Voted Houston's Most Romantic Restaurant, Mark's American Cuisine is located in a 1920s renovated church. The golden ceilings and the candle lit tables provide guests with an intimate escape from the outside world. Mark's boasts three meeting rooms: two private-The Cloisters seats 32 to 40 people and The Alcove, a tasting room for 5 to 8 people, and a semi-private room, The Loft seats 20 to 24 people.
Dining at Mark's American Cuisine is a true epicurean adventure. Chef Mark Cox prepares not just one but four unique menus for his patrons. Houstonians and visitors will find food unlike that in any other restaurant.
Mark's wine list, recognized by The Wine Spectator, offers each customer the opportunity to pair the perfect meal with enhancing wines. Marcus Gausepohl, Mark's Wine Director, selects vineyards and vintages by taste and value instead of by "brand name."
Under the direction of Mark's General Manager, Nick Barton, let your server treat you to the ultimate in restaurant service. "Eating" at Mark's is truly a memorable dining experience.
Chef Mark Cox emerged from humble beginnings in rural West Virginia. At the age of 12 his mother insisted he work at the local resort, Oglebay Park, where he began selling popcorn. This adolescent summer job would ultimately serve as the catalyst for his culinary career. Working summers at the resort, Mark spent his teenage years learning the fundamentals of the kitchen. By 16 he knew how to do everything, including the sauces and all of the prep work. Having found satisfaction and fulfillment in the kitchen, Cox ventured to the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York to further hone his skills, where he would later graduate at the top of his class.
Following his formal education at the CIA, Cox undertook an apprenticeship at The Greenbriar, a premier luxury resort of White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia. Upon completion of his education and apprenticeship Mark found himself in Washington D.C. as part of the opening team for the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel. It was his time spent in Washington where he met his future wife Lisa. It was Lisa's career with The Four Seasons that prompted both to move to Houston. While visiting Houston, Mark saw the innate potential for fine dining in the city, and made his move a few short months after Lisa had settled.
Mark immediately took a position with Brennan's, and thrived in his new locale. He ascended quickly to the top of his profession, and by the age of 25 had earned the title of Executive Chef. After spending three years at Brennan's, Mark endeavored a new project with Tony Vallone. Together the team opened the original Anthony's, which became a runaway success from opening day. Mark committed himself to the Vallone Restaurant Group for 11 years. During this time he revitalized Tony's, the Vallone flagship restaurant, and he also became Executive Chef and Partner for Grotto and La Griglia.
In 1996 Mark left the Vallone Group to embark on his own journey. Mark and Lisa dreamed of having their own independent establishment, and soon after leaving the Vallone Group their dream would be realized. While preparing and planning for his own project, Mark taught as a professor for the Houston campus of the Art Institute. Mark's American Cuisine opened its doors in July 1997, and similar to Mark's own personal story, the restaurant grew and flourished from humble beginnings. Adhering to the principles of honest food from the finest ingredients and a superior level of customer service, Mark's has become an eponymous Houston establishment, recognized for the creativity and work ethic of its accomplished Owner and Executive Chef.
Lisa Cox comes from a traditional Italian family. Born and raised in Corpus Christi, TX, she was also heavily influenced by the Mexican culture in her hometown from a young age. Volunteering with youth programs through the YMCA encouraged her to pursue an education and experiences in foreign languages and different cultures. Her academic pursuits brought her on adventures in Saltillo and Mexico City, Mexico where she relished in interacting with the locals to completely immerse herself in the language and culture. She graduated college from Washington D.C.'s prestigious Georgetown University with a B.S. in Romance Languages and Linguistics.
After a brief time spent working for a non-profit dedicated to helping Americans of Latin American descent, Lisa found herself working as a part of the opening team for the Four Seasons in Washington D.C. After serving in an administrative role, she was promoted into a management training program that required she learn all areas of hotel operations. Her love of working with people persuaded her to continue on a human resources path rather than continuing with front of house duties. During her time at the Washington D.C. Four Seasons, Lisa met her future husband, Mark. Her career trajectory would lead her back to her home state of Texas where she would be serving as a part of the human resources opening team for a Four Seasons property in Houston.
Lisa resigned from the Four Seasons in order to marry Mark and return to school. She entertained becoming a teacher, but quickly learned the profession was not right for her. Returning to hospitality, she took a position working as a headhunter, and found out soon after she was going to have her first child. Two months prior to the birth of her son, she left her job, which turned into the beginning of a 10-year hiatus from working to tackle the role of full-time mother.
Lisa pushed her husband to open his own restaurant, and serendipitously they were able to find the perfect location with the character, charm, and overall feeling they had been searching for. They settled into the renovated 1920s church in 1997, and began converting the building into their dream destination restaurant in stages.
