Brennan's Reopens After Ike

Just one day after the popular Vietnamese restaurant Mai's burned down — another Houston institution shuttered by fire reopens. Brennan's of Houston — one of the city's landmark restaurants — opens tonight after Hurricane Ike closed its doors more than a year ago. Laurie Johnson reports.

The Brennan family opened their Houston restaurant in 1967 in a Midtown building designed by noted Houston architect John Staub.

The restaurant caught fire during Hurricane Ike. Firefighters attempted to put out the fire, but the hurricane
winds and flying debris made it impossible to save the restaurant.

Blair Mathews, Brennan's marketing director, says everyone was in shock.

"Trying to figure out what's the next step. We knew we were going to rebuild and we knew we were going to come back. But the beginning was going through the insurance processes and all of those things — permitting. And that was a long road to rebuild Brennan's, to bring it back to what it was before and maybe a little bit better."

Now 17 months later, the restaurant reopens with more than half of the original employees back on staff.

"It's been — it's been a tough time without having our restaurant open and without having our friends and family dining with us, but we're ready for them to all be back."

Mathews says Houstonians have been the bedrock of support for the restaurant — and although Hurricane Ike tore the city apart, it brought people together.

For more information, visit the Brennan's website.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...