Whats Eric Eating
What's Eric Eating Episode 97

What's brewing with this beer-minded Houston chef, plus a first taste of reopened Reef

What's brewing with a hot Houston chef, plus a first taste of Reef

Matt Marcus JCI James Coney Island
Matt Marcus is this week's guest. Courtesy photo
Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue smoked cheeseburger
Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue is opening a burger joint. Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue/Facebook
News_food trucks_Eatsie Boys
Marcus looks back at the start of the Eatsie Boys. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
Tropicales cubano sandwich
The host rave about the Cubano sandwich at Tropicales. Photo by Julie Soefer
Reef Bryan Caswell tempura soft shell crab
Sandler discusses his meal at Reef, which included this soft shell crab. Photo by Eric Sandler
Matt Marcus JCI James Coney Island
Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue smoked cheeseburger
News_food trucks_Eatsie Boys
Tropicales cubano sandwich
Reef Bryan Caswell tempura soft shell crab

On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," chef Matt Marcus joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss his career. It's a free-flowing conversation that begins with Sandler congratulating the chef on the recent birth of his daughter; then, the two men talk about the times they've been confused for each other (some people think they look alike).

Marcus begins by explaining how making burgers on a hot plate in military school ultimately led him to Brennan's and the Culinary Institute of America. After working at Michelin-starred restaurants, he partnered Ryan Soroka and Alex Vassilakidis to launch the Eatsie Boys, one of Houston's first gourmet food trucks. The chef credits a victory in the Saint Arnold Brewing Company One Pot Showdown and the support of then Houston Press food editor Katharine Shilcutt for giving the truck a promotional boost that helped it evolve into a short-lived cafe in Montrose

Currently, Marcus serves as the culinary director for 8th Wonder Brewery, a role that sees him overseeing the Eatsie Boys food truck and helping organize various events. Sandler asks if he misses cooking in a restaurant. 

"Everyday. I miss cooking," Marcus says. "I'm hoping, and who knows what's in the future for me. I want to cook again. I cook everyday for my wife, but I'd love to feel the heat of the kitchen again. I do miss it . . . The dream with 8th Wonder is to open a restaurant someday . . . maybe that will be the step to get to that place."

Prior to Marcus joining the show, Felice Sloan of Swanky Maven joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: the closing of Indika, Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue making plans to open a burger joint, and the imminent arrival of seafood restaurants Ouzo Bay and Loch Bar in River Oaks District. 

In the restaurants of the week segment, the duo recount their recent experience at Tropicales, the new all-day cafe from Blacksmith owner David Buehrer. In particular, they're impressed by the stylish interior, Cuban sandwich, and a custom cocktail that bar manager Aaron Lara whips up for Sloan. Sandler also shares some first impressions of Reef, chef Bryan Caswell's newly reopened seafood restaurant in Midtown.

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