Stepping Out

Houston restaurant veteran serves up casual American bistro to Memorial area

Houston restaurant veteran serves up casual bistro to Memorial area

Kerry Pauly KP's Kitchen
Kerry Pauly is bringing KP's Kitchen to Memorial Courtesy of KP's Kitchen

For over 10 years, Kerry Pauly has been a fixture at all of Benjy Levit’s restaurants (Local Foods, Benjy's), but the time has come for the restaurant industry veteran to go out on his own. Pauly has signed a lease to open his first restaurant, KP’s Kitchen

Located in a former Smashburger in the Town & Country shopping center, KP’s Kitchen will offer classic American fare in a family-friendly, fast casual environment. Pauly, a Memorial resident, tells CultureMap he thinks his restaurant will be a good fit for its neighborhood. It’s tentatively on track to open in early April.

“This area needs a casual, bistro-style restaurant,” he says. “There’s starting to be some really cool restaurants coming in this area with Federal Grill and Masraff’s, but there’s not really that casual, American fare where families can hang out.”  

Pauly describes his influences as restaurants like Barnaby’s and Houston’s, but KP’s Kitchen will offer counter service instead of full service. In addition, it will be BYOB.

The restaurant will serve the same menu at lunch and dinner to start with the possibility of a few brunch items once the kitchen has its sea legs. Pauly’s proposed menu includes starters such as spinach-artichoke dip and a cheese plate with local honey, plus familiar salads such as Caesar and market vegetables with Champagne vinaigrette. Sandwich options include a bacon cheeseburger and a vegetable panini.

Pauly’s entrees include filet mignon, baby back ribs, and grilled red snapper. For dessert, choose from classics such as apple crumble, key lime tart, and cheesecake.

“It’s American fare that’s elevated, just really simple, ingredient-driven dishes that lets the food speak for itself,” Pauly says. Like Benjy’s and Local Foods, Pauly will source ingredients from local businesses such as Blue Horizon Seafood and vendors at the farmers market.

Former Reef chef Bryan Caswell is helping Pauly by consulting on the kitchen’s layout and helping refine recipes so that they can be executed consistently. One of Caswell’s former sous chef will serve as the restaurant’s kitchen manager.

For now, Pauly divide his time between helping Levit open Local Foods Market and preparing for KP’s Kitchen. As the restaurant draws closer, he’ll step away to focus on his business.

“As I told Benjy, I didn’t want to wake up at 70 and have never [opened my own restaurant],” Pauly says. “I think it’s time. I couldn’t be more excited to take this next chapter of my life.”