Katz’s Deli building on lower Westheimer was originally the old Tela’s Restaurant. The restaurant closed and the building was essentially taken over by the Resolution Trust Organization (RTC) during the S & L crisis in the early 80s and 90s. A new owner purchased the building and then leased it out to a bar owner to renovate the building. Unfortunately, during the construction of the project, the bar owner died, and the building stood vacant with the streets on Westheimer and Crocker blocked with wood framed buttresses holding up the exterior walls on or about 1996. The intent was to preserve the location of the existing façade so as not to have to comply with the setback requirements at the time on Westheimer, which were 25’-0” and Crocker, which was 10’-0”. The neighborhood desperately wanted this eyesore dealt with and the site and building were deferred to the City of Houston Buildings and Standards Commission, where the commission was charged ordering the owner of the property to secure, repair, or tear down the structure. With Katz’s Deli interested in leasing the building, the commission made the decision to allow the owner to repair the building, seeing that Katz’s Deli would be a benefit to the community. We teamed up with Barry Katz to design the new two-story restaurant, reflective of and taking design elements and cues from the original Katz’s Deli in Austin, Texas, a mainstay from the 80s and 90s that was always the end destination after a torrid night on 6th street to get something to eat before heading home. The interior was also Influenced by the eclectic nature of the iconic New York Deli from the mosaic tile floor to the stamped tin ceilings. The stair railing and detailing were inspired by the Pennsylvania Station in New York and the brick pattern around the perimeter emulated the checkered pattern of a yellow checkered cab in New York among many other details.
Client: Katz's Deli
Contractor: Parker Project Management & Construction
Structural Engineer: Matrix
MEP Engineers: Boxx Group