H-E-B is helping diners stay connected with three Houston restaurants. Beginning last week, several Houston-area grocery stores started stocking heat-and-serve dishes from Chris Shepherd's Underbelly Hospitality, Cherry Block Craft Butcher & Kitchen, and Brennan's of Houston.
"H-E-B is always looking for ways to work with local food innovators, especially during these difficult and uncertain times," a representative for H-E-B tells CultureMap. "As part of our #TexansHelpingTexans campaign, we hope to help create awareness about and support local restaurants."
A representative for Shepherd tells CultureMap that H-E-B directory of culinary development Randy Evans selected the three restaurants for this initial trial run. More establishments could be added if it catches on.
Cherry Block chef Jess Timmons selected dishes that can be "produced in large batches quickly and consistently" such as gumbo, red beans and rice with andouille sausage, smoked catfish dip, pimento cheese, and braised short rib with cheese grits.
Underbelly's menu includes many of Shepherd's greatest hits, such as Korean braised beef and dumplings and wagyu helper, versions of two signatures that use beef instead of goat and lamb. The offerings also include chicken King Ranch casserole, chicken tenders with mac and cheese, and tater tot and bacon sausage casserole.
Brennan's is contributing 12-ounce containers of its legendary turtle soup.
"Thank you so much to our friends at H-E-B," Shepherd said in a statement. "This is one more revenue stream for us to pay rent, support our farmers, and hire our furloughed staff back faster. H-E-B is a company that truly supports its communities, and we are so grateful for this opportunity."
Availability varies by store. Underbelly's dishes can be found in 10 locations, including Montrose, The Heights, Washington Avenue, West University, Bellaire, Tanglewood/Briargrove, Memorial/Spring Branch, Sugar Land, and Pearland. Both Brennan's and Cherry Block are available in six stores, most of which are located inside the Loop.
So far, shoppers are responding positively to the additions. Shepherd's representative reports the dishes are selling out across the city.