Now Federal Grill

Houston's great restaurant switch: A high-end spot transitions to new name, new chef, new owner

Houston's great restaurant switch: A high-end spot transitions to new name, new chef, new owner

Branch Water Tavern, interior
510 Shepherd, once known as Branch Water Tavern... Branch Water Tavern/Facebook
News, Branch Water Tavern, dining room
...will soon go by the name of The Federal Grill. Photo by Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Branch Water Tavern, interior
News, Branch Water Tavern, dining room

It’s been known that three years after opening Branch Water Tavern, chef and owner David Grossman has decided to move and reopen the restaurant at a different location. It's also been known that Grossman has let restaurateur Matt Brice of Bistro des Amis take over the building's lease at Shepherd (just south of Washington Avenue) for the next couple of months with the restaurant still operating and Grossman still in place as executive chef.

What was not known is Brice's vision for the space post Grossman and Branch Water's departure.

Now it is. Set to launch in March 2013 in the Branch Water building, Brice's The Federal Grill is tagged as, “A Modern American Grill: Classic American Dishes Presented with a Modern Point-of-View.” Grossman takes the name, Branch Water Tavern, and two recipes — the chicken fried oysters and the sticky toffee pudding — with him to his new restaurant.

The rest of the menu is staying, negotiated as part of the changeover deal.

 While daily $10 lunch specials such as “Fried Chicken Thursdays” will continue, more menu items at the $12 to $15 price point will be offered. 

Brice does, however, have big plans for expanding the restaurant's existing core menus. He is already serving some additional dishes, including the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Prime Filet Mignon and Truffle Mac and Cheese.

Changes to lunch will include quick turnaround service, with the idea being to give diners on-the-go the ability to get in and out within 30 minutes. While daily $10 lunch specials such as “Fried Chicken Thursdays” will continue, more menu items at the $12 to $15 price point will be offered. 

There will be significant changes at the bar too. Federal Grill will continue to offer a large array of artisan beer, boutique wines, American whiskeys and bourbons, and other spirits, but new happy hour and bar menus will be introduced. There will also be more seating and additional TVs.

Brunch lovers will be pleased to learn that you'll still be able to order Branch Water Tavern's versions of the popular Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp & Grits, Truffle Egg Sandwich and Chicken Pot Pie on Saturdays as well as Sundays when new hours go into effect. 

Brice says he guarantees that genuine old-school service will be the standard at The Federal Grill stating, "I want our guests to feel at home and well cared for, whether grabbing a quick lunch or an evening celebrating with friends and family. For me, the answer will always be ‘Yes . . . now what is the question?' "

Beginning in March, the restaurant will open seven days a week, serving lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner on weekends.