Whats Eric Eating
What's Eric Eating Episode 172

Inside Houston's restaurant revival during COVID, plus a piping-hot pizza pop-up

Houston's restaurant revival during COVID, plus a hot pizza pop-up

Monica Danna Revive Development
Monica Danna is this week's podcast guest. Courtesy of Revive Development
Bludorn foie gras doughnut
Bludorn is the restaurant of the week. Photo by Michael Anthony
Stomping Grounds green space
Revive's Stomping Grounds development features a large greenspace. Stomping Grounds at Garden Oaks/Facebook
Monica Danna Revive Development
Bludorn foie gras doughnut
Stomping Grounds green space

On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Monica Danna joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss her role as the director of leasing and marketing for Revive Development. Founded by her cousin Brian Danna, Revive owns properties throughout The Heights, Garden Oaks, and Oak Forest, including the buildings that house Mico's Hot Chicken, Hando, and Squable.

After discussing her life as a social media consultant who helped local companies such as Saint Arnold establish a presence on Twitter, the conversation turns to Revive's latest project in Garden Oaks, the Stomping Grounds. Centered around an 8,000-square-foot greenspace, the project's tenants include Fat Cat Creamery's second location and a second location of Shoot the Moon, the self-service pizza and beer concept from former Underbelly Hospitality partner Kevin Floyd.

Sandler also asks Danna about how Revive has responded to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic where restrictions on how restaurants operate has sharply curtailed their revenues and their corresponding ability to pay rent. Danna notes the company tries to partner with its tenants by, for example, printing signs about being open for to-go and creating a social media campaign to assist with marketing.

So far, none of Revive's tenants have shuttered as a result of COVID . Part of the credit for that success might be because Revive has a different approach to managing its properties than some of the other developers who operate primarily inside the Loop.

"They'll develop high volume with the intention of flipping a spot or selling it to an investment group, which is fine," Danna says. "Our strategy has always been to hang on projects and see what's worked. We put a lot of thought into the amenities we add to our projects, be it an 8,000-square-foot greenspace or rehabbing an old building to look modern . . . Our biggest success is our tenants' sales per square foot." 

Prior to the interview, Avondale Food & Wine owner Mary Clarkson joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their topics include the closure of Public Services Wine & Whisky, the opening of Masraff's new location in Memorial, and David Chang's $1 million win for the Southern Smoke Foundation. 

In the restaurants of the week segment, Clarkson and Sandler assess where Bludorn ranks among this year's best new restaurants. They also discuss the Angie's Pizza pop-up that recently relocated from How to Survive on Land and Sea to 8th Wonder Brewery. 

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