On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Houston Dynamo legend Brian Ching joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss his life in the hospitality business.
Designed as a neighborhood-friendly concept, East End Backyard occupies most of an entire block at the corner of Sampson and Lamar Streets. The bar features a 1930s-era bungalow surrounded by a massive, 16,000-square-foot patio that includes a 3,500-square-foot dog park. Seating options include outdoor couches, Adirondack chairs, and picnic tables.
Ching tells Sandler they've already made improvements to the space with more TVs and additional seating to meet demand from the neighborhood. Next year, a taco shop will open on the property as the first step towards adding additional food concepts. Sandler asks about his long-term vision for the concept.
"The idea is to be able to come with your family or your friends," Ching says. "If one guy wants pizza and one guy wants taco, we'll have that. On top of that, we want to create a stage for live music and have movie nights. Just a place where people can come and enjoy themselves with their pets and maybe their kids, too."
Listen to the whole interview to hear Ching talk about his plans to expand the "backyard" concept to other Houston neighborhoods, whether he gets recognized regularly in public, and maybe the most epic answer to the question about the first band he saw in concert.
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Michael Fulmer discuss the news of the week. Their topics include the closures of the Rice Village's Politan Row food hall and the Montrose location of Good Dog Houston, chef Justin Turner partnering with real estate developer McCord to open restaurants near Lake Houston, and Jonathan's the Rub moving its original location.
In the restaurants of the week segment, they discuss their recent meal at Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House. Did their experience at the new concept from Prestige Oysters president Raz Halili and former Brennan's chef Joe Cervantez justify the drive to San Leon? Tune in to find out.