On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Ben Berg joins CultureMap food editor to discuss Berg Hospitality Group, his rapidly growing crop of Houston restaurants. After his steakhouse B&B Butchers became a smash hit, Berg has added to his stable with B.B. Lemon, a casual hangout inspired by New York restaurant J.G. Melon; B.B. Italia, a family-friendly neighborhood restaurant in the greater Memorial area; a second location of B&B Butchers in Fort Worth; and, coming this fall, The Annie Café & Bar, a reworking of legendary Houston restaurant Cafe Annie in partnership with James Beard Award-winning chef Robert Del Grande.
The conversation touches on a variety of topics, including Berg's plans to open a second location of B.B. Lemon in the former Pax Americana space, the challenges associated with converting Carmelo's into B.B. Italia, and the decision to partner with Del Grande. Sandler asks Berg what his plans are to make the restaurant more appealing to a younger generation of diners.
"Just renovating the whole thing, for one. It's going to be a whole different vibe," Berg says. "Really bring an approachable atmosphere to it. It's going to be fresh and bright [with a] 50-seat bar. It has one of the best patios in the city that's up high, looking over Post Oak; it faces east, so you never have to worry about sun. It's great. There's just so much that's under utilized there."
Prior to Berg's interview, Sandler and Avondale Food & Wine owner Mary Clarkson discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Chris Shepherd being named best chef in the world by The Robb Report; burger-chan's plans to open a second location near the Galleria; Be More Pacific's plans to open in the Heights; a new concept for the Indika space; and New York chef Aaron Bludorn's plans to open a restaurant in Houston.
In the restaurants of the week segment, they recount an up-and-down meal during the soft opening of the new Ninfa's Uptown and share some impressions of Base, the new nightclub that opened recently in Market Square.