There is always something exciting happening in the Houston Heights and, last week, it was true again. Braun Enterprises, the commercial real estate development company in charge of the Heights Waterworks project located at 19th St. and Nicholson, announced that Common Bond Cafe & Bakery signed a lease and is projected to open late this year.
Common Bond will occupy 3,500 square feet and join the growing list of select establishments slated to open including Hopdoddy and Ripe Cuisine. With each addition, the Heights becomes a little more intriguing a place to visit, work and live.
The Waterworks location will be Common Bond Cafe’s second. The first launched in May, 2014, on “the curve” of lower Westheimer in Montrose, and was a success from its first day. Despite a shortage of parking, there are often lines of customers out the door waiting for the chance to consume fresh breads and baked goods, savory fare, and unusual beverages. (The Lavender Latte quickly became a crowd favorite.)
The Montrose location was launched by two partners and a chef, the later of whom had extensive experience working in bakeries throughout Europe. In 2015, the original threesome moved on and sold the business to Johnny Carrabba, owner of Houston’s ever-popular Carrabba’s, and his business partner, George Joseph.
The historic Waterworks project is interesting one. The 2.1-acre site includes three old buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The designation means there are strict regulations designed to maintain the structures’ historic elements and integrity.
There is an old, 750,000-gallon, brick water reservoir building that served the community’s water needs for many years and was constructed in 1928.
An additional Art Deco pumping station built in 1939 occupies the center of the property and will house Common Bond. A third building constructed in 1949 sits next to that.
Braun Enterprises is planning to add a fourth, new building which will host 5,000 square feet of potential retail/restaurant space. In total, the project will offer approximately 14,800 square feet of lease opportunities.
The commercial developer is pleased with the addition of Common Bond to the project. “Johnny Carrabba is one of the best restaurant operators in the city,” stated Zach Wolf, Braun Enterprises’ Director of Leasing. “Common Bond has an incredible product and a large, loyal following. It is a perfect fit in our historic project.”
Carrabba’s company president, Hieu Nguyen, will be responsible for the build-out and operation of the Heights Common Bond Cafe & Bakery. This talented restaurateur is a resident of Garden Oaks and looks forward to serving the community; he knows it well.
“We are early in the design process, and starting first with the kitchen,” Nguyen explained. “We can’t commit to an opening date at this point, or even the seating capacity. It is a historically significant property, so we have to traverse the construction road carefully. We have to protect the beautiful building first.”
The hours of the new location will reflect those of the first one. Common Bond Cafe will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It will also offer beer and wine. On the south side of the structure, a comfortable, welcoming patio will overlook the Heights’ bike path and the green space preserved in the project.
The best part? Unlike the Montrose location, the new Heights Common Bond Cafe will have ample, convenient parking. It’s a good thing too. The faster we can get to those breakfast eggs, fresh-baked breads and heavenly croissants, the better.