On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," chef Tobias Dorzon and general manager Rosea Grady join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Thirteen, James Harden's Midtown restaurant that recently celebrated its first year in business. The conversation begins with each person explaining how they became acquainted with the NBA superstar and ultimately decided to join the project.
Despite some negative publicity stemming from Harden leaving the Houston Rockets, the restaurant has thrived thanks to service that makes everyone feel like a celebrity and Dorzon's menu of modern soul food. While many people know it primarily as a restaurant, Grady notes that Thirteen's hookah lounge has also developed a devoted group of regulars. Dorzon notes that bringing talented people together usually yields positive results.
"When we first opened up, I think a lot of people felt, it's almost like a NBA team, you bring five people together who are the best at what they do. They're all trying to figure it out and come together. It takes time. We had our rough moments in the beginning like anyone would. Once we figured out how to operate, we have the product that we have now: amazing food, amazing vibe, great customer service, an amazing place to be."
Listen to the full episode to hear Grady's inside story of Kanye West's surprise visit. They also discuss the possibility of bringing the restaurant to other cities.
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Felice Sloan discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Three Brothers Bakery opening a new location in Tanglewood; celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck returning to Houston with a restaurant in the Texas Medical Center; and Upside Pub, a new bar coming soon to Garden Oaks.
In the restaurant of the week segment, Sloan and Sandler share their impressions of The Greasy Spoon. They enjoyed a recent lunch at the soul food restaurant's Pearland location that included signature items such as a seafood platter and braised oxtails.