Flora & Muse to Introduce Houston and its Bustling CITYCENTRE Environs to a Multifaceted and Multisensory Bistro Concept

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Highly-anticipated new food and beverage venue on Houston's west side to merge fast-casual and full-service dining, plus unexpected elements including floral shop and patisserie when it debuts in August. Acclaimed chef David Luna, fomerly of nationally recognized Shade and Canopy restaurants to oversee culinary direction. One of three major restaurant-related openings in the next month in $500-million, 37-acre mixed-use CITYCENTRE district.

Houston’s $500-million, 37-acre mixed-use district, CITYCENTRE, continues to bloom with the anticipated mid-August opening of its newest landmark, Flora & Muse, on Town & Country Boulevard, the area’s primary, pedestrian friendly thoroughfare. A new concept for the city, Flora & Muse represents a multifaceted bistro with both fast casual and full service dining and lounging options. Envisioned to serve as a gathering place that would appeal to the various needs and tastes of businesses, hotel guests and residents in and around the district, as well as a destination for visitors – including many European, Latin American and Asian travelers drawn to the Energy Corridor –Flora & Muse will offer continuous food and beverage service from morning until late evening in a whimsical, neo-Victorian setting encompassing numerous indoor and alfresco seating vignettes.

The venue will merge more traditional restaurant and bar elements and offerings with a fresh flower stand – all available for sale, floral arrangements will serve as a key design element throughout – barista-style coffee counter, patisserie, wood-burning baking oven and proper afternoon tea service. With the goal of creating an entirely memorable experience, Turkish-born and Houston-based entrepreneur, Hayri Gurbuz, a veteran hotelier, and his American and European based partners, including Turkish film star Basak Koklukay, sought out the talents of Collaborative Design who oversaw construction; Martin Miles, president of Casino Food & Beverage Solutions and former VP of food and beverage for Harrah’s and Norwegian Cruise Lines; architect Ted Heesch with the venerable architecture firm Mitchell Carlson Stone, Inc.; and award-winning Houston designer Laura Umansky of Laura U Collection. Soon to be unveiled, the resulting interiors will prove true to Flora & Muse’s mission to offer a timeless, inviting and stylish multisensory environment to its patrons.

Architect Heesch, oversaw the structural design aspects of Flora & Muse and have delivered a truly versatile space, encompassing three primary areas further broken down by function. Of Flora & Muse’s almost 6,000 total square feet, 1,200 are dedicated to a patio, providing a chic, sidewalk café ambiance that takes advantage of a shaded building break and existing walkway with bamboo plantings and water feature, which is now intended to serve as a backdrop for acoustical performances. The expansive terrace with wide awning will help to emphasize visibility from the inside toward outside, and vice versa, making it a prime venue for people watching. From the street, guests can enter Flora & Muse into one of two indoor areas that merge at the rear. The patisserie side incorporates recessed walls, a natural stone oven, flower shop, fruit stand, small library and a performance corner. It is flanked with large glass cases that will be filled with fresh pastries and fruit, creating a small marketplace within the restaurant as a whole.

The second entrance opens to the more formal dining area and lounge, punctuated by a dramatic bar with repeated curve. The space not only opens to the patio through French doors, but creates a bridge to the outdoors with the bar servicing guests on both sides. In one corner, a private event room with flat screen can be cordoned off via divider, creating the perfect place for small gatherings like luncheons, meetings and birthdays.

The designers at Laura U Collection have combined new furnishings with vintage and found pieces, as well as repurposed vintage decorative items to achieve a lush and light look. The agenda focused on conveying an older, bygone era, while being suitably functional and relevant in today’s world. Vintage settees have been recovered with updated fabrics; period-piece frames envelope modernized versions of antique art and booths; and banquettes, patterned after classic Victorian, tufted sofas, are sturdy enough for restaurant use, while giving the impression customers are sitting on regular furniture. The chairs throughout the dining area have been intentionally mismatched, and the tables vary from custom made pieces to a selection found at various antique stores, creating an eclectic but comfortable collection.

Crystal chandeliers and sconces, ornate table lamps and several different wallpaper patterns achieve fanciful focal points meant to carry patrons into another time. Specialty crown molding, trim and wall treatments enhance the effect, including a wall covered with tufted upholstery that adds texture to the room while aiding acoustics. In addition, the ceiling sports a custom stenciled vine pattern that curls around a cluster of four large chandeliers, playfully drawing patrons’ eyes up and around all corners of the space.

There are many thoughtful multifunctional aspects of Flora & Muse’s design, beginning with a curtain that serves as a backdrop for the performance space that can easily transition to act as a divider for the private dining area. Two large custom-made carts, designed to look at home in an old-fashioned marketplace, will carry books and fresh cut flowers. Both carts are meant to be decorative additions, but their contents will be for sale daily.

In addition to sweets and fresh fruit from the patisserie, plus a variety of coffee and tea options, Flora & Muse’s menu – under the direction of executive chef David Luna, formerly of Houston’s acclaimed and nationally recognized Shade and Canopy restaurants – showcases European cuisine with American flair, while offering a handful of twists, plus more hearty and exotic options like steak au poivre and traditional Turkish Pide pie. A variety of signature breakfast and snack trays, rife with fruit, cheeses, meats, freshly baked flatbreads and sandwiches, are perfect for sharing with friends over coffee and wine, or for picking up for a lunch meeting or cocktail party elsewhere. Flora & Muse will host a full tea service every afternoon, as well. Takeout with an online ordering option will be available, as will limited-radius delivery.

Located at 12860 Queensbury Lane, Flora and Muse opens daily starting at 7 am for breakfast, lunch and dinner until midnight. A brunch menu is available on Sunday. For more information, visit http://www.floraandmuse.com.

Developed by Midway Companies, CITYCENTRE is a thoughtfully planned and meticulously executed self-contained community of sophisticated retail, elegant dining, Class-A office space, 22 corporate penthouse residences, luxurious brownstones and lofts, upscale apartments and the 244-room Hotel Sorella, a world-class hospitality and conference facility. Surrounded by European-style open-air plazas and beautifully designed green spaces, CITYCENTRE is also home to Life Time Athletic, a state-of-the-art urban fitness facility and spa, and Studio Movie Grill, a nine-screen premier cinema. For more information, please visit http://www.citycentrehouston.com. For more information about Midway Companies, please visit http://www.midwaycompanies.com.

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Katherine Orellana
Studio Communications
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