The expansion to Houston of UberEATS, the quick-delivery meal program in 10 locations around the country, was announced Tuesday night amid a fanfare of top chefs, food stations and open bars at the historic Heights Fire Station.
UrbanEATS Houston general manager Sarah Groen announced the launch, which begins Thursday, at the private, secret gathering with 100 guests including media, "Uber riders" and foodies. Little information was given out before the evening other than time, location and embargo restrictions.
Guests arrived to a party room with thumping DJ tunes, disco lighting, bars and food stations from participating eateries. Celebrity chefs including Ryan Pera, Bryan Caswell and Lucille's Chris Williams mingled in the crowd before the announcement.
Following the official unveiling of the UberEATS Houston neon logo, Groen conducted a brief round table discussion with those chefs as well as Pondicheri's Anita Jaisinghani, Latin Bites' Carlos Ramos and Morgan Weber of Coltivare/Revival Market/Eight Row Flint.
Each of these chefs is participating in the program that features a different lunch menu from a different chef each day of the work week. Orders are taken between 11 am and 2 pm and food delivered, they say, within 10 minutes. The initial delivery zone will be Downtown and Midtown.
Pera of Coltivare will kick off the launch on Thursday as Chef Zero.
"What this means to our riders is that they have access to an experience that they've never had before and that has never been possible before," Groen tells CultureMap. "These riders are now able to order food from the best chefs. It's fresh and it's at their doorstep or their office in 10 minutes or less."
What can they order? "It's a daily rotating, curated menu of three items," Groen said. "So we'll feature a new menu and a new chef every day."
The group of 100 guests grazed through offerings from Tout Suite, Revival Market, Mala Sichuan Bistro, Jackson Street BBQ, Sticky Chicken food truck and Common Bond.
None was more exuberant on this evening than Reef's Caswell. "This is going to change the way Houston eats," he said, adding that he and his wife are loyal Uber fans. "My Uber bill is higher than my mortgage payment each month," he quipped.
Caswell's El Real and Jackson Street BBQ will be participating in UberEATS Houston. Jackson Street pitmaster Greg Gatlin was on hand with Derek Cooper serving that hot spots brisket on jalapeno cheddar biscuits.