Anvil and Hay Merchant veteran shoots for the moon with new restaurant
Kevin Floyd is back. Best known as Bobby Heugel’s business partner in opening Anvil and Chris Shepherd’s business partner at Underbelly and The Hay Merchant — working with both men, he opened 13 establishments in 11 years — Floyd has been laying low since he sold his shares in Underbelly Hospitality to MLB Capital Partners last year.
“I didn’t do shit for five months,” Floyd tells CultureMap. "I was at home, with the family. My wife and I took a vacation. I just basically did nothing related to work.”
The sabbatical didn’t last long. Instead of being the proverbial “guy behind the guy,” Floyd is leading the way as the executive director at a new company called STM Hospitality LLC that will operate a new restaurant called Shoot the Moon. Located in Braun Enterprise’s Spring Branch Village project on Long Point, the new restaurant is tentatively scheduled to open in April or May 2020.
Shoot the Moon will apply Floyd’s extensive knowledge of craft beer, wine, and cocktails to a format that only recently became legal in Texas — self service. At the restaurant, diners will be able to select their own pours from more than 50 beers, wines, cocktails, or spirits that will be sold by-the-ounce. Floyd tells CultureMap the system will offer everything from Lone Star and cocktails to high-end spirits and wines that are usually only sold by-the-bottle, such as Krug champagne. As far as he's aware, Shoot the Moon will be Houston's first establishment to offer self service alcohol.
“We’ve all been in situations where we’re sitting at a bar, and you see the thing you want,” Floyd tells CultureMap. “You see the tap or the bottle; it’s only three feet away from you, but you can’t get it yourself. At Shoot the Moon, you just get up and get yourself another drink. It gives the guest all the control they want to tailor their own experience.”
Joining Floyd in his new venture are two people with whom he’s worked closely with over the years: development director Jonas Herd and culinary director Dax McAnear. Floyd worked with Herd on the design and build out of a number of bars and restaurants, including Julep, The Pastry War, and UB Preserv. McAnear and Floyd first met when they both worked at Beaver’s; later, McAnear worked on the line as part of Underbelly’s opening crew and served as Hay Merchant’s executive chef.
“Jonas and I had been talking about doing something together,” Floyd says. “Our values and our vision for stuff is pretty similar. We like that work-life balance, and we’re into casual but cool and clean.”
Through his role as a principle in local design firm Collaborative Projects and its sister company Collaborative Projects Construction, Herd has helped design and build high-profile restaurants ranging from Nancy’s Hustle and Haven to The Rice Box and FM Kitchen. In 2017, he and a group of partners purchased Montrose institution Cecil’s Pub, which gave him more direct experience in running a bar and fueled his interest in owning an original concept.
“The beauty of this partnership is I’m staying in my lane,” Herd adds. “I’m handling the development, and overseeing the construction, the design, the drawings, the permitting. I’m interacting with him on the operations side, but I don’t know how to cook.”
The cooking will be left up to McAnear and his team. Shoot the Moon’s menu will focus on pizza, shareable plates like wings and mozzarella sticks, and healthy entrees that break the mold of typical pub grub. While the menu isn’t finalized, Floyd offers a few hints such as chipotle-cherry roasted chicken thighs, whipped cauliflower made with ghee, and house made sausages that are free of added sugars or preservatives.
“I want to have an entrée component for people like myself who are interested in going out to someplace fun but don’t want to eat pizza and burgers and wings all the time,” he says. “They’ll be delicious even if you’re not on Whole 30 or counting carbs. ... I want this menu to be accessible to a whole lot of people.”
As for the self-serve system, Shoot the Moon has partnered with Pour My Beer, a company that has installed similar setups in bars and restaurants across the country, to install its tap wall. Once a diner shows ID and opens a tab with one of the restaurant’s employees, they’re given an access card that enables users to pour up to 32-ounces of beer, 10-ounces of wine, three-ounces of spirits, or any combination of all three that stays under the total limit — for example, 12 ounces of beer paired with a shot of whiskey. At that point, TABC regulations require a person to interact with an employee who can refresh the access card as long as the customer doesn't seem too intoxicated.
As he traveled to self-service concepts to evaluate the format, Floyd says he’s noticed something unexpected about the way patrons interact with each other when they’re standing at the wall trying to decide what to order. Rather than quiz a bartender or look something up on their phones, they initiate conversations about the different options, sharing knowledge and common experiences.
“That was something I didn’t expect when I first drew up a business plan for this,” he says.
At this point, STM is in its development phase. Herd is finalizing design plans to submit to the City of Houston, and the partners are raising enough capital to open three locations in the course of 18 months. If all goes according to plan, Shoot the Moon will have five locations in five years.
The Spring Branch location will also serve as the concept’s commissary kitchen, which will allow the restaurant to maintain consistency during its growth. Being located in a rising neighborhood with concepts such as The Branch and Cobble and Spoke that are drawing young families also appealed to the partners. Floyd has a pretty clear vision of who his customers will be — people like him and his partners who used to go to every cool new restaurant but have slowed down a bit as they’ve matured.
“Maybe they’re people who had their first date at Anvil 10 years ago and now they have a family,” he says. “[The location] puts us in really close proximity to people who are going to enjoy going to Shoot the Moon.”