Hometown Friday - Chapman & Kirby Bar + Kitchen

- While there are some established neighborhood places for entertainment in EaDo, there is room for more and more are coming. In a district of, often empty buildings sitting in the shadow of downtown, the EaDo identity is being marketed aggressively as an entertainment destination.

"We've been predicting for a while now that EaDo is kind of the next up and coming hotspot," says Bien Tran. He and his business partners are first up in a new wave of restaurants and bars tucked alongside the downtown Houston sports venues and the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Tran's Chapman & Kirby gastropub is still a couple of weeks from its projected opening while work crews hustle to make some finishing touches.

"Our idea has always been to create something that's upscale," says Tran, who adds that he was approached more than year ago by developers of a multi-block entertainment project called East Village. That group of developers wanted someone with a track record of opening popular splashy places to set the tone.

Inside the property, customers can expect an industrial chic vibe that's reminiscent of some of Tran's other popular projects but is perfectly home in EaDo.

"We wanted to build out a place that kind of reflected the burgeoning neighborhood and at the same time, keep some of the edginess and uniqueness of EaDo," explains Tran.

Before the furniture and drapery arrives, the raw steel and vintage-look lighting set a tone that mirrors the neighborhood's history with room for dining, drinking and private parties.

While he fields frequent calls from would-be customers eager to see and enjoy the new place, Tran says he balances his time between the immediate needs of opening the doors and the future. In the next year, there are plans for a lot more bars and restaurants to join the neighborhood. Together, Tran hopes for a long run of success.

"We've done venues before where when you first open, you're absolutely slam-packed and we hope to have that success again, however, what we want to do is become part of the neighborhood."

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