Houston restaurateur Rob Wright shares how his former insurance career readied him to run restaurants

HOUSTON – Rob Wright is the successful restaurateur behind restaurants like The Warwick, Rockhouse Southern Kitchen, and Prospect Park.

In college, his life was on a much different track: literally. “I was a big athlete, track and football guy. I thought I was going to play college football,” said Wright. Before those plans had a chance to become reality, a serious neck injury sidelined him his senior year. “One of the things that my parents instilled was, you need to finish school, you need to finish school.” So that’s exactly what he did.

After graduating from the University of Houston, Wright started a career in the insurance industry. “My first job out of college was State Farm. I spent fifteen years on the catastrophe team, so I had the opportunity to travel all over the country and actually learn and experience a lot of different culinary inspirations that spawned some of the stuff we do at the Warwick,” said Wright.

The road to opening the Warwick didn’t happen overnight. Wright admits there were definitely some challenges along the way. “The first bar we opened we took an ‘L.’ We spent seven years, it was Sugar Hill Lounge, no one really showed us what to do, no one told us how to do it. All the bumps in the road with the first concept prepared us for Prospect Park and everything that we have going on right now.”

The restaurant and bar business is a natural fit for Wright, who was raised in a family of talented chefs. “One of my inspirations for being in hospitality was my mom, watching her cook all these fabulous dishes,” said Wright. His mom’s signature carrot cake is a favorite among family and friends, and it’s wildly popular at the restaurants. “It’s our top-selling dessert,” he says. Each day Wright’s mother, a breast cancer survivor, delivers her freshly-baked carrot cakes to keep up with demand from customers.

Despite their close mother-son relationship, Wright says the secrets to her carrot cake will remain under lock and key. “She won’t even give me the recipe.”

To learn more about The Warwick Houston, click here.

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