The Woodlands dining scene may be primarily defined by chains, but the area's rapid growth has inspired a new wave of local operators to buck the trend. One of the most celebrated is Fielding's Wood Grill, a sophisticated burger concept from two former Hubbell & Hudson employees that's found success by doing everything in house: Grinding meat, baking buns, curing bacon and more.
Now those principles, restaurateur Cary Attar and chef Edel Goncalves, are looking to expand their brand with Fielding's Local Kitchen & Bar. Set to open in the first quarter of 2015 in the Creekside Park Village Center on Kuykendahl, Fielding's Local Kitchen will bring a slightly less casual, slightly more grown up dining experience to the Fielding's brand.
"No one restaurant meets the needs of a single area," Attar tells CultureMap. "You can't eat a burger every day."
Towards that end, Local Kitchen will offer diners a selection of housemade pastas, bread and charcuterie from an in-house curing room. "It's all about craft," Attar says. "We want to make it from scratch."
"No one restaurant meets the needs of a single area. You can't eat a burger every day."
Local Kitchen will maintain four menus: Lunch, dinner, brunch and bar. Entrees will include well-priced bistro cuts of steak instead of the traditional rib eye, strip or sirloin. Dishes will be prepared on both a wood-burning oven and a wood-burning grill. As many ingredients as possible will be sourced from within 500 miles.
The beverage program will feature 25 craft beer taps, 100 bottles of wine priced at $99 or less and 500 spirits that will bring Houston's craft cocktail scene north with housemade tinctures, syrups and infusions. The $99 price point doesn't mean Local Kitchen will be buying wholesale wines at $50 or less.
"If I buy a bottle of wine for $85, I won't sell it for more than $99," Attar says. If that means diners come in just to cherry pick the best values from his wine list, so be it.
The design will utilize natural light thanks to floor to ceiling windows on three sides. Inside, the 150 seat dining room will make extensive use of reclaimed materials and feature a variety of seating options, including two tables that provide a direct view into the kitchen. "Even the leather on the chairs is reclaimed," Attar says.
Even as Attar has announced his next project, he's already looking towards the future. He and Goncalves are already at work developing an even more upscale concept that will serve as a capstone for the Fielding's brand. Since the Wood Grill concept has proven to be so successful, Attar is considering growing it beyond The Woodlands — possibly even beyond Houston.
For now, Local Kitchen looks to be a valuable addition to The Woodlands' dining scene. If Facebook is any indication, the locals are certainly excited, and a CultureMap reader reports that Attar received a very warm reception when he presented the restaurant at a Creekside neighborhood meeting.
If Attar keeps it up, The Woodlands might finally break the chain habit.