James Harden, the NBA All-Star known for his dynamic career, has witnessed change once again, and this time it’s not on the basketball court but in his Midtown restaurant, Thirteen. Since the Rockets traded Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in 2021, the renowned restaurant has undergone a quiet closure since October. However, the eatery is preparing for a grand reopening in February, featuring significant changes that include a new chef, general manager, menu, and updated interior.
The decision to bring about these changes was made by James Harden and Thirteen COO John Ricks, who handpicked the new additions to the team – general manager Sean Knight and chef Siddartha Cadena, as per a representative.
According to a statement, Harden has been eager to introduce something fresh and innovative to the city. His extensive travels have allowed him to taste and experience diverse culinary offerings from various countries and cultures. This experience has fueled the desire to step beyond the conventional steakhouse concept and explore culinary innovation at Thirteen.
In response to CultureMap’s inquiry, general manager Sean Knight shared insights into the decision-making process, stating, “James has been wanting to bring something fresh and new to the city. He has been traveling a lot and has been able to taste and experience food from different countries and multiple cultures within the same country. This brought about the idea to get out of the steakhouse box and really push the envelope on innovation in the kitchen at Thirteen.”
Chef Siddartha Cadena, a Texas native with an impressive culinary background, will be introducing a menu that seamlessly blends Japanese and American influences. The specific dishes will be unveiled closer to the reopening date.
Cadena’s culinary journey includes working as a line chef at one of Joel Robuchon’s restaurants in Paris, serving as a group chef for The Apartment in Shanghai for eight years, and contributing two years to Gaggand Anand, the Bangkok restaurant currently ranked 17th in the world by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. The aim of these changes is not just to revamp Thirteen but to position it for potential expansion to other cities.
“The idea is to create something very unique for Houston that can easily travel across state lines and expand in the future,” explained Knight. “He brought in a team that has experience in this type of hospitality and restaurant style.”
Joining the team is the new general manager, Sean Knight, who brings a wealth of experience from notable establishments like Vic & Anthony’s, Steak 48, and Pappas Bros. Steakhouse. Knight’s recent role as operations manager for ALife Hospitality, the local group behind Bungalow Downtown Dining, FRNDS Restaurant & Lounge, Kamp, and others, has equipped him with valuable expertise.
The redesign of Thirteen’s dining room has been entrusted to Adel Sadek, co-founder of Houston’s Studio Five Design. Sadek, with experience from Ciel and Albi, has revamped Thirteen’s ambiance with new lighting, decor, and furniture, as illustrated in the rendering.
“Absolutely everything is new, from the fixtures to the flatware,” Knight emphasized. “The entire new team at Thirteen couldn’t be more excited to present Houston with a fresh, completely reimagined dining experience filled with international flavors and the finest hospitality, in a warm, artistic new ambiance.” Thirteen is gearing up for a grand reopening that promises to redefine the culinary landscape in Houston.