Breaking News: El Real Closes

The bright lights are fading away.
The bright lights are fading away.
Photo by El Real
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

El Real, Chef Bryan Caswell's Tex-Mex restaurant, has closed indefinitely according to a press release. It opened in 2011 as a partnership with restaurateur Bill Floyd and food writer Robb Walsh. Walsh was the lead food critic at the Houston Press from 2000 to 2010. There is a lawsuit pending against Caswell, with Floyd claiming he is owed $200,000 as reported by Eater Houston.

Floyd is not the only person claiming Caswell owes him money. Today, Miya Shay from ABC13 was on hand as former employees protested in front of El Real and later, Caswell's other restaurant, REEF. The employees claim that they are owed back wages and have had their paychecks bounce, according to abc13.com.

Caswell is currently going through a divorce from his wife Jennifer Caswell, who had become a familiar face in his restaurant businesses. After Hurricane Harvey flooded his signature restaurant REEF, in 2017, he used his charity, the Southern Salt Foundation, to aid victims of the devastating storm. However, it took nearly two years for REEF to reopen. In that time, Caswell split ways with Floyd.

He also departed Oxbow 7, the restaurant he and his wife opened at Le Meridien hotel after only four months and closed his burger joint, Little Bigs in September 2018.  The home he shared with his wife and their blended family was struck by lightning in July 2018. To say the past couple of years have been full of disasters for the acclaimed chef would be an understatement.

For now, all his professional efforts are focused on REEF and 3rd Bar. His personal focus is on his family. Caswell said in the press release, "El Real has been a rewarding endeavor, but I have decided the best recourse is to focus on REEF, my family and my health... I am grateful for those who have been loyal from beginning to end. This is simply the right thing to do at this time."

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.