On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Win Campbell and Molly Voorhees join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Becks Prime. Campbell, the company's CEO, founded the business in 1985 with his business partner Mike Knapp. Voorhees, the company's president and Campbell's daughter, joined the business in 2006 after a stint in the technology industry.
The lengthy interview touches on several aspects of Becks, starting with the inspiration Campbell took from his job working for Dallas restaurant Goff's Hamburgers as a teenager, which shaped his decision to use freshly ground beef that's cooked over a mesquite fire.
Over the years, the Becks menu has evolved to include different burger proteins — Voorhees recalls that Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon used to eat five fish sandwiches at a time — along with an extensive selection of salads, steaks, and sides like queso and guacamole. Sandler notes that he's been a Becks customer since the fall of 1990 when he started attending middle school near the restaurant's Kirby location.
Even as regional and national burger restaurants have entered the market, Becks remains a local staple with 10 locations across the Houston area. Voorhees credits part of that success to the restaurant's willingness to tailor each order as necessary to suit each person's tastes.
"Something like 50 or 60 percent of the people who come in our doors customize some part of the meal . . . If you want two pieces of bacon, mustard on the top, prime sauce on the bottom, I want to put a hot dog in that sandwich instead of a burger, it's okay," she says. "Most of the time it comes out exactly as our customers like it. If it doesn't, bring it back to the counter, and we'll fix it. Becks does that well and always has, and our customers expect us to keep doing it, so you better not change a darn thing."
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Linda Salinas discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Bobby Heugel's announcement that he's closing his downtown agave bar The Pastry War at the end of October; chef Lyle Bento's recent departure from Night Moves Hospitality; and Maize, a new interior Mexican restaurant opening this fall in the Energy Corridor.
In the restaurant of the week segment, Salinas and Sandler share some thoughts about Winnie's, the recently opened po' boy shop and bar in Midtown. Listen to the full episode to hear why Winnie's is a "problem" — in a good way — for the two friends.