Heights residents, rejoice! The wait for truffled egg and crunchy chicken sandwiches has come to an end.
Local Foods, the popular sandwich concept from Benjy's owner Benjy Levit and chef-partner Dylan Murray, announced it will open its fifth Houston-area location at the Heights Mercantile mixed-use development on Friday. The 4,500-square-foot, 120-seat restaurant features design work by Michael Hsu and Micah Land of Austin's Michael Hsu Office of Architecture and designer Aaron Rambo — the same team responsible for both the Tanglewood and downtown locations — that incorporates a mix of a clean design with vintage touches.
“The design was inspired by the Heights and its distinct brand of quirky appeal,” Rambo said in a statement. “I am excited for the neighborhood to embrace Local Foods in Heights Mercantile and want guests to feel right at home whenever they stop in for a bite or drink.”
The menu, developed by Murray and executive chef Maria Gonzalez, offers all of Local's favorite items, but the presence of a Josper charcoal oven (the same piece of kitchen equipment found at nearby Coltivare) allows the Heights outpost to offer a few dinner entrees that won't be found at its siblings. They include octopus with Japanese mayonnaise, glazed pork shoulder with warm tortillas, and spiced red bird chicken. Unique side items and brunch items include marbled sweet potatoes, Lebanese rice, and vegetable ricotta kugel.
How local are the ingredients? Murray addressed that question during his appearance on CultureMap's "What's Eric Eating" podcast.
"I think they're about as local as is reasonable in Houston," Murray says. "As you well know being at the market, there are months in this town where it's hard to get much besides okra and eggplant. Basically, we take what the farmers have to offer and buy a lot of that when it's in season. Right now, the local greens are at their peak, so we're buying more of those than ever. We're doing the best we can."
Once it receives a liquor license, the beverage options will include four craft beer taps and a cocktail program based around Texas-distilled spirits. Until then, it's BYOB, or diners may receive up to two complimentary glasses of wine or beer or a choice of two cocktails per person.
“Local Foods in the Heights fulfills my long-time goal to bring the concept to one of Houston’s historic and most vibrant neighborhoods,” Levit added in a statement. “The Heights possesses a diverse community of residents that is passionate about its food options. I’m excited for Local Foods to be not only a food destination but also a community partner that is committed to supporting the Heights in a host of different ways.”
Local Foods in The Heights; 714 Yale St.; Open daily from 10 am to 9 pm