Texas comfort food is coming to Montrose. FM Kitchen & Bar will replace the shuttered East Hampton Sandwich Co location at 907 Westheimer Rd., the restaurant announced; it should open later this year.
As at the original location, chef Ryan Hildebrand’s menu will feature burgers, sandwiches, and comfort food dishes like fried shrimp and chicken fried steak. The chef tells CultureMap that he’ll tweak the menu for Montrose a bit by adding more sandwiches, which seems like a logical move, given the location’s proximity to two high-profile burger joints.
While the food will be mostly familiar, the experience and design will be different. The original FM Kitchen features a massive, 3,000-square-foot patio that has made it one of the Washington corridor’s most popular outdoor dining destinations; however, the new location only has about 100 square feet of outdoor seating. Although that means the two restaurants will offer slightly different experiences, Hildebrand explains that he and business partner Chong Yi decided to evolve the concept slightly rather than seek out a similar location in a suburb like Katy or The Woodlands.
“I think while conceptually it’s adjusted for the environment and the neighborhood, at its core is a basic, simple attempt at doing quality, simple fare,” Hildebrand says. “It’s a little more bar-centric. I think even the design is kind of a shotgun space, so the bar is basically half the space. I think it’s appropriate for the neighborhood.”
In addition to the long bar, the new FM will have more of a pub feel courtesy of booth seating. The cocktail offerings will be elevated to match the neighborhood. Like its new neighbor Velvet Taco, the restaurant will stay open later on the weekends.
Veterans of the Houston food scene may recall that Hildebrand originally planned to open the first FM concept, known at different times as both Brande and FM 903, at the location that it will now occupy. On that level, coming to Montrose is the homecoming the restaurant never had.
Opening a second location prompts the obvious question of whether additional outposts are in the works. Hildebrand affirms that’s definitely in his plans.
“With the work we’ve put in on the Montrose location, the scalability and flexibility is giving the powers that be the confidence to look forward and do more, assuming we do a good job,” he says. “If we do a good job, I could see many more.”