Popular Energy Corridor eatery reopens after a year of flood recovery
A stone’s throw from Langham Creek, the Energy Corridor’s Café Benedicte got swamped a year ago when the creek became an all-consuming lake following Hurricane Harvey.
Now, after months of daunting challenges, Café Benedicte’s owner Vahid Navissi has reopened his beloved restaurant he founded 10 years ago. From the looks of things – inside Café Benedicte’s stunning reborn interior – it is a comeback worth celebrating.
But first, Navissi had to find the resolve and finances to rebuild, facing a flood-ruined restaurant without the help of flood insurance.
“Finding out I did not have flood insurance, because I thought I did, was a huge slap in the face,” says Navissi. “Trying to work around that and put a deal together to try to come back was challenging. Everybody, including my landlord, was hurt by this flood in a dramatic way.”
Navissi needed help. But then an old friend and longtime customer heard about Café Benedicte’s struggles.
“When he heard that we were having a hard time coming back, he said he was going to help us build it,” Navissi says. “He’s got my back. It’s just one of those great acts that obviously I will work hard to make sure it pays off. And I just feel blessed by it.”
And come back Café Benedicte did. Navissi planned for a soft opening, figuring it would take two to four weeks to get his staff prepped and ready to run a reborn restaurant. “But as soon as word got around that I was open, everybody came,” Navissi explains. Navissi, busy cooking and running the place, lamented not being able to spend time with his customers. It all made for a stressful few weeks, he says, but it also opened his eyes.
“Finding out how much we meant to our immediate community around here was such a humbling fact to learn,” he says.
Now, with his staff and systems firmly in place, Navissi says he looks forward to serving the community for years to come.
The quaint cafe with its Old-World setting dishes up a variety of Mediterranean fares with wine flights and a full bar in its dining room and outside in a casual patio.
The menu spans authentic reflections from Italy, Spain, South of France, Greece and North Africa, along with American favorites such as dry-aged tender beef, fresh seafood, lamb, burgers and salads.
While enjoying Café Benedicte’s Spanish Paella, North African Couscous and Greek Moussaka, diners are regaled with live entertainment on many evenings and during Sunday brunch. A wine room seats 20, and is often booked for baby and bridal showers, corporate events, and wedding rehearsals and receptions. Catering is also available.
But at its core, Navissi strives to present a familiar and welcoming atmosphere that works for business lunches and special occasions alike.
“I’m just so glad to come back and be part of all this again,” he says.
For more about Café Benedicte, visit its Facebook site here.