Katy’s best restaurant is coming to The Woodlands. Phat Eatery will open its second location in the Grogan’s Mill neighborhood in early 2023.
The restaurant will occupy a former Fuddruckers at 2290 Buckthorne Pl. With approximately 7,800-square-feet of space, the new Phat Eatery is more than twice the size of the original and will include three private dining rooms. It is expected to seat 180 people.
“I’ve been thinking about expanding to The Woodlands for a while,” Au-Yeung said in a statement. “It’s not easy to find good real estate in The Woodlands, but we've found the perfect spot with room to do the menu I've always wanted.”
Opened in 2018 in the Katy Asian Town development, Phat Eatery serves chef-owner Alex Au-Yeung’s eclectic take on Malaysian fare. Over time, the menu has evolved to include Malaysian staples such as roti canai, curry laksa, and beef rendang alongside Hong Kong-style dim sum such as shrimp siu mai and bbq pork buns. Au-Yeung’s specials have included everything from a Malaysian riff on Viet-Cajun crawfish to smoked dishes created in collaboration with Katy’s Brett’s Barbecue Shop.
All of that creativity has brought Phat Eatery considerable acclaim. Au-Yeung earned a James Beard Award semifinalist nomination this year in the Best Chef: Category as well as being named a finalist for both Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year. The New York Times cited it as one example of a great restaurant that had opened in the suburbs of a major city.
The New York Times article contains a tidbit that helps explain Au-Yeung’s decision to open in The Woodlands. He tells author Priya Krishna that, although he opened in a development designed to appeal to Asian Americans, 80-percent of his customers are white. Speaking to CultureMap at Phat Eatery’s fourth anniversary party, he explains that The Woodlands contains a similar population of energy industry employees who have experienced Malaysian food during work-related trips. In addition, he has customers who regularly make the 40-plus mile drive from The Woodlands to Katy. Those factors contributed his decision to pick this new location.
Phat Eatery will use the additional space to expand its menu. Au-Yeung’s plans include a full dim sum menu with steamed rice rolls and xiao long bao. In addition, he'll showcase Chinese BBQ dishes such as Peking duck and roast pork. Lunch specials that pair barbecue meat or a stir fry with sides will be available.
The restaurant will offer an extensive selection of beverages including beer, wine, sake, and cocktails. Non-alcoholic options such as tea and soft drinks will also be available.
Phat Eatery joins a growing movement of Houston restaurants that are coming to The Woodlands. In the next several months, both Bosscat Kitchen and Kirby Ice House will open new locations there. Goode Co. recently debuted its new seafood restaurant, Goode Co. Fish Camp, in the prosperous suburb.