Chip off the block

Acclaimed food hall steakhouse exits downtown to serve up 2 hot new locations

Acclaimed steakhouse exits downtown to serve up 2 hot new locations

Cherry Block pork chop
Cherry Block is bringing its Texas meats to Katy and Garden Oaks. Courtesy of Cherry Block
Cherry Block Felix Florez Jess DeSham Timmons
Chef Jess DeSham Timmons and Felix Florez. Courtesy of Cherry Block
Cherry Block packaged meats
The Katy market will sell items such as bacon and ground beef. Courtesy of Cherry Block
Stomping Grounds green space
The Stomping Grounds features an expansive green space. Photo by Jacob Shelby
Cherry Block Cochon de lait po boy
Pork belly and fried oyster po'boy. Courtesy of Cherry Block
Cherry Block pork chop
Cherry Block Felix Florez Jess DeSham Timmons
Cherry Block packaged meats
Stomping Grounds green space
Cherry Block Cochon de lait po boy

Big changes are coming for Cherry Block Craft Butcher + Kitchen. Partners Felix Florez and chef Jess DeSham Timmons will soon shutter their original location at Bravery Chef Hall and replace it with new outposts in Katy and Garden Oaks.

Opening next month in Katy (5305 Highway Blvd.), Cherry Block Craft Butcher + Market will serve both wholesale and retail customers with meats from Florez’s distribution company, Falcon Lake Farms. In addition to raw proteins, the market will expand on the items Cherry Block has been selling at area farmers markets with a selection of prepared meals, dry-aged meats, bacon, seasoning blends, and more.

Cherry Block Craft Butcher + Texas Kitchen will join Fat Cat Creamery and Shoot the Moon at Re:vive Development’s Stomping Grounds project in Garden Oaks. Slated to open this summer, Texas Kitchen will expand on Cherry Block’s offerings at Bravery with an wider array of dishes made with Texas-raised meats as well as a beverage program curated by Florez, who once worked as a sommelier at Brennan’s of Houston.

Since opening in Bravery in the summer of 2019, Cherry Block has attracted a following for its Southern-inspired menu of steaks, sandwiches, sides, and shareable appetizers. Timmons, a Landry’s veteran whose resume also includes Caboose BBQ in Alvin, earned Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn’s praise for the “heartiest, porkiest, smoke-kissed gumbo this side of the Sabine River.” One of the restaurant’s cheeseburgers rated an "A+" from Chronicle critic Alison Cook in her “Burger Friday” column.

“The growing public support and acclaim has been the endorsement we needed to be able to get a brick and mortar space going,” Florez said in a statement. “We’ve taken it as far as we can in the current location and we’re ready for this next leap. There’s not going to be anything else quite like it.”

Part of that success stems from Cherry Block’s close relationship with Falcon Lake Farms, which works with ranchers across Texas to source meats that it harvests and butchers. From a diner’s perspective, Florez and Timmons supervise all aspects of the meats they consume from how the animals are raised to how the butchered meats are cooked and served.

Moving from downtown to Katy and Garden Oaks allows Cherry Block to depart an area of town that’s been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus, which emptied offices, courtrooms, sports stadiums, and other staples of activity in the central business district. Being in residential neighborhoods puts Cherry Block closer to consumers who are working from home or looking for dinner options to feed their families.

“We’re especially grateful to be able to expand considering the challenges the pandemic has brought to our entire industry,” Timmons said. “It’s because of the continued support of our city that we’re able to move into this next phase, and we’re incredibly thankful.”

The restaurant’s future customers will have the opportunity to invest in its success. Revive has connected Cherry Block with crowd-funding platform NextSeed for a campaign that will launch in the coming weeks.

“Cherry Block has been able to successfully pivot to serve their city-wide following by joining a growing neighborhood who played an active role in supporting their local businesses,” Monica Danna, director of leasing and development for Re:vive Development, tells CultureMap. “Garden Oaks is excited to welcome Cherry Block to the community and look forward to taking part in their NextSeed community campaign.”

Cherry Block’s location at Bravery will close on January 31. Its current employees will work at the market until the restaurant is ready to open.