On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Gr8 Plate Hospitality owner Paul Miller joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss his latest projects. Known for its restaurants The Union Kitchen and Jax Grill, Gr8 Plate will open Passerella, a new Italian restaurant, later this month at The Boardwalk Towne Lake in Cypress.
The conversation begins with Miller discussing how operations at both The Union Kitchen and Jax Grill have changed in the last two years. Even though the company operates two more locations than it did in 2019, it has over 100 fewer employees.
From there, the conversation turns to Passerella. Miller discusses working with Gr8 Plate culinary director James Lundy and Passerella executive chef Ed Roberts to develop the menu, which pulls from Italy's different regional culinary traditions. Diners can expect dishes such as lasagna and pasta bolognese alongside an Italian-oriented wine list created by sommelier Matt Stevenson. Similarly, the design will be a step up for Gr8 Plate.
"It's a cool vibe," Miller says about the restaurant. "All the chairs in the restaurant are automative leather. The barstools are yellow like Ferrari. All the artwork is Italian brands like Versace and Prada. The idea is, when people walk into the restaurant, we want them to think 'what is Italian? What do I like about Italy? Is it the clothing, the food, the cars, the wine? Just get all the senses involved. It's more money than I've ever spent in my life on chandeliers."
Listen to the full episode to hear Miller share more details about the restaurant. He and Sandler also discuss Gr8 Plate's future plans and some of the new restaurants Miller has enjoyed dining at recently.
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Mary Clarkson discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Bellaire Broiler Burger's return, Lankford Grocery's plans to open a second location; and the opening date of Uchiko.
In the restaurant of the week segment, they describe their recent meal at Marmo, the newly opened Italian steakhouse. The two friends find much to like about the restaurant's dry-aged steaks, housemade pastas, and extensive wine list.