State of Grace executive chef Bobby Matos joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler on this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating." The River Oaks restaurant, which will celebrate its second anniversary with a party October 29, has emerged as a CultureMap favorite, earning Tastemaker Awards for Best New Restaurant in 2016 and Best Neighborhood Restaurant in 2017.
Matos discusses his roots in the restaurant industry and his journey from working at Brennan's and Ciao Bello to meeting State of Grace's chef-owner Ford Fry. During the conversation about the restaurant's evolution, Matos states that he's kept about 70 percent of his kitchen staff the same, which he attributes to his approach to hiring and training.
"I'm really insistent on training people up from the bottom. I don't really hire people that are just kind of 'culinary guns,' because they never seem to last," Matos says. "We put a huge emphasis on training from the bottom up."
"That's pretty impressive in Houston, especially when everyone is hiring," local restaurant consultant Nathan Ketcham affirms.
Matos also shares some thoughts on Superica, Fry's Tex-Mex restaurant that's coming to the Heights in 2018, and, just for fun, Sandler and Matos discuss the Astros' playoff prospects.
Prior to Matos joining the show, Ketcham and Sandler discuss the news of the week. Their topics include the closings of Holley's in Midtown and Molina's Cantina on Washington Avenue, Flying Pho, a new concept from Ninja Ramen owner Christopher Huang; and the latest on chef Ned Elliott's plans to bring his Austin restaurant Foreign & Domestic to Houston.