Chef Randy Rucker's local fans have been anticipating the debut of his new restaurant project, Conat, that was announced last fall for a Museum Distriction location at 5219 Caroline Street, with a projected opening this spring. But construction delays and other hitches have dragged on for months, and this afternoon Rucker posted an entry to his blog indicating that both the location and his partnership with Balcor are off.
The sometimes mercurial chef sounded positively statesmanlike about the temporary setback. "I’ve been reminded sometimes things in life don’t work out the way you intend. Often, they turn out in the exact opposite way but you keep your eyes on the goal, focus & press on," he wrote.
Given the circumstances, Rucker sounds remarkably upbeat. "It’s unfortunate that restaurant conat will not be opening as planned, however, restaurant conat is not dead," he wrote in his post. "It continues to grow & remains alive & well."
"Sometimes its very difficult to see at first, but i do believe all things happen for a reason," he continued. "In fact, i feel extremely liberated & more inspired than i have felt in a very long time. I’m remaining extremely positive & open to explore new opportunities as they naturally happen. I will continue to search for a location to help give life to restaurant conat & make it a reality. I’m fired up & excited to see what happens next. This has been an extraordinary year for Houston restaurants & i can’t wait to watch it grow & prosper."
Those looking for dirt about the partnership breakup aren't going to find it in Rucker's corner. In an email today he told me, " Balcor Hospitality and Randy Rucker, while going their separate ways, will continue to bring great things to this city, so keep an eye out (or we''ll keep you updated!)."
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that even after three locations have fallen through, two in Tomball and now one in Houston, Rucker will figure out how to put together the restaurant he envisions. He's a unique talent, with a restless curiosity and an uncanny ability to pull together dishes on the fly, as if he were a jazz musician. Well, a jazz musician with a foraging obsession. All he needs now is a stage on which to play. Details as they develop.