Concept Restaurants took on an iconic space when it transformed Strings into Humboldt

As the folks behind the now-defunct Ondo's and Café Berlin learned the hard way, there are hazards to real estate. Basement and second-floor locations pose obvious challenges for restaurateurs, but even ground-floor spaces in high-traffic areas aren't risk-free. "We knew people might be upset with what we did, because we were touching an icon," says Sean Huggard, operations director for Concept Restaurants, which opened Humboldt this fall.

That icon was Strings.

See also: Strings will close on April 30 -- eighteen months after the death of founder/chef Noel Cunningham

Chef Noel Cunningham opened Strings back in 1986, and it quickly became a go-to destination not just for the Uptown neighborhood, but the entire city.

After Cunningham's death in December 2011, his widow, Tammy, kept Strings open for a time, but she finally closed the restaurant last April, and Concept Restaurants took on the iconic space, transforming it into Humboldt.

How successful was that transformation? Find out tomorrow when my review of Humbold is posted here.


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Gretchen Kurtz has worked as a writer for 25 years; during that time she's stomped grapes in Napa, eaten b'stilla in Fez, and baked with Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss. Her work has appeared in publications including Boulevard (Paris), Diversion, the New York Times and Westword. Our restaurant critic since 2012, she loves helping you decide where to eat and drink tonight.
Contact: Gretchen Kurtz