Neoclassical Nirvana
For the last two years, caterer Jackson Hicks has quietly been restoring the first two floors of the former First National Bank downtown between Fannin and Main. The circa-1905 neoclassical building — complete with 24 original 35-foot Corinthian columns and a plaster ceiling festooned with fauna, foliage and classic Greek urns — was virtually forgotten for deades. With the help of architect Ed Eubanks and designer P. Joe Shaffer, this caterer with an eye for the neoclassic now has a stylish venue of his own, aptly named The Corinthian, where he can host nearly 2,000 revelers at a cocktail party or gracefully seat 1,000 for dinner at eight. "It's like making an entrance at Versailles," Hicks proclaims. This demanding perfectionist and his design team haven't overlooked a thing in The Corinthian. The dressing salon has every amenity a jittery bride could need. There's a cigar room for the boys on the mezzanine, as well as lavish restrooms appointed — like the rest of the rooms — with 18th- and 19th-century art, sculptures and engravings. Great effort (not to mention hundreds of cans of paint in shades of antique white, taupe and delicate rose) has gone into reviving the feel of late 18th- and 19th-century neoclassical elegance, when entertaining was as lavish as the civilized world has ever seen.

The Corinthian 201 Main St., 713.523.5780,

Author: Laurann Claridge