On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Houston restaurateur Kevin Floyd joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss his latest project, Shoot The Moon. Their conversation begins with Floyd recounting the early days of Anvil Bar & Refuge, the bar he opened with his childhood friend Bobby Heugel. Over the course of 10 years, Floyd would participate in the creation of Underbelly, Hay Merchant, Blacksmith, Julep, the OKRA Charity Saloon, the Pastry War, the Nightingale Room, One Fifth, UB Preserv, and Georgia James.
Floyd has taken the lessons from all of those experiences and applied them Shoot The Moon. Expected to open in Spring Branch later this fall, Shoot The Menu blends a menu of accessible fare with a extensive selection of beer, wine, and cocktails — all of which are dispensed from a self-service system. As Floyd explains, the system allows customers to purchase as little as 1-ounce of beer or wine or a quarter-ounce of spirits at a cost closer to retail than the typical bar or restaurant markup. Ultimately, Floyd says he hopes to grow the concept and agrees with Sandler that five locations in five years would be a reasonable target.
In addition, Floyd sees the format as ideally suited to dining during the coronavirus pandemic, because its combination of ordering at a counter and self-service limits interactions between customers and employees.
"When COVID happened and we started to analyze what the market looked like, we realized everything we needed to do to make Shoot The Moon work in a post-COVID world, we were already doing. The only thing we redesigned was we took some tables off the main dining room," Floyd says
"For example, in a normal restaurant experience, the guest is going to interact with the staff between eight and 12 times, which is a problem in a COVID environment. For Shoot The Moon, the guest will interact with the staff between two and three times. That's not a response to COVID. That's the way we designed Shoot The Moon to work to give the guest more flexibility with their experience."
Prior to the interview, Avondale Food & Wine owner Mary Clarkson joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their topics include the announcement by Luby's that it will seek to liquidate its assets, the opening of Giant Leap Coffee in Uptown Park, and chef Daniel Wolfe's plans to open the City Cellars wine bar in the Museum District.
In the restaurants of the week segment, Sandler and Clarkson discuss their recent meals at Brennan's of Houston, where recently hired executive chef Joey Chavez is injecting some fresh ideas into the Houston institution. They also share first impressions of White Elm Cafe Bakery, the Memorial-area restaurant that combines Bread Man Baking Company breads and pastries with savory dishes created by the chef-owners of Humble's acclaimed French restaurant Chez Nous.