Another new restaurant will soon join the the second wave of downtown bar and restaurant development that's already seen promising newcomers like Bovine & Barley, Houston Watch Company and twin bars The Commoner and The Boulevardier.
The Moonshiners Southern Table & Bar will begin its soft opening July 8. The Southern-inspired concept is the the latest offering from the Salt N Pepper Group — the offshoot that some of the partners in Pub Fiction, Celtic Gardens and 3rd Floor created to open Beer Market Co. last year.
"We’re not trying to be fine dining. It’s just: come, eat, have some good drinks. Try some 'shine. Hopefully, you’re happy by the time you leave."
"We knew we wanted to do a Southern concept," partner Donny Salvato tells CultureMap. "I started working on the menu. Then, the more research we did, we developed the name, 'The Moonshiners Southern Table.' Obviously, we had to create the craft cocktails with moonshine so it made sense."
"We want to be another comfortable spot downtown where people can hang out and have good conversations," partner Fidan Baca adds. "We’re not trying to be fine dining. It’s just: come, eat, have some good drinks. Try some 'shine. Hopefully, you’re happy by the time you leave."
Salvato’s menu, which is available for lunch and dinner, consists of classic Southern dishes from across the region: everywhere from the Carolinas to the Gulf Coast. "We just wanted it to be Southern-influenced. You’ll find things that are particular to the Carolinas with vinegar barbecue sauce. Then you’ll have some Texas things with sweeter barbecue sauce and brisket. It’s classic comfort food with a Southern touch."
Overall, it’s a more traditional, slightly less expensive version of the cuisine next door neighbor Prohibition has already found success with. The restaurant’s goal is to be a destination for quick lunches, happy hour and also dinner.
On the cocktail side, the drinks are made with moonshine, which is unaged bourbon, but the restaurant is also looking to source other variations from around the world. In addition, Moonshiners will offer a selection of wines and a selection of draft and bottled craft beers chosen by Beer Market’s Daut Elshani.
Inside, Baca went antiquing to provide Moonshiners with the right atmosphere. Wooden shingles have been installed over the bar, and vintage distilling equipment adorns one wall. Cushy leather booths and mismatched chairs provide seating. Chalk art by K8 Hopper ARTz adorns the walls and menu board. A 14-table patio and Chicago-style doors that open to the sidewalk will bring an outdoor feeling on nice days.
Baca describes the decor as "Modern with a Southern touch. We tried to make it comfortable and cozy but bring some older elements with the cooper, the antiques and the shingles."
Although the group’s experience is primarily in Midtown, they’re looking forward to making a contribution to downtown’s rapidly growing roster of bars and restaurants. "Downtown is developing, and it’s getting some great restaurants, some great bars, some great places. They all have their own unique touch. We’re excited about being a part of that movement. I think we’ll be received pretty well."