Controversial Chef, Paul Qui, to close year-old Houston restaurant
According to Houston Business Journal, Aqui, the Montrose restaurant that Austin chef Paul Qui opened in August 2017, will close this month.
The Southwest Asian-inspire restaurant’s last day will be Dec. 23, according to CultureMap and Houstonia. Aqui, at 520 Westheimer Road, will be open regular hours through Dec. 9 but after that will only be open Dec. 12-16 and 19-23, per CultureMap.
However, Qui, chef Jillian Bartolome and General Manager Adam Mathews are working on a new Filipino concept they plan to open at a new Houston location in the spring, per the reports. The trio will hold pop-up events to preview the concept before it opens.Qui won the ninth season of Bravo’s TV Show “Top Chef” and a 2012 regional James Bear Award. Bartolome also was a semifinalist in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category of the 2018 James Beard Awards.
However, he has been surrounded by controversy since he was arrested in March 2016 for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. In April of this year, prosecutors dropped the misdemeanor assault and unlawful restraint charges related to that arrest because his girlfriend was not cooperating, per reports.
"It was all an unfortunate misunderstanding that everyone regrets happened. Paul turned it into a positive experience and obtained some needed treatment. I think everybody has come out of this thing better," Qui's attorney, Chris Gunter with Gunter Bennett & Anthes PC, told the Austin American-Statesman in April.
Qui also previously admitted to a history of drug use and said was fueled by a pressure to meet expectations, per reports.