James Beard Award nominee turns acclaimed Houston restaurant into grocery store in wake of coronavirus closures

HOUSTON – A James Beard Award nominated chef is reinventing his north Houston restaurant into a grocery store in the aftermath of closures due to coronavirus.

In 2018, Jonny Rhodes opened Restaurant Indigo in the Trinity Gardens neighborhood where he grew up.

Within just two years, the restaurant has earned national acclaim for its tasting menu, "neo-soul food" served with a history lessons from the chef on systematic oppression.

"It's been a great two years," Rhodes said.

When Harris County issued the “stay home, work safe” order, shutting down restaurants except for drive-through, pick-up or delivery, Rhodes had to rush plans for a grocery store that was already in the works.

"The grocery store was actually going to be opening up this fall anyway, so we're just way ahead of schedule, kind of a forced open, doing it in this space when we didn't originally plan to," he said.

On Wednesday, he is the proprietor of Broham Fine Soul Food and Groceries, selling locally-sourced seafood and meats, produce, freshly baked bread and specialty condiments once served at Indigo.

So far, Rhodes said the shoppers are largely comprised of past customers of the restaurant and those who have heard of the Indigo, but couldn’t afford the $125 price tag, eager to try the unique, home-grown items.

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