LOCAL Houston | The City Guide December 2016 - Page 23

FOOD | ARTS | COMMUNITY | STYLE+LEISURE JOHNNY CARRABBA CARRABBA'S–MIA'S–GRACE'S–COMMON BOND Beloved native Houstonian JOHNNY CARRABBA III was raised in his parent’s family-owned grocery store, Carrabba’s Friendly Grocery, and attended St. Thomas High School. In 1986, Johnny opened The Original Carrabba’s on Kirby Drive, with a second location opening on South Voss Road in 1988. In 1993, Outback Steakhouse created a joint venture partnership, subsequently opening over 250 Carrabba’s Italian Grill Restaurants nationwide. Johnny and his family continue to own and operate the two original Carrabba’s locations, plus Mia’s, Grace’s and Common Bond Bakery. What’s cooking with Johnny? You can read all about it in his new book, “With Gratitude, Johnny Carrabba.” In the meantime, here’s the short version: Favorite late night spot for a bite? Whataburger. Best breakfast? Kenny & Ziggy’s. What ingredient can you not live without in the kitchen and why? SALT…because I grab it all the time and it brings food to the edge! What utensil can you not live without? My Grandma Mandola’s wooden spatula! Favorite affordable wine? Terlan Pinot Grigio. Favorite place for dessert? Common Bond. Who are your favorite chef, restaurant and dish? Mark Cox–I like all of his food! He does it right! Is there a food you won't eat? Cucumbers. What do you see as the next food trend? It’s going back to old school comfort food. Most people will think it’s a trend. At home, what do you keep on hand to serve drop-in guests? Caponata (eggplant relish) served with garlic toast. What would be your last meal? Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and buttered peas. Photography by Carl Fehres december 16 | L O C A L 23