Mon - Thu: 5:30pm - 10pm
Fri & Sat: 5:30pm - 11pm
Mon - Fri: 11am - 2pm
Sunday: 11am to 2pm
Mon - Fri: 4pm - 6pm
Please note that our dress code for the Main Dining Room is business casual.
The dress code for our Oyster Bar is casual.
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Chef Mark Holley’s name is above the door, but guests at this new seafood restaurant and oyster bar will soon realize it is not named after him. It is named for family.
The Lancelot Bar is a tip of the hat to his Kentucky-born grandfather, Lancelot Holley. The main dining room is Vivian’s Dining Room, in honor of his mother. The semi-private dining room called Lawrence is named for his father. Mary’s Wine Cellar is a tribute to his stepmother.
And while few don’t know of Chef Holley’s endless creativity and imagination in the kitchen, he is quick to credit the presentations that come to each table as a reflection of his family history, passed down through the generations like old stories and heirlooms. The menu itself finds traces of family heritage where they lived and cooked from the Midwest to the Atlantic coast to the Lowcountry and Deep South.
That heritage gave root to Chef Holley’s grassroots style and pursuit of local flair. It is responsible for the Pan-American and Pan-Asian influences. It has him buying from local farmers and fishermen as much as possible, while still seeking out seafood and other regional ingredients from all coasts – an opportunity to bring to his dining room the myriad of flavors, ingredients and regional specialties that played a part in his formative years as a chef.
The name on the door is just the beginning.
Mark Holley does not enter a room shyly.
Nor, when talking about his passion for food and cooking, does he talk in sound bites.
Like the foods he describes, his new restaurant is less a spontaneous idea than an evolution of a life spent fascinated with food, dining and creativity.
It first took hold in Dayton, Ohio, where he was born and raised, inspired to make a career in food helping both his mother, Vivian, and step-mother, Mary, in the kitchen. As he helped prepare these meals, however, he learned from both how the dishes and ingredients were not simply meals, but a reflection of his family history, passed down through the generations like old stories and heirlooms.
Holley was hooked. While beginning formal culinary schooling in Ohio, he worked as an apprentice at a popular local restaurant. His growing experience led to a passionate interest in classic French cooking and skills – a passion that first brought him to Houston 1983. After working as a Saucier at first the Meridian Hotel and then Four Seasons Inn on the Park, one of the most promising doors in his career quest swung open. Offered a position with the renowned Brennan's of Houston, the young chef began an education in Louisiana and Creole cooking under famed Chef Carl Walker.
Chef Walker, already a culinary star in his own right, saw in Holley the potential for greatness. Soon, Holley was working for the late Jamie Shannon as the Garde Manger and Sous Chef of the internationally-recognized Commander's Palace in New Orleans. Three years later he returned to Houston as Chef Walker's Chef de Cuisine, contributing to many of the accolades Brennan's received. During his tenure, Brennan's became a member of the distinguished restaurants in North America and Holley, along with Chef Walker, participated in the creation of a special dinner at the James Beard House in New York.
In the year 2000, Executive Chef Holley opened a new upscale seafood restaurant called Pesce. In almost no time, he had raised the bar on seafood, and Pesce became the leading seafood restaurant in Houston, garnering media attention and recognition as well as countless awards. No longer in the shadows, Chef Holley was accepting not just the accolades for Pesce, but innumerable ones as a chef.
Ten years later (2012) Pesce was sold and closed, but the now star chef began formulating a plan to open Holley’s Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Bar. The plan becomes reality in the summer of 2014.
And, in the middle of it all is the not-shy, ever-gracious, larger-than-life chef who wants to share it all. Everything about the new dining destination says Mark Holley – and the Holley family - is in the room.
Chef Patti, as she’s known in the kitchen, might be petite in stature, but not in talent. She is skillful and mature beyond her years, and is one of the newest members of the Holley’s culinary team. Born in Santa Ana, El Salvador, she and her family came to the US when she was just six months old. They lived in New York for five years before moving to Houston to live in a warmer climate with space outside for the kids to play. The chef’s grandmother helped her mother raise her and her siblings and was a big part of her life, and taught her that any event in their life and family would always revolve around food.
Alvarez-Burdette attended Culinary Institute LeNotre and graduated top of class with an AAS in Culinary Arts, and was Salutatorian. During a week-long voyage to California to visit wineries from Napa Valley to Sonoma County, Alvarez-Burdette was able to stage at Jardiniere with famous Chef Traci Des Jardins. Following graduation, she was president of the school’s alumni association.
Alvarez-Burdette has worked in many fine kitchens in Houston, including benjy’s on Washington, where Chef Mike Potowski taught her about Japanese culture, discipline, and exposed me to flavors, textures and colors; and Crescent Moon Wine Bar, which she grew from a tapas bar to a full dinner and lunch menu restaurant; and at Killen’s Steakhouse in Pearland, TX, during which time she was granted the opportunity twice to travel to NYC for dinners at the prestigious James Beard House.
After working in The Woodlands for four years, Alvarez-Burdette joined the Holley’s team, where Chef Holley’s celebration of his family’s culinary heritage has inspired her to embrace her culture as well, and touches of it are being added to the menu, such as the pickling program she has implemented.