Bradley Ogden’s eponymous restaurant shuts down Aug. 5 at Caesars Palace to make way for a new Gordon Ramsay Gastro Pub, but that doesn’t mean Ogden has been sitting on his laurels. Already he has plans to open three new restaurants in Houston.
“They’re starving for great places to eat there,” Ogden says.
Ogden paved the way for the farm-to-table movement in Las Vegas, even earning the James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant award in 2004 for his restaurant. The chef from San Francisco says that last year, he considered tweaking his restaurant to a steakhouse.
“Caesars told me a year ago,” he says of the impending closure. “It was mutually OK, but I would like to stay. We’ve been here 10 years.”
Ogden is still considering doing another Bradley Ogden concept in Vegas, or one of his more casual restaurants. “Ogden Pub is different from what you’ve seen, but in my style. It’s natural and fresh. It could be a chicken place or a taco joint.”
And in Houston, these more casual concepts could get a foothold first. “These will be branded, quick, casual, farm-to-table restaurants. One that’s really approachable,” says Ogden, who calls them casual, communal, fun dining experiences.
Ogden has three letters of intent on spaces, two across the street from each other five minutes from River Oaks and the other near the new Exxon construction south of The Woodlands. In a matter of two days, they investigated 16 restaurant locations. He plans to work with his son Bryan Ogden, who had been the top toque at Bradley Ogden until 2008.
After Houston, Ogden heads to look at San Diego and Orange County for space. He plans to open a cooking school in the Bay area that has a food curriculum for the students, gardens and a restaurant attached.
He set up a multimedia company with Chris Kelly, Facebook's first general counsel, in San Jose, which already filmed a TV pilot called Real Food With Chef Bradley Ogden. In it, he visits farmers and artisan purveyors, and cooks at home with friends and family.
“This has all been in the works for 25 years,” Ogden says.
On Saturday, Ogden has a private going away bash planned, one last hurrah before the restaurant closes for good.
Diners should stop by before the Aug. 5 to pick up what Alan Richman of GQ Magazine dubbed the best burger of the year in 2009, as well as the twice-baked Maytag blue cheese soufflé, the seared diver scallops, the butterscotch pudding and the bananas Foster cake.
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