Former Uchi line prepare dinner opens ReikiNa in CityCentre with artwork gallery, rotating tasting menu

3 decades back, Houston native Thomas Stacy give up his occupation as an operations area manager for Amazon in Seattle with an ambitious five-year strategy: transfer house and open up a restaurant. There was just a single challenge — other than waiting around tables in school, when studying provide chain management at the College of Houston, he’d never ever worked in a kitchen before.

Back in center college, Stacy fell in really like with cooking just after re-making just one of Person Fieri’s Thanksgiving casseroles. He has no formal training. All of his culinary techniques are “homegrown” and self-taught.

However, Stacy scored a line cook gig at Uchi on Westheimer. By spring 2020, an up-and-coming wonderful-dining institution tapped him to develop a new tasting menu working experience in Montrose. Then the COVID-19 pandemic strike, and like a lot of provider industry experts, he faced an unsure foreseeable future.

To cope, Stacy turned to inventive outlets — and begun earning a large amount of pizza. His close friends took see and started nudging him for invitations. “I mentioned, ‘I’m just going to cook for my close friends, make a internet site and see what comes about,’” he recollects. An accidental small business was born.

His pop-up evening meal-party thought caught on like wildfire. Stacy guesses he hosted at least just one group of 8 to 10 friends every 7 days in his 750-sq.-foot apartment between July 2020 and April 2021.

799 Town and Nation Blvd., Suite 200


The intimate, unconventional setting struck a chord. Stacy, now 30, grew to become anything of a just one-man show — he cooked, played piano and swapped out documents from his vinyl assortment during each food. A visual artist, Stacy’s original work framed the dining home partitions.

“My medium is acrylic on canvas or summary,” he states. “I like to paint on the two sides and permit it bleed by.”

A serendipitous assembly on New Years Eve adjusted everything. “A member of the relatives that owns CityCentre and Halfway arrived to supper at my property and presented me a space,” Stacy recalls. His 5-yr approach was coming to fruition, albeit a little forward of routine.

ReikiNa, a mixture of two Japanese terms that imply “divine energy” and a snack paired with sake respectively, opened in Memorial City’s well-known combined-use progress in mid-July. It hovers earlier mentioned an Urban Outfitters, subsequent to RA Sushi. A hand-painted finger pointing upward directs patrons from an al fresco, brick-walled staircase.

The most difficult section about relocating into a 3,500-square-foot professional place was portray the walls, Stacy claims. Covering them proved an easier activity — to replicate his apartment’s aesthetic, he established a rotating gallery showcasing talent from Houston’s art scene. The functions, ranging in price from $800 to $7,000, are for sale and rotate each 6 months to coincide with ReikiNa’s revolving 8-program tasting menu.

“It just built feeling. I realized I wanted to have artwork in there,” Stacy describes. “If the menu is rotating, why shouldn’t the artwork as properly? We have a large wall, and I believed it would be significant to showcase Houston artists.”

Tremendous-dimension canvases link the house in between the restaurant’s dwelling place-styled reception area to a additional official eating setup in the back again. Stephanie Gonzalez, a neo-summary artist, bases each layer of her paintings on a various everyday living encounter. Terry Suprean mixes his personal paint with liquid polymers, crushed mica and artificial ruby to generate a exceptional riff on landscapes. Alex Larsen makes sculptures making use of supplies sourced from design websites.

“We also commissioned Alex to make tables for our café,” Stacy suggests, hinting at an à la carte, outside venture slated for afterwards this year. “These tables nod to a standard French bistro but have a private twist from the artist.”

As expected, Stacy has been very hands on in phrases of décor, far too. He created the bar counter and sole eating desk from reclaimed wooden.

At utmost potential, ReikiNa can at the moment accommodate 20 patrons. When the restaurant very first opened 4 weeks ago, reservations were booked solid, but they have because dropped off in correlation with the latest spike in COVID-19 circumstances.

“As of early previous week, (people) stopped coming in and commenced canceling,” Stacy states. “With the delta variant, we’re going to make The Café at ReikiNa à la carte so we never have to seat 20 persons following to every other communal-model.”

For now, the eight-study course tastings run $150 for every person wine pairings are accessible for $89. Diners with Texas-size appetites can get a particular post-dessert burger for an more $7.95.

Every single food begins with a meditation and usually ends with Stacy on the piano or spinning vinyl on his classic document participant. Although one of these times, he’s hoping to conclusion the evening pulling artwork off the wall for a sale shut above meal.

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