On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Nobie's owners Sara and Martin Stayer and bar director Sarah Troxell join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss their widely acclaimed Montrose restaurant that recently celebrated its second anniversary. As chef Martin Stayer explains, the restaurant combines the fine dining techniques he learned while working at Michelin-starred restaurants in Chicago (Moto, L20) with the house parties he used to throw prior to becoming a parent.
The trio and Sandler cover a variety of topics, including the Stayers' decision to offer their employees full benefits, the reason why Troxell has finally found a home at Nobie's after working at a wide array of places, and Nobie's evolution over its two years. From there, the conversation turns to The Toasted Coconut, the tiki-inspired bar and restaurant the trio will be opening in the spring. Sandler asks Troxell what she finds so fascinating about tiki.
"It's whimsical, it's playful, and it really takes you back in history," she says. "There's so many options as far as housemade syrups, ingredients, flavors, spirits, and every bit of that inspires me personally."
Sara Stayer adds that they have plans to create the proper atmosphere, too. "We want it to feel bright and sunny and tropical. The minute you walk in there, there's tropical plants. We're still working on the buildout, so we'll have new discoveries. But I think really feeling that escape, whethe it's an hour for lunch or three hours at night. I think it should feel like you're totally outside of the city and can just relax."
Prior to the Nobie's crew joining the show, Urban Swank blogger Felice Sloan and Sandler discuss the news of the week. Their topics include the closure of Fountain View Cafe, the Marquis II almost closing, the fire at Baba Yega, Bosscat Kitchen's plans to open in Katy, and the opening of Betsy's, the new cafe from the owners of Adair Kitchen. In the restaurants of the week segment, Sloan and Sandler share some first impressions of Neyow's Creole Cafe, rave about the new menu at La Table, and recount their experience at the CollaborEIGHT pop-up that united Tris chef Austin Simmons with Corkscrew BBQ pitmaster Will Buckman.