Keller’s restaurant scene is about to get a colorful personality who’s known for his colorful mohawk.
Stefon Rishel, who left Max’s Wine Dive Fort Worth early this year to take a short-lived gig at the renovated 51Fifteen Cuisine & Cocktails at Sak's Fifth Avenue in Houston's Galleria mall, will become the new executive chef and general manager at Texas Bleu Steakhouse in Old Town Keller, the restaurant’s co-owner, Cary Moon, confirmed.
It’s a homecoming of sorts for Rishel, who is a Keller High School alum.
“It’s kind of neat to be able to bring someone back to their hometown,” Moon said in a brief phone conversation, adding with a bit of a chuckle, “I knew all the stuff he does, and all his awards and stuff, but I never knew that he was from Keller.”
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Rishel, who is expected to start working at the restaurant as early as next week, replaces charter executive chef Erin Miller, who posted on Facebook last week that she was “announcing her separation” from the restaurant after 13 months. Miller’s post cited numerous honors received by the just-over-a-year-old restaurant, which readers of the Star-Telegram’s K Magazine and The Keller Citizen recenty voted Best Restaurant When Craving Steak (Miller was the subject of K Magazine’s first cover story).
But Miller also said in her post: “Unfortunately, with great success, comes prideful egos. Egos that had a plan that did not involve my craft or my profession.”
Moon says that as general manager as well as executive chef, Rishel will have creative control at the restaurant. At Max’s, he worked for a small chain that had a chain-wide menu but also gave chefs leeway to create their own dishes and put their own stamps on their locations. His background also includes Sisu Uptown in Dallas.
These are busy days for Rishel, who won Fort Worth, Texas magazine’s “Top Chef” competition in 2015. His wife, Briana, gave birth to a baby girl less than three weeks ago. And he will be the chef for the second in the “Sunday Supper” series at Proper, a cocktail bar on West Magnolia Avenue in Fort Worth. The Sunday Supper will take place Nov. 13.
Moon, who also owns Keller Tavern and is a Fort Worth City Councilman, has other plans for Keller, including a small seafood restaurant where Rishel will also be involved, and an upscale Mexican restaurant, both of which will be in the Old Town area just south of the intersection of Main Street (U.S. 377) and Keller Parkway. Moon says that Life is Sweet will also open a bakery there.
The area has seen its share of turnover this year, with the recent closure of popular burgers-and-bikers spot Bronson Rock Burgers & Beer and the closure earlier this year of Feedstore BBQ. Burleson-based Roscoe’s Smokehouse is expected to open a second location in the old Feedstore spot soon (the original Feedstore location in Southlake remains open).