Houston based real estate developer Haidar Barbouti is responsible for developing posh areas like the Highland Village shopping center. When he was looking for a new tenant he did not want yet another unimaginative tapas bar crowding his real estate. In fact, when he could not find the ideal tenant, his passion for good food led him to opening the airy restaurant Up.
Aptly named, Up is a restaurant that overlooks the Galleria area from the third story of the shopping complex. On days when the weather allows the windows are kept open to let fresh, open air circulate through the dining area.
Barbouti insisted that Up serve real food in real portion sizes with fresh ingredients. He did not want the upper crust clientele to be paying to look at a plate that was artfully designed or painted with a vinaigrette based dressing. Barbouti points out that much of trendy dining is a sham when customers are served a few morsels strategically placed on a plate. He did not want his patrons to leave the restaurant famished to the point that that they would succumb to visiting a fast food drive thru afterwards. Instead Barbouti had a idea that turned the foodie world upside down, he wanted people to eat portions that would leave them full.
Recalling that the best food was always the food that your grandmother made, food that was real and made with love, Barbouti set out to fill a tall order. He insisted that Up make everything fresh, with the only exception being the ketchup. Originally Up even made fresh ketchup, but people kept asking for Heinz, so Barbouti gave the people what they wanted. To this day, Barbouti always eats at his restaurant when he is in Houston, because he wants to be fully aware of what his restaurant is serving. Once he found two jars of pre peeled garlic and tossed them out, demanding to know who had ordered the peeled garlic. He reminded the kitchen staff that only fresh garlic was to be used in Up’s dishes.
Haidar Barbouti is passionate about food and developing real estate. His efforts have yielded areas that are flourishing and the most sought after shopping, cultural and dining experiences in Houston. Much of Barbouti’s success is attributed to knowing what his clientele wants and making sure that their desires are met. Haidar Barbouti has served the Houston area for over twenty years; his longevity in the Houston market stems from knowing what makes his clients happy.