On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Peli Peli co-founder Thomas Nguyen and executive chef Ryan Stewart join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss recent changes at the South African restaurant. Peli Peli recently opened its fourth Houston-area restaurant in The Woodlands, which is Stewart's first new location since replacing Paul Friedman as executive chef.
Stewart talks about his decision to move from South Africa to America and what drew him to Peli Peli. Since coming on board, he's made a number of changes to the restaurants, including expanding the Portugeuse influence and making all of the restaurant's sauces from scratch.
Although plans for an Austin location fell through, Nguyen still sees potential for the restaurant to open locations across the state.
"I still would like to go back to Austin and develop into a regional favorite," he says. "We talk all the time about restaurants from Austin and Dallas coming to Houston. We'd like to be one of the restaurants from Houston that's able to expand to other cities. I think we bring a certain flavor that represents Houston well. We'll see what happens."
Prior to the interview segment, Felice Sloan of Swanky Maven joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Uchiko's plans to open a Houston location; the imminent arrival of upscale bowling and bocce restaurant Pinstripes; and Rachael Ray's recent partnership with UberEATS.
In the restaurants of the week segment, they share some first impressions of The Annie Cafe, the refreshed take on Cafe Annie from Ben Berg, Sam Governale, and Robert Del Grande.