With its second location set to open at the end of this month, Beaver's has made some changes to its culinary team. The restaurant has parted ways with longtime executive chef Dusty Sagaser and has brought in three new chefs: former Eleven Eleven executive chef Kevin Bryant as operations director, and Ed Roberts, who once worked with Bryant at Tony’s, and Arash Kharat, the pop-up chef behind the popular Space City Cowboy moniker.
Together, the chefs will be working to maintain the dishes people love about Beaver's (favorite like the smoky queso and bar bar aren’t going anywhere) while growing the menu by building on its legacy as one of the pioneers of serving Texas-style comfort food using locally-sourced ingredients.
The goal is to turn the restaurant from a somewhat quirky neighborhood hangout that’s mostly known for its cocktails — Beaver's was Bobby Heugel’s last stop prior to opening Anvil — into a culinary destination that can be replicated across the Houston-area. Bryant expects to bring some of his seafood experience to Beaver's by adding raw and roasted oysters as well as more fish preparations.
“We want to test the market on steaks and chops and breaking down whole fish,” Bryant says. “The original is super meat-centric with some vegetarian options, but we want to expand that. I think it’s something both areas will enjoy.”
In addition to adding seafood, the chefs also have a more ambitious goal in mind — making a serious push to be part of Houston’s barbecue boom. Beaver's has always served barbecue, of course, but it’s never earned much acclaim for it. That’s all set to change.
“I really want to step up and spend some time on the barbecue,” Bryant says. “It takes up so much time and space on our menu that, if we’re not going to make it awesome, then we might as well take it off and throw shrimp and grits on.”
Elevating the quality of Beaver's barbecue will primarily be Kharat’s responsibility in his role as executive chef at the Westheimer location. Known for serving imaginative cuisine at pop-ups around town, the chef has also spent time working with pitmaster Quy Hoang of Blood Bros. BBQ, Ara Malekian of Harlem Road Texas BBQ, and at event with 44 Farms.
“I’ve spent the last couple years helping my buddies out, picking their brains, learning, pretty much working for free, helping them out,” Kharat says. “Learned how to run different smokers, trim meats, seasoning. Now it’s finally get tuned in. We really want to do a successful barbecue program . . . We want to have a consistent brisket, sausage. Any smoked critter is going to be 100-percent done right.”
Like Bryant, Roberts brings fine dining chops to role as executive chef of the original location. In addition to Tony’s, he most recently worked at the San Luis resort in Galveston. Diners who visited Beaver's last weekend got to sample a blackened ribeye that’s the first sign of his influence on the menu.
“I’m excited to work with Kevin again. I’ve helped him on a couple of different adventures,” Roberts says. “It’s always fun to learn something new and to teach people new things. (I want to) fine tune what we’re doing here and get to know the customers. Find out what their likes and dislikes are, and implement that on a new menu.”
Look for the Westheimer location to open at the end of November or beginning of December, pending final permit approvals and training. Roberts will roll out a new menu at the original Beaver's in January. Then diners will get to decide whether they like what they taste.