pretty ambitious, and I was a lot more dumb (to be clear, I’m still not that smart). We scraped everything together, and as I plowed through everything with too much excitement, Karen kept us organized and focused on the straight and narrow. Eating at Oxheart early on was like bouncing from wall-to-wall. I remember it as a crazy time.

Somehow, despite my best efforts to really screw up the situation, it mostly worked out alright. As tough as the hours were both physically and mentally (listen, I’m not in good shape, okay?), no matter how many days and nights I spent making excuses to stay away from my friends and family, as much as I’ve been unnecessarily obsessed about that place, I can look back with a warm smile. I did mostly what I set out to do, and I did it with the most amazing, passionate people I have ever met. We reached goals beyond what we could ever have imagined. I can’t count how many times the team carried me on their shoulders and took me to something resembling a finish line, with grace, humility, and also whatever it was inside of them to swiftly maneuver their way out of my many bad ideas. Karen, in particular, kept the place together, especially when the weight of the world was soundly defeating me. In the end, because of all these fantastic people, we set out to do, quietly, efficiently, beautifully, and without having to compromise what our initial goals were.

I am probably the luckiest motherfucker alive.

So what now?

I want to be ahead of our own curve. I know regardless of what previous successes we’ve had, we can’t sit here and expect success with the same formula. I’ve never had a child (although now I have a dog. His name is Elliott), but I can imagine the similarities. They’re both living, breathing things with personalities of their own. Oxheart has changed; and, importantly, I have new goals and challenges I’d like to take on. So, as lucky as we’ve been to have survived more than the first 6 months of opening, I want to make a change.

I want to make an even better restaurant.

I remember someone describing Karen and I cobbling together Oxheart as if we were outfitting our first college dorm room. I still can’t believe we pulled it together, strung on not much more than a wing and a prayer. But, I’d like for us to refine our edges. I want to make our kitchen less awkward to work in, our dining room more comfortable and beautiful, and our food more indicative of our personality. I know at times, regardless of what I convinced myself, I cooked food out of the ordinary for the sake of being out of the ordinary. The food at Oxheart has changed dramatically since we opened and a lot of it doesn’t necessarily fit in a tasting menu.

Most importantly, I’d like to finally get over myself and trust someone else to run the kitchen.

Jason White has been with our kitchen on and off for about four of the almost  five years we’ve been open. He’s talented, hilarious, a great leader, a great cook, and will be the Chef de Cuisine of the new restaurant. While you’ll still see me over at Nance Street on a regular basis, I’m very excited to see how he’ll direct our staff to new and higher heights.

I’ll be sad to close this chapter of our lives, but I’m excited to share with you another experience. It’ll be filled with fun, with excitement.

And with heart.

About Justin

We cook, and bake at Oxheart Restaurant in Houston, TX. www.oxhearthouston.com
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1 Response to Speak Quietly…

  1. Pingback: Justin Yu Was Tired of Cooking Unusual Food Just to Be Unusual – Upper-Class Magazine

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