Viva La Revolucion! Houston Chefs keep wine prices down.

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My adopted hometown has a revolution going on in the food industry. Some of the very best restaurants in Houston have decided that selling wines at reasonable prices is good for business, and are being proven right. Viva La Revolucion!

This story was the Houston Chronicle details what is going on, and how it started. This is a great thing for wine and food lovers. Even better, these are great restaurants. One is the hottest joint in town and was named by the Chronicle as such, another drew raves from Wine Spectator.

Some excerpts from the article:

Chef Charles Clark and partner Grant Cooper opened Ibiza in early 2001, intending to sell their wines at retail. With the state taxing every bottle at 14 percent, they couldn’t quite pull that off. But most of their 600-plus offerings are listed at less than twice what you’d pay in a package store, compared with the traditional markups of 300 percent and more.

and

Reef, the Chronicle’s pick as Houston’s most exciting new restaurant of 2007, offers almost 100 wines — roughly 30 percent of the list — at $40 or less. Floyd also believes volume sales are more than compensating for his modest markups.

and a shout out to where my friend Leah works:

Ibiza begat Catalan, which opened in 2006. There, sommelier Antonio Gianola’s focus is decidedly more Old World but hardly more old school. Gianola, too, is proud of his low markups — and proud that Food & Wine magazine named Catalan’s list among the seven best new ones in the United States in 2007 — in no small part because of his aggressive pricing.

As the slogan for one of the best BBQ joints in town says,You might give some serious thought to thanking your lucky stars you’re in Texas.”

Amen!