If Midtown is growing up with new arrivals like Oporto Fooding House & Wine, Wooster's Garden and Weights + Measures, then it stands to reason that the business owners who've led the Midtown party scene are ready to mature, too.
Therefore, no one should be surprised to learn that the Salt N Pepper restaurant group, which is the spinoff of Midtown juggernaut KCH Entertainment (Pub Fiction, Celtic Gardens, Shot Bar, 3rd Floor) that owns pizza restaurant Crisp and craft beer destination Beer Market Co., wants to grow with the neighborhood.
Towards that end, the group will bring Beer Market Co. to Midtown. They've purchased a former medical office at 3304 Milam (across from Wooster's) and begun renovations. When it opens by the end of the year, it will serve as a flagship for the Beer Market brand and fuel a city and statewide expansion.
"We’re growing up as far as what we're offering. We understand Midtown is what it is. We love it."
Just to clarify the ownership situation, KCH Entertainment's Michael Paolucci is not involved with Salt N Pepper (and therefore Beer Market or Crisp), just as Salt N Pepper partners Fidan Baca, Olsi Lito and Al Scavelli are not involved in Paolucci's projects like Cook & Collins and Sage County.
"We’re growing up as far as what we're offering," Fidan Baca says. "We understand Midtown is what it is. We love it. We’ve done this for 10 years at Pub. At Beer Market, we’re trying to offer the city a better hangout with better food, better options and better service.
"People love the TVs. They love to watch sports."
A New Beer Frontier?
Thanks to its status as a stand alone space, the new Beer Market will give people more of everything they like about the Studemont original and outdoor seating in the form of a wraparound patio. Like the original, the Midtown location will feature a 400-plus beers in bottles and cans and an extensive selection of drafts that mixes a range of craft options with macros faves like Bud Light, Miller Lite and Coors Light.
Baca says the menu will be upgraded with more creative selections and more attention to dishes that can be paired with beers. Once the new Midtown Beer Market opens, Salt N Pepper will use the template for additional locations.
Trying to please everyone doesn't always work, but the concept has been a hit.
"We want to be able to give them what they want in all the parts of town. Obviously, we want to grow in Houston as fast as we possibly can, and then we’ll go to other cities in Texas," Baca says. "We’ve already had a few people come to us; developers who are working on (projects like) CityCentre and Market Square to ask us if we’d be interested in going in there.
"Those guys can be very difficult if you want to open in their spot. It’s a great sign to be invited by a developer who says come here."
Expanding too quickly can sometimes result in service hiccups, but Baca says the group has already started preparing for the future. "We overstaffed it with managers. We developed them and brought on some good veterans in the restaurant and bar industry. As far as staffing, we can just pick them and boom, boom, boom — done."
Houstonians are more interested in craft beer than ever before. Beer Market provides a place for them while still being welcoming to families and people who prefer mainstream beers. Trying to please everyone doesn't always work, but the concept has been a hit.
"When we originally conceptualized it, we thought it might work this way, but we wanted to test the waters. The location that we have it at. It’s failed every restaurant, but we’re making it there," Baca says.
"We’re doing just fine, and it keeps growing."