Look closely at the walls and the faces of The ’401 Table & Tap (and adjacent 77 events space), and you’ll learn a great deal about the community from which they take their name. That’s exactly how Kristi Coffey and husband Arash Noamouz intend it. In just four years, The 77/’401 have endeared themselves to a wide spectrum of ages and tastes with an atmosphere and features that are both cool and cozy, and deep engagement with local activities and causes. Two examples: What’s become an annual “Moms & Mimosas” event to celebrate the start of school, and the thoughtful kids’ room, well-supervised, where youngsters can enjoy iPads and films while Mom & Dad relax in the restaurant or patio. The food has a modern, international flair ranging from small plates to full meals and weekend brunch, the full service bar is creative, and there’s an expansive patio. Coffey tackle our Essentials questionnaire to share more:
The ’401 Table & Tap/The 77
6700 Ferris St.
When did The ’401 and 77 first open, and how have they evolved?
We opened The ’401 in May of 2018 and the 77 that November. My younger brother, Matthew, and his wife, Holly, are our partners, so it is truly a family labor of love. It used to be a funeral home, and many people would gently ask if we were sure we wanted to open a restaurant in that space. Looking back, I can’t imagine even entertaining the idea of a different location. Prior to opening, I found this large sign that hangs in our hallway with the photos that span generations in the city and ZIP code our restaurant is named for: “The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and the memories we have made along the way.” We wanted a sort of bridge between the neighborhood from generations ago to the neighborhood we see today. Certain feelings and values are timeless, and we have tried to stay true to that inspiration on the sign.
In 25 words or less, how would you describe The ’401/77?
The ’401 is a restaurant version of a love letter to our community.
What is the the Bellaire-West U area customer is like, and what do they seek?
The Bellaire/West U customer is friendly, loyal, fun and busy. They are diverse, they are welcoming, and they show up. They have a busy lifestyle and enjoy something comfortable and welcoming to balance that. They love the small town feel of their neighborhoods and their respective histories but also value variety, convenience, a chance to build new relationships and memories for their families in a way that does not add even more stress to their daily lives.
What has made The ’401/77 so popular?
We tried to build a neighborhood hangout where all ages felt like it was their own, where mini-reunions would happen, and where new memories were made. I remember going to dinner with my husband when my daughters were younger and feeling that it was hard to find a place for a couple with young kids to all enjoy a meal. Either we went to “x” place because the kids liked it or “y” place because they had food and drinks that my husband and I liked. The ’401 was designed around being a place that a family could go and not rush because the kids were restless — that could also be a go-to for a date night, a ladies’ night out or to watch a game.
How did you survive the worst of the COVID pandemic and lockdown?
Solely by the grace and support of the community. This has been a terrifying time with so much uncertainty about how to protect your children, your parents and your community. During and post-COVID, I have loved witnessing the support our community has shown local businesses. That support is crucial to their survival.
What’s your most popular menu item?
Some of our most popular items are The Whitley’s Porch cocktail, Mixed Kabob plate, and the Baja Chicken Wrap.
Please share with our readers either a favorite recipe or a tip for entertaining.
There are many things that go into a great gathering, such as preparation, décor and more. This might sound odd coming from a restaurant owner, but in my opinion, it’s not so much about the food. It’s about the people. You can serve the most delicate, complex or expensive food but if people do not feel comfortable, they won’t have as much fun. Basically, don’t take yourself or your planning reputation too seriously. Prepare a welcoming atmosphere and some touch at the beginning that is fun and “non-judgy,” for those who might hold back because they worry what others might think of them. You can get the ball rolling by planning something where your guests think you are maybe a little crazier than they are. Then add an element of surprise along the way (note: sometimes random, unexpected restroom figurines will do the trick). Guests will let loose, and memories will have been made when the gathering is over.