Mark and Lisa now make up the ultimate team. Mark serves as the creative director for the delicious creations that come from the kitchen, and Lisa performs all of the back office duties for Mark's including accounting, marketing, and human resources. She holds tight to the values she learned through her hotel experience, and she treats her staff as family. She appreciates the time-honored traditions of service and having a high employee to customer ratio. She finds happiness in being able to provide a place where her employees are happy, and enjoy working together.
Fabian Saldana’s journey in becoming Executive Sous Chef at Mark’s has been a long time in the making. A native of Leon, Mexico, Fabian began his culinary adventure ten years ago. After gaining a foundation of skills during his seven years at Walden Yacht Club, Coffee on the Green and later at Phil’s in Lake Conroe, he began looking for a new challenge that would satisfy his passion for culinary arts. After more than a year of working with Executive Chef Mark Cox, Fabian has been able to learn from one of the top chefs in the city, enabling him to take his creativity and skills to the next level.
Today, he works in one of the best kitchens in Houston with more than twenty employees under his management, maintaining the lofty standards and expectations set forth by his mentor, Chef Mark.
He attributes his accomplishments to hard work and perseverance and believes that his passion for the kitchen is shown through the plates he prepares at Mark’s every day.
Wine Director Marcus Gausepohl has a wine obsession born from travel and a love for adventure. A Houston Native, Marcus spent much of his youth traveling which led to a deep love of food and wine culture. After curetting Houston’s first Champagne-focused wine list in Houston at Cha, Marcus took a position working under Charles Clark at Ibiza Food & Wine bar. Marcus procured Ibiza’s first award-winning wine list and was able to further understand and focus on the inspiring relationship between wine and food.
Now being able to work alongside chef Mark Cox, Marcus is able to offer a more tailored and vibrant dining experience. Marcus has a love for both boutique and classic wines, which is exactly what the wine program at Mark’s reflects. Marcus finds extreme value in providing a great guest experience and enjoys sharing the undiscovered.
Building relationships with great wine producers and talking about their culture fuels his curiosity. The wine cellar holds over 700 selections with great depth from regions all around the world promising a wine selection for everyone from the novice to the most experienced connoisseur.
The wine list at Mark’s is a living and breathing program influenced greatly by the seasonal cuisine and the experience of our guests which we hold in the highest regard.
5 Star Diamond Award named by
"The American Academy of Hospitaility Sciences"
An international award bestowed on Five Star Properties who have achived excellence on a global level.
Chef Mark Cox, Winner
“Hall of Fame” Award
Nation's Restaurant News
Zagat “Best Restaurants of the World”
#1 in Houston from 2001 to Present
Zagat Houston Restaurant Survey 2001-2012:
#1 Food Spot in Houston
Zagat Restaurant Survey 2006-2007:
Top 10 Restaurants in the U.S.
Food 28 (extraordinary to perfection)
Décor 27 (very good to excellent)
Service 27 (very good to excellent)
Golden Service Crown Award 2008, 2009, 2012
Wine Enthusiast Magazine:
“Award of Unique Distinction 2008″
Voted “Houston’s Most Romantic Restaurant”
Voted “Reader’s Choice: Favorite Restaurant”
2002-2007 “Five Star Award of Houston”
North American Restaurant Association
DiRoNa 2001 to Present
(Distinguished Restaurants of North America)
My Table Magazine
2001 – 2006 “Top Ten Wine Lists in Houston”
2001 “Outstanding Wine Service”
2000 “Service Person of The Year” Tino Escobedo
1999 “Restaurateur of the Year” Mark Cox
1997 “Chef of The Year” Mark Cox
Gourmet Magazine “The Restaurant Issue”
Winners of Annual Reader Poll: “America’s Top Tables”
Mark’s voted four out of five Houston restaurants
“Exceptional, innovative American cuisine. Refreshingly informal. Unique seafood dishes. Extremely good desserts. In an old church that’s been well converted.”
Winner, Annual Reader Poll: “America’s Top Tables”
- Mark’s voted nine out of 20 Houston restaurants
Food & Wine
Mark’s – “Best New Restaurant in Houston”
"Award of Excellence" 2001 to 2014
"Best of Award of Excellence" 2015
Chef Cox: “One of the finest cuisiniers in the nation.”
August 2001 – 2008 “Award of Excellence”
One of the 20 best new restaurants nationwide
Mark's is our favorite restaurant in Houston! Since the first time we visited this extraordinary place, we have been dining there almost every week. Last night we had the kobe ribeye which (if you like meat) is the best thing on the menu! No wait, I think it's a toss up between that and the alaskan king crabs (when they have them) and the salmon which is served with coconut risotto that melts away in your mouth like cotton candy. The waiters (most have been there for years) never let one minute go by without making sure you have everything you need. It's not cheap. But I always say you get what you pay for! It's also one of few places where you can actually enjoy conversation without being drowned out by other restaurant noise. It's a hit! Rest assured we'll be back soon!!
— Tom and Gail