Continued from page 2

Headquartered in Houston, this concept, which combines gourmet comfort food with retail wine sales, opened in 2006. An offshoot of owner Lasco Enterprises’ Tasting Room Wine Cafes, the four-unit operation features combinations such as fried chicken and champagne.

“We tapped into the emerging trend of comfort food,” says Jonathan Horowitz, a partner in Lasco.

Half the menu is more traditional comfort foods, while the other half varies by location. Chefs in each city can shape 50 percent of the menu based on what they want to cook and what demographics dictate. For example, Horowitz says a chef in Austin, Texas might offer farm-to-table selections, while a chef in Houston emphasizes Italian influences, and the one in Dallas puts an Asian spin on his food.