Greg Perez, former beverage director and partner at Monkey’s Tail cocktail bar, and Houston restaurant veteran Lyle Bento, former chef / owner of Southern Goods team up to get the front pages published. The duo has formed Night moves hospitality. The new collective, which also includes several former members of the Monkey’s Tail team, plans to open two bar and restaurant concepts in the next few months and is developing two more to be launched later in 2021.
The opening is planned for the end of April Space cowboy, an island-style bar and restaurant in Heights house hotel, the retro modern boutique hotel at 100 West Cavalcade. The food will be inspired by, but add to, Bento’s years in Hawaii Yucatan and Polynesian influences in the mix. For those waiting for the thunder, the tropical cocktail program is led by Samantha Ruiz, who owned the Palace Party Beverage Company before working at Monkey’s Tail; and Karen Cervantes, a Veracruz, Mexico native, who studied hotel management at Houston Community College and is currently doing a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry.
Shortly after the opening of Space Cowboy (in time for the sweet summer time), the team will debut Trash Panda Drinking Club in the former Edison & Patton location 4203 Edison. This bar and restaurant with ample indoor and outdoor seating across from Gerardo’s (Houston’s longtime barbacoa address) serves Bento’s beefed-up interpretations of southern classics and drinks designed by Logan Pollack, who stood behind the Stick at Flying Saucer, Cottonwood and Monkey’s Tail and Matthew McEwan, previously at Calle Onze, Edison & Patton, and Monkey’s Tail.
Chef Lyle Bento. Photo by Julie Soefer.
Bento is a well-known chef to many guests in Houston, having started out at Rainbow Lodge and Stella Sola before joining Feast and Underbelly. In 2015, he opened the popular Southern Goods before it was tragically closed by fire. There he coordinated relief efforts and provided the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston and Beaumont with meals, cleaning products, baby items and meals. After the fire at Southern Goods, Bento returned to Underbelly Hospitality as head chef. In 2018 he became the culinary director of Sambrooks Management Company and helped open 1751 Sea & Bar before abruptly leaving in September 2019.
Perez, an assistant football coach at Houston Baptist University, made a name for himself in Houston’s bar and restaurant scene as the beverage director for Edison & Patton, a now-closed eatery near Northside, and Calle Onze, upscale Heights Texas . Mex restaurant. Then he helped open Monkey’s Tail, a cocktail bar in Lindale Park, where he grew up. Under his leadership, Monkey’s Tail was a Tales of the Cocktail 2020 regional finalist for Best New American Cocktail Bar.
In a statement, Perez said: “It’s a collective effort. I am very happy with the team we have. Lyle is in charge of the food, and the kids do a lot of the work on the drinks side, creating the menus, choosing decor and furnishings, and customizing the concepts to suit their personalities. It’s a talented and hungry group. We will have lots of fun.”
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