Foodie News

The Pop-up restaurant? The trend hits Houston with the Just August Project

The Pop-up restaurant? The trend hits Houston with the Just August Project

Restaurants with four walls and a lease are so 2009.

Look at the popularity of supper clubs by Randy Rucker and LJ Wiley and the rise of the gourmet food trucks around town. Location still matters, but when it comes to buzz it's all about the chef and the food.

So it seemed only a matter of time before the pop-up restaurant hit Houston. Without the dubious legality of supper clubs or confined space and endless ordinances faced by mobile food units, pop-up restaurants started in high-rent cities. Rather than risk bankruptcy or fealty to investors to establish their names, young, talented chefs started taking over existing eateries, offering in-the-know exclusivity and comparatively low prices for cutting-edge cuisine.

San Francisco has a half-dozen pop-up restaurants specializing in everything from gourmet sandwiches to Ethiopian cuisine, and in Los Angeles bad-boy celeb chef Ludovic Lefebvre has the most sought-after reservations in town for his roaming LudoBites restaurant.

And now this unorthodox and highly imaginative system is heading to Houston, where Seth Siegel-Gardner will operate the Just August Project for one month only out of the kitchen of Just Dinner on Dunlavy starting August 4.

Siegel-Gardner is a Houston native who has worked and trained under Gordon Ramsey and Marcus Samuelsson, last as executive chef at Samuelsson's C-House restaurant in Chicago.

The Just August Project will be a tasting-menu-only BYOB experiment as a stage for Siegel-Gardner's ambitious gastronomic creations. Reservations can be scored by e-mailing justaugustproject@gmail.com.

Just Dinner building
The Just Dinner will be site to Houston's first pop-up restaurant. Courtesy of Just Dinner
Just Dinner room
The inside of the Just Dinner will not change, but the chef will. Courtesy of Just Dinner