Currently, Houston only has one location of Common Bond, but the bakery could add as many as five new locations in the next 12 months, owner George Joseph tells CultureMap.
Joseph, who purchased the Montrose bakery in 2016, recently came to a cordial end of his partnership with local restaurateur Johnny Carrabba.
“Obviously now [Carrabba is] trying to grow Mia’s, and I want to open a bunch of Common Bonds,” Joseph says. “We decided to go our different ways, but it was a great relationship, a great three years together. I think we’ve done some great things.”
Those great things started with small items like adding a parking lot and being open every day. Chefs Matthew Baum and Rakesh Nayak and cake baker Sarah Ono Jones have expanded the cafe’s offerings with dinner service, special occasion cakes, and more. Most importantly, the addition of a commissary has made the Montrose bakery more functional — it no longer runs out of croissants at 2 pm — and will allow Common Bond to add new locations in the Medical Center, The Heights, and Midtown with the possibilities of downtown and Springwoods Village, too.
“Our sales keep growing,” Joseph says. “We were up 11-percent from last January. That January we were up over 20-something percent. It’s been growing at a phenomenal rate. People love our product.”
First up will be a Medical Center outpost in the former Eclair Bakery space at Greenbriar and Holcomb. When he heard the French bakery was struggling, Joseph saw an opportunity to expand his business in the area. Common Bond will occupy both the Eclair space and adjacent spot to give it slightly less room than it has in Montrose.
Local firm Construction Concepts will begin its work to transform the space into Common Bond sometime this week. If all goes according to plan, it will open around March 1.
From there, Joseph will turn his attention to a location in The Heights. Located in Braun Enterprises’ Heights Waterworks development, the bakery and cafe will occupy a 3,500-square-foot space in the development that also includes Hopdoddy, Jinya Ramen, and vegan restaurant Verdine.
“What I love about our building is [it will have] a much larger patio and it butts up to the bicycle trail,” Joseph says. “You can get there from anywhere in the Heights easily on your bicycle to pop right in.”
Joseph expects to receive the final permit necessary to begin construction this week. The targeted opening day is May 1.
Common Bond’s Midtown location is currently under construction and will open in early 2020. Joseph said he isn’t able to divulge an exact address at this time, but it will be revealed soon.
In addition to those three confirmed locations, Joseph has two signed letters of intent for additional locations. While they’re subject to final negotiations to become a lease, Joseph is optimistic they’ll come to fruition.
The first could be located on the first floor of downtown’s upcoming Capitol Tower, Skanska’s 35-story office building that will also be home to the Understory food hall. In addition, Common Bond has plans to open in the CityPlace mixed-use development at Springwoods Village, the project that also includes Exxon’s corporate headquarters.
“There’s a beautiful courtyard area, and we’re right across from the Marriott,” Joseph says. “It’s just open, and they said it’s way ahead of budget.”