On any given day, when you walk through the doors of the Breakfast Klub in Houston, you are likely to see its owner, Marcus Davis, running a yard with a few of his regular customers or newbies from out of town.
More than anything else, Davis loves people, and he especially enjoys engaging them in good political debate or telling them stories of the early days when he opened his first restaurant at just 30 years old.
After 20 years in business, The Breakfast Klub is not just a landmark in Houston’s Midtown neighborhood; it is a staple of the community and an item on the bucket list to be crossed off by visitors to Bayou town. It is both an art gallery where black artists can exhibit their products; a safe space where community leaders and politicians can work together; and a refuge for a weary soul in search of a good meal.
It’s not uncommon these days to see chicken and waffles or catfish and oatmeal on a breakfast menu, but in 2001 when Davis opened The Breakfast Klub, the idea of a Independent restaurateur serving breakfast all day was relatively new. Davis says the Breakfast Klub has helped lay the groundwork for similar restaurant concepts in other cities.
“In fact, people thank me for inspiring them to open their own restaurants. Now you can go to places like Atlanta or DC and see our influence there, ”Davis said.
So what’s The Breakfast Klub’s secret sauce to longevity? Surprisingly, it has less to do with food and more to do with business.
“Some people think that because they know how to cook well, they should open a restaurant, but if you don’t know how to run a restaurant as a business, you could set yourself up for failure. There is so much more to do than create foods that taste great, ”said Davis.
Davis and his wife Mel also believe in diversifying their offerings. In addition to the restaurant menu, The Breakfast Klub also offers its own brand of products that guests can use at home, including premium coffee, fish fries, chicken coating, seasonings and a pancake mix. and waffles.
The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the restaurant industry to the point where many are struggling to stay afloat, and many have had to shut their doors completely. While other restaurants scramble to find employees willing to report to work, the staff at Breakfast Klub see their work as a sign of honor and pride.
“We don’t tend to have a high turnover rate because people really enjoy working here. Our staff are like family, and like any family, some personalities can clash from time to time, but ultimately it’s all love, ”said Davis.
This family atmosphere is not limited to employees alone. Every customer is treated like an old friend, regardless of their pedigree. It is true that many prominent people who come to town stop at Breakfast Klub, namely the Hip Hop icons. Run DMC, and even Queen B herself, Beyonce.
If you think The Breakfast Klub is just a restaurant serving oatmeal and eggs all day, then you’ve missed the real experience of what it means to be inside a place that has stood the test of time. for two decades amid massive construction, gentrification, one of the most destructive hurricanes in history (Hurricane Harvey) and a global pandemic.
The restaurant industry can be overwhelming, especially in a city where people have literally tens of thousands of choices of places to eat each day. The changing tastes of Houstonians can lead to a business opening and closing in just a year or two, so retaining customers for two decades is no small feat.
“The beautiful thing about being in business for 20 years is that I love it even more today than when we started. It’s like marriage. It’s getting through the good guys. and the bad times and come out stronger that pays off, ”Davis said.
Real fashion, Davis launched the 20 from The Breakfast Klube anniversary with a nod to the community that made him a sort of celebrity in his city and made the Breakfast Klub a recognizable name across the country. Its Day of Inspiration community festival brought together motivational speakers, musical acts, spoken word performances, and visual artists, all to uplift the people of Houston.
“As a city, we’ve been through a lot in recent years, as have a lot of other cities across the country, so if there’s anything I can do to put a smile on the face of the people who have supported us at the over the years, I am happy to do so.