^
Keep Houston Press Free
4

Crossfire from Tony's Christmas Massacre

Jonathan Honefenger is working as a waiter at Branch Water Tavern these days. Which is kind of odd, considering that he was one of the brightest new stars of the wine scene when he was hired away from Poscol by Tony Vallone a couple of months ago. His stint at Tony's restaurant was brief.

"Tony said I was burned out, that I had lost my passion," Honefenger said when he stopped by our table at Branch Water Tavern. Honefenger wasn't the only person who has been fired at Tony's lately. In what's being called "the Christmas Massacre," Chef Francesco Casetta got his walking papers too. Honefenger speculated that Vallone would save money by having lesser-paid assistants take over.

Tony Vallone responded that the partings took place some six weeks apart and were unrelated. He complained that Honefenger was badmouthing him "all over the blogs" with his nasty accusations. "To let somebody go over the holidays is not something I take lightly," Vallone said. "I let this young man go for some serious reasons -- very serious."

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

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

Honefenger's meteoric rise in the wine world began with a job at Brennan's under James Koonce that started shortly before Ike. Then he helped Da Marco design the wine list and buy the wines for Poscol and became the wine steward there when it opened last February. Tony's hired the hot young gun away in September. Honefenger was named one of the nation's 5 Best Young Sommeliers by Wine & Spirits magazine in its October issue.

"Oh well, there's a bright side -- a wine broker called me the other day and asked me if I was free to join him on a buying trip to France," Honefenger said. "And I said, 'Sure, why not?'"

Vallone said he wished people wrote about some the restaurant's new dishes instead of who got fired. I told him that Tiger Woods wished somebody would write about his putting, too.

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.