Our Story

Since opening in 2002, Mockingbird has quickly established itself among Houston’s top dining experiences. We’ve shared our tables with fascinating guests from around the city (and the world), who effortlessly blend into our welcoming, communal atmosphere.

Our open outlook on fine dining has also helped to shape Houston’s culinary community as a whole. Head chef John Sheely has worked with—and influenced—many of the city’s finest culinary artists to make their own contributions to our thriving food culture.

Meet Us

All of us at Mockingbird are devoted to crafting memorable experience for everyone who dines with us. Read a bit about our team:

John Sheely
Executive Chef

Widely recognized as one of Houston’s best and most beloved chefs, John's first foray into the food business had humble beginnings.

The native Houstonian came to cooking not by choice, but by default. During high school in the Memorial area of Houston, Sheely worked part-time in fast-food restaurants to earn spending money. On a spring break ski trip to Colorado, the chef-to-be set his sights on returning to the area as a ski bum.

Things didn't quite go as he'd planned. In addition to hitting the slopes, John found himself in the kitchens of several of Vail's best dining establishments. After learning everything he could over the next 18 years, he purchased his own restaurant, L'Ostello. 

After many years, John decided to return home to Houston to open a restaurant. After opening Riviera Grill in '95, he was quickly honored as a Modern Master by noted restaurant critic John Mariani and named one of Houston's top 10 chefs by Houston City Magazine. A couple restaurant jobs later, Sheely recognized his deep-seeded passion for upscale cuisine.

This momentum continued as he opened Mockingbird in January of 2002, naming it after the state bird of Texas. Here, Sheely crafts his seasonal menus to marry the best local ingredients with a simplistic elegance that can only be mastered after 40 years in the kitchen. Yet for John, cooking is about more than the food—it's about sharing high-quality cuisine and engaging conversation with friends, family, and perfect strangers.

 

ADRIAN CUNEO
GENERAL MANAGER | SOMMERLIER

Adrian’s 20 years of restaurant experience began as a Business & Marketing student at University of Houston. Since then, he has worked his way up to become a distinguished Sommelier throughout the region. 

With a particular specialty in (and affinity for) Old World wines, he caters to a particular palette that pairs well with the fresh, local ingredients used to make Mockingbird’s seasonal dishes.  

When he’s not sipping wine, Adrian is out to see the world. Whether traveling abroad or riding his bike across the region, he is eager to see the world, one wine list at a time.

WILMER REYES
ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER

Wilmer got his start in the restaurant business at 13 years old, working at to help support his family.

After working his way up through the ranks at a variety of different restaurants, he now runs a tight, yet light-hearted ship here at Mockingbird.

Though good food and fine wines are great perks, more than anything else, Wilmer enjoys fine dining because of the opportunity it lends to meaningfully interact with Mockingbird visitors. Outside of work, he’s likely out and about, effortlessly making friends with fellow sports fans, wine enthusiasts, or anyone really.

JOANN DENICOLA
PRIVATE DINING MANAGER

With over 15 years of upscale catering and event planning experience, she is passionate about creating the perfect dining experience for her clients, whether here at Mockingbird, at your home or office, or even at a convention center. 

She approaches each project with a seasoned, tasteful eye and an unparalleled attention to detail to ensure your event embodies your vision.

JoAnn thrives on interpersonal connection and enjoys working one-on-one with Mockingbird clients. Outside of work, she’s an avid Texans supporter and is always prepared to give Cowboys fans a good-natured bit of lip.