So many Austin restaurants have made their way to Houston over the years that it’s hard to list them all. That success continues to lure a diverse crop of restaurateurs to try their luck in the Bayou City.
Add Giovan Cuchapin and Mark Pascual to the ever-growing trend. The duo, along with Houston hospitality veteran Roveen Abante (Lincoln Bar, Pour Behavior, Understory Bar in Capitol Tower) are bringing Be More Pacific Filipino Kitchen and Bar, their popular Filipino food truck-turned-restaurant, to the Heights. Slated to open this fall, the restaurant will join La Vibra in the Heights Village shopping center at the corner of 5th and Yale. It’s a homecoming for Cuchapin and Pascual, both of whom grew up in Houston.
“We feel that the Heights seems to be where all the other restaurants are going,” Pascual tells CultureMap. “It seems to be a hotspot for Houston ... The first one in Houston we wanted to be central, so that everyone has access to it.”
In terms of food, expect an expanded version of the menu that helped the restaurant earn a Best New Restaurant award in the 2018 CultureMap Austin Tastemaker Awards. Food editor Brandon Watson notes a number of highlights on the menu, including lumpia Shanghai (pork and shrimp egg rolls served with a house sweet chili sauce); sweet and tangy barbecue ribs with a pickled papaya salad and sautéed green beans; spicy coconut lime bacon fried rice topped with a fried egg; and adobo (chicken, pork, or tofu cooked in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic).
“Our version of adobo is the best I’ve had,” Pascaul says. “Our filipino barbecue and our sisig [stand out]. I don’t think anyone in Houston does sisig as good as we do.”
Creative cocktails pair with the restaurant’s cuisine. Consider the Banana Mary (a Bloody Mary with muddled basil and spicy ketchup) or the Lou Diamond (a complex blend of passionfruit, agave, muddled jalapeños, and tequila served with a skewer of salty feta). San Miguel, a beer popular in the Philippines, joins a selection of craft brews on the beer list.
To help fund the restaurant’s buildout, the partners are seeking to raise at least $100,000 on the NextSeed crowdfunding platform. In addition to earning a 1.4x return on their money, investors will receive acknowledgement on a wall in the restaurant, an invite to a pre-opening party, and other perks. Pascaul says they’re hoping to open in October.
Most Filipino restaurants in Houston cater primarily to people who are already familiar with the cuisine. Be More Pacific has crossed over in Austin, winning new fans to Filipino food’s intriguing mix of Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Spanish influences. With a prime location, look for the Houston location to be one of the fall’s most intriguing new arrivals.