One of Austin's highest profile restaurants will open a Houston location in 2021. James Beard Award-winners Tyson Cole (Uchi) and Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbecue) are bringing Loro, their Asian smokehouse concept, to The Heights, the high-profile duo announced.
“Since opening Uchi here in 2012, we have loved being a part of this Houston community,” Cole said in a statement. “We are incredibly excited to bring Loro to the Heights! It’s a fantastic neighborhood with so much history."
Originally opened in Austin in 2018, Loro serves a range of dishes that blend the creative talents of its founders. For example, smoked beef brisket gets paired with a chili gastrique and Thai herbs, and smoked pork sausage comes with a Thai-style papaya salad. Those dishes can be matched with a full range boozy slushes, batch cocktails, wine, beer, and sake. CultureMap Austin food editor Brandon Watson writes that the collaboration works well.
"More often than not, the two traditions meld by recognizing that both cuisines can get leaden if left unchecked," Watson states. "Dishes like the sprightly Thai green papaya salad and the sweet and salty garlic rice noodles serve the same purpose as the pickles, onions, and slaw served alongside the strong flavors of Central Texas barbecue. The coconut scented rice mimics the blandness of a slice of Mrs. Baird’s, providing a rest stop between the pop of chili gastrique on the brisket (yes, it’s just as satisfying here as at Franklin Barbecue) or the bold spices used in the chicken bo ssam."
Loro will occupy a former sanctuary at 1001 West 11th St. Like Uchi, Austin's Michael Hsu Office of Architecture will be responsible for transforming the RE:VIVE Development property into a restaurant. Like the original location, the 5,500-square-foot space's design will takes its inspiration from classic Texas dance halls and feature both indoor and outdoor seating.
"I'm super excited about Loro in Houston," Franklin added. "More time with some of the best people in one of the best food cities in the country? Yes, please."
The next couple of years will be a busy time for Hai Hospitality, the parent company of Loro and Uchi. Loro will open a Dallas location in late summer 2020. Uchiko, Uchi's more casual sibling, will open on Post Oak Blvd. in 2021.