Big food in Clear Lake

Um, okay.

When Kevin Munz makes his less than bashful entrance into the restaurant business, Clear Lake may feel a bit more like Las Vegas.

His Cullen’s Upscale American Grille, set to open in January, will be about 38,000 square feet, which is gigantic, about 10 times larger than a typical restaurant.

His lounge will have a fiber-optic floor, a player piano and — far more rare — a player violin.

Cullen’s will boast 56 large LCD screens projecting art by the masters, thousands of images changing every few minutes.

An all-glass private dining room, suspended high in the air, will allow its diners to hover above the masses. They can pre-order their china pattern in their choice of Wedgewood, Versace or the Titanic.

A concept this extravagant could sink like a great ship or rake it in like a casino.

Munz, a River Oaks resident who made his money in pawnshops and the software to run them, is betting $10 million on Cullen’s.

It’s a golden opportunity, he believes, because his research shows the market for upscale restaurants around Clear Lake is underserved. And he’s convinced that the lessons he learned from pawnshops translate to upscale dining.

Could work, I guess. All I know is that if the food isn’t a good value for the price, the rest isn’t likely to matter. We’ll see how it goes.

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3 Responses to Big food in Clear Lake

  1. Justin says:

    A decent restaurant (one hopes) within a decent distance. What’s not to like?

  2. Kent from Waco says:

    Wow, $10 million?

    If he got a typical business loan at say 7% for 15 years he’ll be facing a monthly nut of around $90,000 or around $3,000/night every night of the year. And that’s just the loan service. Add in salaries, utilities, insurance, and all the other business costs and he’ll probably need closer to $6 grand each night to break even. If the typical patron pays $25/head and his food and labor costs average 50% (decent for a high-end restaurant), He’ll be netting around $12/head per diner. That comes out to a break-even point of exactly 500 patrons/night day-in, day-out including Mondays.


  3. Charles Hixon says:

    sounds like a Gilleys with a different client base but with movie rights. Could it too define and mark the end of a culture?

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