We had the good fortune of connecting with Jan-Mitchell Avilés and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jan-Mitchell, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Ensemble HTX began like most great ideas – dreaming amongst friends and family at a dinner table. It was always a dream of mine to open up a coffee shop in Paris that would be open in the mornings, and at night would host private dinners. One day, sharing the story with family and friends, I was challenged to start it here in Houston. That was the moment I decided to launch Ensemble HTX. Our focus at Ensemble is connecting people. Today, we are all in such need of community, and our heart as a business is to allow people to find community while enjoying a carefully curated dinner.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Ensemble HTX is all about creating a unique dining experience. Going out to eat today seems more of a burden than a treat. Imagine this: you get off work and you decide to take your significant other to a nice spontaneous dinner. You get to the restaurant and you have to wait 30 minutes for a table. You finally sit down and your waiter is having a bad day and is now projecting it on you. Your utensils are dirty. Your food takes too long to come to the table. You then are rushed out of your dining experience because more people need to sit down. You leave drained, bothered, and questioning, “Why did I even go out?” or saying things like “We should have stayed in.” As a diner, I was tired of this and decided to take matters into my own hands. At Ensemble we have decided to hire the best people in order for you to have the best experience. We want our guests to understand that the night is theirs. Once you make your reservation and have a seat at the table, the table is yours for the night. Your experience will begin with complimentary valet, followed by a warm welcome from our friendly host. You will enjoy live music from local musicians and service from a waiter with expertise in fine dining for the rest of the night. You will embark on a multi-course culinary journey that has been curated for the evening. Our goal is to allow people to enjoy going out to eat again, and to know that their time is valuable to us.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Houston is such an incredible city full of art, food, and culture. If I were to have a friend come visit for a week, I can assure you that they would definitely move to Houston. Where to go in Houston? Indian: Aga’s, Pondicheri. Italian: Paulie’s, Coltivare. Thai: Asia Market Thai Lao, Rim Tanon. Chinese: Mala Sichuan (Bellaire). New American: Nancy’s Hustle, Theodore Rex. Brunch: Sixty Vines, Tiny’s. Steakhouse: B&B Butcher’s, Steak 48. Happy Hour: Savoir, Postino. Mediterranean: Helen’s. Dessert: Tiny’s Milk and Cookies, Amy’s, Rise. Tacos: Tacos Tec. Mexican: Cuchara, 100% Taquito. Drinks: Bad News Bar, Boheme, Lightyears, Lei Low, Pastry War. Coffee: Catalina, Forth and Nomad, Giant Leap, Tenfold. Hangouts: Menil, any museum on a Thursday is free, and James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are a couple of people that have challenged me to take risks and to pursue the right things. First off, you have my incredible fiancée, Jessica Wall (soon to be Avilés.) She has inspired me to dream in ways unimaginable and to leave a mark in this city. I also need to thank my mother and my father for challenging me and helping me develop the idea of what Ensemble HTX is today. And last but not least, the couple that challenged me to launch this here in Houston, Andy and Morgan Sommer. If you have been able to enjoy an Ensemble experience here in Houston, you owe it to them. Also they have an incredible shop here in Houston called Forth and Nomad that you definitely need to check out.
Other: You can make reservations to Ensemble HTX through our website or Open Table.
Ivan Cortez @ivanc.14 Jose Rodriguez @myeyesadjust