HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- White Elm Cafe Bakery, a west Harris County eatery founded by a group from the local restaurant community, was supposed to open in the first part of 2020.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans.
"White Elm was about a year in the making," said Tasos Katsaounis, who is also the founder of Bread Man Baking. "Of course, COVID happened, and that had a severe delay on everything."
The restaurant, located at 14079 Memorial Drive, finally had its full grand opening this week. In addition to Katsaounis, the other partners include Chico Ramirez and Scott and Stacy Simpson.
"The concept came about, mainly from Chico, just wanting to bring the community something a little more upscale," said Stacy. "Comfort food with a French-Mediterranean twist."
One of the biggest challenges of opening was manpower. Construction crews were short handed due to the virus, as were individuals looking for employment in the food and beverage industry.
"We're running fairly lean," said Katsaounis.
The restaurant, which is currently open at 50 percent capacity, is frequently cleaned, requires employees to wear a mask, and uses a menu that guests access on their personal electronic devices.
"No one is sitting too close to each other," said customer Ariel Schneider. "There's a great patio here and there's no concerns."
And, despite the tough circumstances of opening a restaurant during a pandemic, everyone is hopeful White Elm Cafe Bakery will become a staple in west Harris County.
"I think we have the right formula to provide them with what this community needs," said Katsaounis.
Visit WhiteElmBakery.com for more information on White Elm Cafe Bakery.
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