On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company founder and CEO Rassul Zarinfar and executive chef Arash Kharat join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss the company's newly opened facility in Sawyer Yards. The three-story, 28,000-square-foot brewery features enough space for the company to grow its capacity to 50,000 barrels a year and a 200-seat restaurant where Kharat creates dishes that utilize beer and its ingredients.
The conversation covers a number of topics, including Kharat's decision to leave Beaver's to join Buffalo Bayou, Zarinfar's reasons for selecting Sawyer Heights, what's still to come at the restaurant, and the company's future plans for its original location. Sandler notes that the number of local breweries has increased dramatically since Buffalo Bayou opened in 2012. He asks Zarinfar about whether operating in a more competitive marketplace.
"We're one-tenth the size of Saint Arnold, and they're a third the size of Karbach at this point. When you look at what Sweetwater is doing in Atlanta. I wrote the business plan in 2010. Back then, Sweetwater was doing more than Karbach plus Saint Arnold double what they're doing this year," Zarinfar says. "You can't tell me the demographics of Atlanta are more friendly and culinary-driven. At the end of the day, the big guys are hemoragging market share for very good reasons. We're seeing the market down two to five percent. We're up egregious numbers . . . It's almost triple digits. Crush City, against last year's World Series run, outsold projections 140 percent. Our number one product was up two-and-a-half-x over prior years. It's on fire."
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Matt Harris discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Dish Society's plans to open a sixth location in the Southside Commons mixed-use development; Goode Company Seafood's new Memorial location; and Texadelphia's upcoming locations in Memorial and Katy.
In the restaurants of the week segment, Harris and Sandler share first impressions of One Dim Sum, a Chinese restaurant in Midtown, and Guard and Grace, the newly opened steakhouse in downtown. They also talk about their favorite dishes from the recent HOU-ATX barbecue throwdown.