On this week's episode of What's Eric Eating, Goodnight Hospitality partners David Keck and Felipe Riccio join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Goodnight Charlie's, the recently-opened Montrose honky tonk. The conversation begins with Keck describing how he joined up with local businessman Peter McCarthy and his wife Bailey to launch the company; then Riccio explains how he came on board, despite spending a year-and-a-half living in Italy.
Riccio brings a wealth of experience to his role as Goodnight's chef/partner. In addition to working at both Reef and The Pass & Provisions, he staged at Osteria Francescana, arguably the most famous Italian restaurant anywhere (currently ranked the second best restaurant in the world). Is it hard for a chef with a fine dining pedigree to focus on making tacos?
"I think the way David and I work, we have a standard. We have a certain desire to do things the right way. It doesn't really matter whether we're doing fine dining or casual dining," Riccio says. "We're making everything from scratch. The tortillas are made in-house, which is a very manual process. We do it every single day. There's no different between doing a 10-course tasting menu and grinding tortillas. Actually, it's much harder to grind tortillas the right way every single day. It's been a lot of fun."
Sandler notes that a duo with their respective resumes — Keck's a Master Sommelier and Riccio is an Eater Young Gun — seem a little overqualified to run a honky tonk. Keck admits the company recently dug a whole in the ground that's the first physical sign of their next project, but he isn't quite ready to reveal specifics.
Prior to the interview, L'Olivier owner Mary Clarkson joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their topics include Houston's record-breaking haul of James Beard Award semifinalist nominations, Texas Monthly's list of the states 10 best new restaurants, Clarkson's first visit to Rodeo's Best Bites competition, and more. In the restaurant of the week segment, the duo share their thoughts on Night Heron, Agricole Hospitality's new concept in Montrose.