James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd will open a new restaurant on Allen Parkway. The chef's Underbelly Hospitality has leased a 5,000-square-foot space — complete with a rooftop terrace — in the Regent Square mixed-use development.
Slated to open in late 2021, the still unnamed restaurant will be centered around live fire cooking. Shepherd has spent the past year experimenting with the flavors created by different woods when used in grills and smokers, according to a release. The restaurant will serve cuisine inspired by different parts of the world and prepared with woods such as oak, hickory, and mesquite.
“We’re still working through a lot of the details, but the idea of live fire cooking using multiple types of wood really excites me," Shepherd said in a statement. "Regent Square is an ideal location for this restaurant and for Underbelly Hospitality — convenient to Montrose, downtown, River Oaks — and it’s great to be a part of a project with so many like-minded people.”
The leasing announcement is the first major tenant for Regent Square's phase two project, which is being developed by GID Development Group. Located at the intersection of Dunlavy St. and Allen Pkwy, the 8-acre project will ultimately be home to 600 residential units and 50,000 square feet of retail, including three, free-standing restaurants that will overlook green spaces and a pedestrian walkway.
Today's announcement represents that fourth new restaurant Underbelly Hospitality plans to open in 2021. The restaurant group has already announced plans to open two new restaurants in the renovated Houston Farmers Market: a fast casual restaurant and Wild Oats, a restaurant from chef Nick Fine that will explore the "history and traditions of Texas cuisine.” In addition, the company will open Georgia James Tavern, a more casual offshoot of Shepherd's signature steakhouse, in downtown's Market Square Tower luxury high-rise.
Live fire cooking looks poised to become Houston's next big dining trend. In addition to Chris Shepherd, restaurateur Ben Berg announced last month that he's opening a live fire steakhouse in the Docks at Timbergrove mixed-use complex.