Foreign & Domestic founder Ned Elliott sold the North Loop restaurant to chefs Sarah Heard and Nathan Lemley. The business partners will run the Austin restaurant as the new owners and executive chefs. As founder, Elliott still owns the brand of Foreign & Domestic. He will use that to expand the restaurant to Cincinnati and Houston.
The Austin restaurant’s name (Foreign & Domestic Austin) and space will remain the same under Heard and Lemley. The duo, who also happen to be alum of Foreign & Domestic, will add their touches, of course, but still plan on holding true to what they see as the restaurant’s essence. The two plan on honoring the restaurant’s beginnings with a “creative and playful menu” that is “conscientiously elevated and cohesive,” according to a statement.
“It’s bittersweet,” Elliott told Eater about leaving the Austin restaurant, but “it was time. There are other things I want to do.” He told Heard and Lemley that he wanted to sell the restaurant during Indie Chefs Week, and they jumped at the opportunity.
“I’m stoked for Nathan and Sarah,” Elliott said, and that they’re “carrying the legacy” of the restaurant in Austin.
Elliott is opening his own version of Foreign & Domestic in his hometown, Cincinnati, Ohio. It’ll be found in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, set to open by July 2018. He’s “really excited to get back” to the Midwest, he said.
That will be followed by a Houston location of Foreign & Domestic as well, as Elliott already noted on social media. It’ll potentially be found in Bellaire in winter of 2018. In the meantime, he’ll keep himself busy in Austin with pop-up dinners and the such.
Heard, who was previously the executive chef at Suzanne Court Catering, was an Eater Young Gun semifinalist this year. She began her career as an executive sous chef at The Mansion at Judges Hill (now known as Hotel Ella), as well as several other Austin restaurants. She worked as the banquet chef at Parkside, which is where she met Lemley.
Lemley is leaving his position as executive chef of Parkside. Before that, he worked at Sabor, Voice, and Stella Sola. He was also a former chef de cuisine at Foreign & Domestic under Elliott’s watch.
Elliott opened Foreign & Domestic in 2010 with his then-wife Jodi (the couple eventually divorced, and Jodi opened Bribery Bakery). The neighborhood restaurant focused on inventive seasonal cuisine inspired by the Northeast region and Ohio, but switched gears to a classic French menu last fall.
Elliott also spearheaded Indie Chefs Week, where he brought together lesser-known chefs from across the country for a series of collaborative dinners. The event, which began in 2013, held its last Austin iteration earlier this spring.
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