How did you get into the food service industry?
About 25 years ago, my parents owned and ran an Italian bakery in the Museum District. I was always at my father’s side, and realized I had a passion and a calling for it. I ended up taking that small bakery to a higher level by adding a catering business. We had clients like Continental Airlines, NASA and Lockheed Martin. My parents ended up closing the bakery, but I continued on with the catering business, which is what I’ve been doing over last 15 to 20 years. And then recently I decided that I wanted to get back into the retail storefront business.
What is your concept for the restaurant?
What I have in mind for this location is, I want to be the neighborhood spot. We’ll be open for breakfast and lunch, and we’ll start off with counter service. We’ll feature a different cuisine each day, so one day will be Italian, one will be Mexican, one will be Southern comfort food. And I’m going to have a deli case that will have some of our dishes to go. We’ll do a lot of farm-to-table, a lot of fresh ingredients.
What will your role be?
I’m really hands on. I’m a main chef, and I have several employees who work with me who have been with me for a long time. But you’re going to see me in the kitchen and at the counter. I’m just really hoping to get to know all the Spring Branch families.
Why did you decide to open the restaurant in Spring Branch?
Oh, I love what Spring Branch is all about. I’ve always catered in that area. I’ve been just so impressed by the support of the Spring Branch Management District, and of all the people who live there. I just thought, “There hasn’t been anything like this in the area for many, many years.” I want it to be a place where a family can stop by and have lunch, or pick up food for dinner. It’s a great area; it’s up-and-coming.
Why did you choose the location on Hollister Street, right off Long Point?
It just holds a lot of memories for me. I love the neighborhoods that surround it, including Spring Valley. And I love the support from the community. I’m considering downsizing and moving to that area myself!
Will you continue to cater after opening the restaurant?
I will. We’re going to do catering out the back door and serve customers through the front door. We’ll also be available for parties.
What makes Spring Branch so special in your eyes?
I love all the development that’s going on. It’s got a perfect location, and I love the energy. There are so many local businesses in the area. It’s just a great community.
Bua’s Bistro and Catering, 1741 Hollister St. 713-783-5169. facebook.com/buasbistro