Guard and Grace Steakhouse
Guard and Grace is downtown Houston’s newest steakhouse. The restaurant creates new flagship energy at Brookfield Properties’ 3.2M square foot Allen Center that speaks to the neighborhood, and connects the dots between context, community, history, geography, food, ingredients, attitude, and design. It embraces the recently completed plaza garden of One Allen Center, bringing the outdoors inside through 30-foot glass walls and a raised dining terrace. We are proud to be part of such a valuable new venue for the City of Houston.
Brookfield Properties scoured the country to find a restaurant operator to be the cornerstone of the renovated One Allen Center. They returned to Troy Guard, who successfully operates Guard and Grace in Denver in another downtown Brookfield high rise. They signed the lease in February 2018, and construction commenced in April 2019 with an opening in November 2019. BOSS Architecture was retained as the designer and O’Donnell Snyder the Contractor.
The project takes two floors of the One Allen Center office tower in Houston. The restaurant is 15,000 square feet, with three bars and four private dining rooms. Rich walnut and bronze accents contrast with the existing exposed concrete columns holding the office tower above. The Allen Center and immediate area has traditionally been a daytime office use, with nighttime options limited. Guard and Grace brings a modern steakhouse restaurant to this part of Downtown that revitalizes the area, making it a must-do for Houstonians.
4Site Advisors managed this complex project to ensure each element went as planned. As mentioned, a distinguishing feature of the project is the collection of nearly 5,000 suspended rods providing a bronze glow beaconing across Smith Street. The open kitchen design- unique in Houston- allows diners to fully experience the food theater Guard & Grace is celebrated for. The sinuous concrete wall wrapping the dining room references the adjacent outdoor terrace with built-in booths providing diners a cozy respite from the city outside.
The restaurant features high efficiency HVAC, with an innovative air-floor system that brings cooling under the floor to the window curtain wall. The lighting is all LED, with automated controls and wireless technology, allowing automatic settings or phone-based settings for different times of day. These features reduce the electrical demands on the building and improve the customer experience.
No project is complete without some obstacles. While the dual wood fired grills provided delicacies for the restaurant, they required the installation of multiple “scrubbers” to limit the smoke and smell outside where office tenants spend their lunch hours. The startup required quite a few challenges to ensure the units were operating and the tenants satisfied. Communication with Brookfield and the thousands of daytime workers was essential while the fires were initially started. You might say time was spent putting out fires as they were lit!
That wasn’t the only challenge. Perhaps the biggest test was the fabrication and suspension of nearly 5,000 bronze rods- 18’ long- that required close coordination between the supply chain and design team. The solution was a unique slotted system to ensure they remained secure and straight but could be pulled down safely for cleaning.
Guard and Grace is a sleek new landmark restaurant in downtown Houston, propelling the neighborhood forward with the potential to bring in more new concepts. This project invigorates the area and delivers an enticing dining experience. We were thrilled to be a part of the development team and appreciate the trust Tag Restaurant Group and Brookfield Properties put in 4Site Advisors to manage the development of such a fabulous project.