The wait for the River Oaks location of Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille is over. The steakhouse will open to the public on February 11, the restaurant announced. Over a year in development, the approximately 12,000-square-foot restaurant will occupy both the former California Pizza Kitchen and second-story Baker Street Pub in the River Oaks Shopping Center at 1997 West Gray St.
Opening its first location in the Houston city limits serves as an opportunity to take a closer look at Perry’s. The restaurant has come a long way since owner Chris Perry opened his first location on Bay Area Blvd. in 1992 as an evolution of his father’s butcher shop. Now the restaurant has grown to almost 20 locations in Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Chicago, Denver, Birmingham, and, later this year, the Miami suburb of Coral Gables.
“River Oaks or that overall market has been on my radar for 10, 15 years,” Perry tells CultureMap. “I wanted to find the perfect location ... That location came available two years ago. Couldn’t be more excited for it to be our flagship.”
Overall, the look is lighter and brighter than a traditional steakhouse. Perry says they made that design choice to make the restaurant more appealing to women.
“It has a nice, clean, open, modern feel to it. We make it with the right colors. It doesn’t feel like a traditional steakhouse,” he says. “We feel like that and our show with our open kitchen and our island bar creates lots of energy.”
Downstairs, diners will find the latest version of Perry’s Bar 79 and an outdoor patio that looks out onto West Gray. A selection of bar bites will be paired with an extensive range of wines by-the-glass, craft beer, and cocktails While some will use the bar as a pre or post-dinner spot, Perry intends for it to be its own destination for people who want a light bite at happy hour or a more casual meal than they’d usually find at a steakhouse.
A massive chandelier will greet diners who climb the staircase to the main dining room. Private dining rooms are available on both levels. All-in, the restaurant will seat about 350 people.
In recent years, the restaurant has catered to customer interest in premium cuts by running specials such as Japanese A5 wagyu and domestic wagyu from Snake River Farms. The restaurant also stays true to its butcher shop roots by cutting every steak by hand. Perry says the restaurant preps enough steaks daily to have them ready to go until 8 or 8:30 pm. After that, every steak is cut to order.
But it’s more than just food that’s fueled the restaurant’s success. The restaurant focuses on delivering first-class service.
“When your customers come in, you’ve got to make sure they feel special,” Perry says. “They’re going to spend more than at a casual restaurant, but you’ve got to exceed their expectations.”
That philosophy also drove the creation of the seven-finger pork chop. The chop's massive size means it’s almost impossible to finish in one sitting. Perry says he wanted to create a dish that diners would want to take home and finish the next day.
“When I first started my business, my plans was to get my name in your fridge,” he says. “It was my only marketing plan that I could really afford. Couldn't afford billboards, and social media wasn’t around [yet].”
Needless to say, diners know the Perry’s name. On February 11, the restaurant will get to introduce itself to a new group of customers.