Jeff Axline, former chef of BRC Gastropub, will return to Houston to serve as executive chef of the Brooklyn Athletic Club, a new restaurant opening soon in the former Zimm's Little Deck space on Richmond.
Axline, who left Houston in November 2010 for a job at the Lakeway Resort and Spa in Austin, is making his way back to Houston after the resort was purchased in August. He is rejoining Shepard Ross who is opening Brooklyn Athletic Club. Ross, who co-owns Glass Wall, collaborated with Lance Fegan to open BRC in 2010. Axline helped launch Glass Wall and also worked at the Houstonian before joining BRC as executive chef when it opened.
"I wanted to get back to Houston," Axline said Thursday. "I'm very excited to be getting back with Shepard and being able to rekindle what we had opening Glass Wall and BRC."
The chef shared a few details of Brooklyn Athletic Club, which he said will open end of October or early November. The restaurant will embrace themes of Brooklyn (with its Italian clubs, restaurants and steakhouses) as an ethnic melting pot.
The restaurant will have two dining areas called the Back Yard and the Clubhouse. The Back Yard patio area play off the idea of a back yard grill: burgers, hot dogs, Texas sausages, brochettes and street tacos -- "That back yard Texas feel," Axline said. The patio also will have areas for bocce, badminton and croquet; guests also can order picnic baskets filled with cheeses, meats and bread.
The Clubhouse, the full-service dining component, will offer a daily steak (could be a 32-ounce tomahawk or 24-ounce dry aged New York strip to share), a seafood "catch of the day," pasta and oysters.
"We're not trying to be fine dine dining. Just simple, honest food," Axline said, "with blackboard specials that we can tweak and change every day."
The restaurant will be at 601 Richmond.