One Fifth may be come to the end of its five-year run, but it's not going out quietly. Instead of operating in its current Southern Comfort iteration through August, it will offer at least two more concepts from Underbelly Hospitality chef-owner Chris Shepherd and culinary director Nick Fine.
Up first will be a preview of Georgia James Tavern, a more casual take on Shepherd's Montrose steakhouse that the company will open later this year in downtown's luxurious Market Square Tower. The pop-up will run from June 8-26, with Southern Comfort wrapping up on June 5.
A representative tells CultureMap that the Georgia James Tavern preview will give chef de cuisine Matt "Tally" Coburn the opportunity to work alongside Fine to test out dishes, get used to pace of service for the menu, and experiment with One Fifth's wood-burning oven, which is also a feature of the Tavern space. First announced in January, the Tavern will serve salads, sandwiches, and burgers along with Georgia James’ signature cast iron-seared steaks and dishes cooked in a wood-burning oven.
Once the Tavern preview wraps up, Fine and Shepherd will roll out One Fifth's final menu. Details are still pending, but the representative hints it will be "saucy." In an interview with CultureMap in 2020, Shepherd and Fine expressed interest in experimenting with an Italian-American concept that Fine jokingly called "One Fifth Sopranos."
Ultimately, the company's goal is to roll directly from One Fifth into Wild Oats, Fine's upcoming restaurant at the Houston Farmers Market that will take its inspiration from the “history and traditions of Texas cuisine.” The restaurant’s staff will be invited to join Fine in launching the new establishment, which will be his first as executive chef and partner.
Shepherd opened One Fifth in 2017 as a platform for culinary exploration. It has operated five iterations: Steak, Romance Languages, Mediterranean, Gulf Coast, and Southern Comfort.